Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Lemonade Gang

When our three grandchildren from Birmingham spent a few days with us in July, there was one thing of several they wanted to be sure and do: have a lemonade stand. The boys had done it before and Mattie was ready to be a part of the fun. Since some folks have asked me what in the world is a lemonade stand, I’m going to tell you how we did it.

First, we studied the weather and decided on the very best day. With only three days to choose from, this was very important. To have successful sales one must have a hot bright afternoon. Going by the weather predictions, we chose Monday that week. I prayed the weather forecasters were right, that the showers would wait until Tuesday!

Next we went to the store for supplies. I told them they could use any of my supplies already in the house for free, but they would need to pay me back for what they purchased at the store. It doesn’t hurt to learn some business rules very young! We bought lemons and cups and poster paper for signs.

At home again, we had lunch and then went right to work. They shared the work of making the signs, one for each direction saying boldly “Homade Lemonade $1.00.” Then Mattie washed lemons; Thomas rolled them to make them juicy and cut them in half. William operated the juicer. The sugar went in with a bit of jostling so some ended up on the floor. Then the water was added and the tasting began. Finally satisfied that this was fantastic lemonade, we were all ready to set up out by the street.

Fortunately, Grandaddy had placed a nice sturdy table for us already to which we added a cheerful red and white checked oil cloth. The table was in a safe place away from traffic but in full view with room for the children to hold their signs up, one east and one west. They worked out for themselves the division of labor. William would be the treasurer and pour the lemonade. Thomas and Mattie would hold the signs and yell out “Fresh homemade $1.00” and then would deliver the cups of lemonade to the customers.

Guess what Nana got to do? Sit back and watch and, occasionally, add insect repellent to little bare legs or insist on some hand sanitizer!

Here they are serving lemonade on that hot afternoon!

Here they are serving lemonade on that hot afternoon!

There were several customers and excitement was running high. Then came a lull in business. Discouragement began to set in. I prodded them to stick with it a little longer and, bingo, another car pulled in. They were ecstatic! Their little faces would shine so brightly as a car approached and then swiftly fall as a friendly person would wave and drive on by. “Maybe they’ll be back in a minute,” William said. And that did happen sometimes.

When we tallied up at the end, after they paid for lemons, the cups they used, and two pieces of poster paper, they each earned $5.43. And we all considered it a very good day. Especially since some lemonade was left so we could have a nice cool cup for ourselves!

Thanks ever so much to each customer who stopped along their way to buy lemonade that July day. You made three children and a nana very happy!

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Porch Sitting

I don’t consider myself a lazy person, at least not most of the time. But I really do love to sit on our porch watching the birds, enjoying pine trees against the sky, reveling in the rich watermelon color of our young crepe myrtle and listening to the cicadas putting on their dynamic concert in the pines and magnolias.

Actually, there’s more to porch sitting than immediately meets the eye. In fact, ladies and gentlemen, the art of porch sitting has many facets.

It is very likely true that porch sitters, or variously those occupying porticos, patios, canopied walkways or even front walls of courthouses, have had a very great deal to do with electing presidents, solving peculiar mysteries, erecting high rises, and identifying rare species of birds. We’re being positive here so we’re not going to mention the characters that may have been defamed unjustly or achievements marred by disgruntled tongue wagglers. We’re talking about peaceful porch sitters.

Consider the porch. It is a place set apart from the rest of the house, at least to some degree. It is outdoors, but at least partially protected from the elements. It is a place where one can talk to a solicitor or other stranger without inviting them in. It can be a private place for a cup of coffee and a talk with the Lord. Or it can be the scene for an informal party decorated with hanging ferns, or for a gathering of friends and neighbors any time, any day. It’s a good place to serve lunch on a workday when men appear with sawdust on their britches and children cluster up with a great aptness for spills and crumbs. In other words, it is a gathering place, an informal one, not at all stiff as a parlor might be, but comfortable with a swing and rockers and lots of fresh air.

Speaking of porch sitters–there are very active ones. They can be snapping beans, peeling peaches, knitting a scarf or, even, telling stories. I once came upon a lady busy at her quilter’s frame on her small porch. The other day when my sister Suzanne and her husband Bill came from North Georgia they brought me a basket of green beans straight from their big bountiful garden. We sat on the porch and exchanged tales as we strung (should that be un-strung?) those wonderful beans. Their eight-year-old grandson Matthew happily tried out our sports rider, an exercise device that we find helpful, even challenging. For him it was way too mild, though, so he gave it up soon and tried out the swing, giving it some good exercise before he took off to try out any bike or wheeled object he could find. We could watch him while we filled our pot with beans for supper.

There are also the not-so-active porch sitters who are actually not idle at all. From a distance, two people rocking can appear to be simply taking in the evening when, in fact, they’re having a very deep discussion. An author may be sitting alone on the porch looking as idle as a tractor in a shed when, really, she/he’s planning a deep plot or searching for the very best simile. And there are the readers and the puzzle workers and the scientists with binoculars to their faces. And the knitters and cross-stitchers and knife-sharpeners and, in the case of some of our grandchildren, young artists busy sketching.

A little porch sitting usually leads to ideas for a lot more work to be done! Charles and I sit down under our porch fan for a nice evening chat after supper. Soon we find ourselves imagining new landscaping endeavors, or we notice a bird feeder is empty, or Charles suddenly remembers something he wanted to see about in his shed.

A porch can even be a good place for a snake show. Yes, that’s right, a snake show. I am mortally afraid of snakes but it’s amazing what love propels us to do! The first time my grandson, Charles Douglas, brought a small corn snake to see me he brought it in the den wrapped around his wrist. I threatened him with his life if he let that thing get lost in the couch. He and his friend Hannah were passing it back and forth between them! But then only a few weeks later I asked them to bring snakes for young Matthew and other young cousins to see. I stipulated they couldn’t be in the house. Charles D insisted the “visitors” would have to sit up on a shelf in the dining room while we all ate. But not to worry, he said, because they would be in their fabric carriers. He failed to tell me the carriers have windows through which the snakes can stare at you! But I lived through that–then we moved to the porch and I closed the door firmly.

Charles D and Hannah put on a very educational and entertaining show for everyone with their snakes center stage on our porch! There was a Brazilian (some other name I’ve forgotten!), and a couple of boas, one of which is about five feet long and wrapped itself lovingly (!!!!) around Hannah and eventually around almost everyone there. But not me! I did touch one and took two pictures of them which, for me, was pretty good. The only tears shed were from little two-year-old Kaison who was so upset because he was too small to hold the snakes. The next time he came over he looked around hopefully saying “Snake, snake!” as if perhaps one might have stayed behind.

I like to see people enjoying their porches. It shows they’re taking time to breathe deeply, to notice birds feeding, to absorb a sunset, and to dream a little. When the air turns frosty and folks start leaning their porch chairs against the wall or storing them somewhere, I feel somewhat sad. Another year of porch sitting all over and done. But, for me, I sit on the porch even in the winter. I may be huddled in a big coat or have a blanket around my shoulders, but there’s nothing more inviting on a Saturday morning than a cup of coffee on the porch swing!

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