Guest Post: What’s Wrong with This Lemonade Stand?

Hi Folks! Here’s a big chunk of a wonderful essay by my friend and fellow journalist Christopher Moore, published in the New York weekly, Our Town. I guess when life hands you lemonade…write a column:

Lemonade Stand-ing Watch by Christopher Moore

At least in my Manhattan ’hood, there are a crazy number of kids out on the sidewalks hawking cold—or at least cold-ish—beverages. The only problem: their parents are out there with them.

The overprotective parent strikes again. And these adults can dramatically change the you’re-on-your-own tradition for kids with summertime stands.

Yes, this is a case of a person without kids criticizing parents, but I’ll go ahead and do it anyway. These kids will be running my nursing home, and I want them to be capable and able to think for themselves. Anyway, if our neighbors can proudly go public with their overparenting, the rest of us surely have a right to notice.

I wasn’t having all these big thoughts the day my partner and I stopped on West End Avenue at a lemonade stand. I liked it. The two girls—my guess is they were around 9 or 10—sold us a couple of plastic cups filled with what tasted a lot more like Crystal Light than homemade lemonade. The girls took the money and delivered the beverages with a pleasant demeanor. All in all, it would have to be considered a better-than-average commercial transaction in present-day New York.

Later, lemonade stands started popping up everywhere. They felt delightfully small-town without anyone having to give up access to Lincoln Center. Seeing youngsters take to the city streets with such enthusiasm can make a tangible, positive difference in how many of us relate to our neighborhoods. With the children, though, can come some pretty conspicuous parents. Like the mom yakking on her cell phone, creating enough of a scene that the children with her seemed like accessories. Mom was there but, thanks to the cell phone, she was also not there. Our modern problem.

A few days later, there was the dad…

Read the rest right here! And follow Chris on Twitter thusly: @cmoorenyc. And, heck, contact him yourself at  ccmnj@aol.com.

Outrage of the Week No Longer Outrageous! Lemonade Gal Gets Apology!

Hi Readers — This just in! The top elected official in Oregon’s Multnomah County apologized to Julie Murphy, age 7, who was threatened with a fine for running a lemonade stand without a permit. Here’s a breath of fresh air, common sense and just plain summer joy from OregonLive.com:

While the county inspectors were doing their job, [the county Chairman Jeff] Cogen said, the rules are meant for professional food service operators.

Inspectors need to use professional judgment, he said. “This isn’t something we need to be using our limited resources to crack down on,” he said.

What’s more, Cogen said, he can identify with Julie, noting that he ran lemonade stands as a child and so have his own kids.

When more officials use their hearts and brains instead of being zero-tolerance automatons, we will live in a land of  lemonade and honey.  — Lenore

P.S. I will be at BlogHer on Friday. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

Outrage of the Week: Kid’s Lemonade Stand Closed for Lack of Permit

Oh Readers — What are we going to do with this country? In Portland, Ore, health inspectors shut down a 7-year-old’s lemonade stand at some kind of fair because, “Our role is to protect the public.”

From what? Summer? Fun? Kids? The right to DO something, instead of just sitting at home, quietly watching reruns?

If any health inspectors are reading this, I say: Come arrest my son, too. He was selling lemonade at a summer community last weekend — or trying to. Then younger, cuter kids saw him and go the bright idea of opening a stand right next to his! They got all the business.

What better lesson in commerce — in LIFE! — is there than that? And yet, the authorities stand ready to take it away.

What do you want to bet they chug the evidence? — Lenore

Cop Collars Kids Selling Lemonade

Seven of the little rascals. Together, in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Going door to door, trying to gin up some cash with the cold stuff. Read all about it here. One brilliant neighbor realized how incredibly dangerous this was. After all, it was teaching children all sorts of terrible lessons like: Get to know the folks on your block.  Be independent. Have adventures.  So, naturally — like everyone who sees any child doing anything without an adult these days — he called the cops.

In the cop’s defense — just barely —  I will say that  when he wrote up the kids for the crime of peddling without a permit,  he didn’t know the law actually only applied to folks old enough to spell “mooron” correctly. That is, peddlers over age 16.

And the Haverford chief of police immediately realized this whole thing was a “public relations nightmare,” and got the department to apologize for its overzealousness.

But so far the neighbor does not seem to have apologized for his. Seven kids working  together on a classic childhood endeavor  is just too great a risk, I guess, for anyone to stand by and watch. — Lenore