Lemonade and Brownies

Each year, my neighborhood would have a weekend where everyone would set up a yard sale and sell off their old stuff. My family was no different. We’d haul out our old junk that someone might find interesting, and we’d arrange it in the driveway. Annie and I wanted to make money, too, so we did what we’d seen on TV so often; we set up a lemonade stand.

Our stand was, for a few years, the only stand in the neighborhood. We sold Mom-Made lemonade and Us-Made brownies for a quarter each, and in all honesty, we made a killing. When two small girls are selling sweets for a quarter, it’s hard to pass up. We even had people stop by our sale just from hearing up yell “lemonade and brownies” as they passed in their cars.

Then, one year, it rained. It was rainy and miserable, and to top it off, some girl up the hill was also selling lemonade and brownies.

Let me be clear, I considered this girl my friend. And she had known we had the lemonade and brownies market. So I was hurt. Couldn’t she at least ask if she could sell them? Couldn’t she sell something else? It was inconsiderate. I must have been pouty with her for at least a day afterwards.

So between the rain and the competition, we weren’t sure we’d be able to get as much as we had in the past. But we had to try. Our hopes of getting new Littlest Pet Shop toys was riding on this, and we couldn’t just give up.

Friday was awful. Hardly anyone came. To be fair, Fridays were always a hit or miss. But this year it just seemed so much worse in our minds. We had to think of something. Saturday morning rolled around, and on our table were two crockpots, bread, mustard, and ketchup, along with our usual brownies and lemonade.

“Mommy, this is our table. We need it for our stuff,” I told our mom, a little salty about it. She knew this was our table, why was she putting her stuff to sell on it?

“That is your stuff,” she told me, opening the lids. One pot was full of boiled hot dogs, the other held hot apple cider. “It’s cold, so people might want warm things.”

Annie and I could hardly contain our excitement. Leave it to our mom to figure out how to beat the weather and the girl up the street.

“The apple cider is fifty cents, hot dogs are seventy five, or two for a dollar.”

This sounded like a good enough plan to us.

And so we sat at our table under the tarp my dad had put up over the driveway, nursing our own cups of hot apple cider to keep us warm, smiling at anyone who ventured into the sale. We even made a sign, because yelling “lemonade and brownies and hot apple cider and hot dogs” was too long-winded.

It was getting colder by the minute. We had to go in and fetch gloves and extra socks, and we were doing our best to not drink even more apple cider. (You can only get away with drinking so much of your own goods.) We were just about to pack up for the day when a Very Large Man parked his car on the side of the street, passed all the tables full of Gently Used Junk, and right up to Annie and I.

Now, when I say Very Large, I don’t mean as in He Was Kind of Big or Fairly Fat. This was a guy comparable to a burly lumberjack man who taps trees for maple syrup every morning and smothered his three dozen breakfast pancakes with it, straight out of the tree. He walked up to us and grinned a wide, warm grin, and said, “what’ve you got, girls?”

Annie and I both talked at the same time, listing all our foodstuffs, but in different orders, so it probably sounded something like “lemonPPLE CIDER, HOT DOwnies, hot doMONADE, AND LEMOdogs!”

He laughed an earth-shaking laugh and looked down at the table. “Well, then. I’ll have… an apple cider, a brownie, and six hot dogs.”

Six. Six hot dogs. Could one person even EAT six hot dogs? AND apple cider? AND a brownie?

Six hot dogs.

We were stunned.

Annie started running the numbers on the calculator while I ran inside, where my mom was on the phone.

“MOMMY,” I screeched.

“I am on the phone.”

“MOMMY A MAN WANTS SIX HOT DOGS AND WE HAVE SEVEN LEFT WE NEED MORE HOT DOGS.”

“Senna, I am on the phone.”

“THIS IS IMPORTANT.”

She sighed. “Hold on, Debbie.” Then she put the phone against her shoulder. “What, Senna?”

“There is a Very Large Man who wants six whole hot dogs and we only have SEVEN LEFT PLEASE MAKE MORE HOT DOGS, MOMMY.”

She looked baffled. “Six?”

“Yes and he is all by himSELF.”

She was not planning on needing to cook more hot dogs. You could see it in her eyes. She had been counting on Annie and I getting too cold to keep going and then serving the family the left over hot dogs for lunch.

“Debbie, I’m going to have to call you back.”

She hung up and knelt next to me. “Are you sure you’re going to sell the hot dogs if I make them?”

“Yes.” If there was one man in the world who wanted to eat six hot dogs at a time, surely there had to be more. And they were probably here. In this neighborhood. Just waiting to stumble upon our treasure trove.

“I will make one more pack, but that’s the last one, okay?”

“Yes!”

I ran back outside to a perplexed Annie, who was trying to fit the man’s six hot dogs on bread and his brownie all on one plate, all the while refusing help. And the man was just looking on, amused by the folly of this small child, when his frying pan sized hands could probably carry two hot dogs in each hand. She ended up giving him three plates, with two dogs on each and the brownie on the third. I’d poured his apple cider while she got everything situated, and he handed us a ten dollar bill. I started on the calculator to get his change, but he just smiled his Lumberjack Smile and said “keep the change. Thanks, girls!” and walked back into his truck. We sort of paused and watched him drive away before putting the bill into the pencil case we were using as a money bin.

I mentally refereed to him as “The Hot Dog Angel” for the rest of the day, especially when we realized we’d made over a hundred dollars.

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