I begged. “Please can we sell lemonade, please?” My friends Cari and Jenny stood next to me, nodding excitedly.

Heidi’s lemonade stand, circa 1976

Mom agreed.

We lived in Wheaton, Illinois, that year. A block from the railroad tracks. Trains in Illinois were looooong and came often. It was not unusual for cars to be stopped for many minutes. Often the waiting traffic would pile up for blocks past the front of our house. And if the insides of their cars got as hot as the inside of our station wagon, of course people would be thirsty.

Exactly two years ago, when Aardvark Essentials was just being born, my mom sent me this lemonade stand picture. Today it’s on my bulletin board above my laptop and it makes me smile. I still like stripey socks. And yes, I still take what I do verrry seriously.

Sometimes I go back and visit Heidi-of-then. I always buy lemonade from her. And I smile. Grin is more like it. I adore her. She reeeally wanted to be selling lemonade, but she also felt shy and self-conscious of the people stopped in their cars, looking over her way.

Before I leave this time, I hand her a potion.

She looks at it curiously and reads, mostly to herself, “Sassypants: Turn up the volume on fabulous you!” She’s not sure what to do with it.

“It’s a magic potion,” I tell her. I also want to tell her she made it, that it’s ours and isn’t it just fantastic?!, but I don’t want to take the surprises of her life away from her.

“You can roll it on your wrists. People will think it’s a perfume, but you’ll know it’s magic,” I add conspiratorially.

“What’ll it do?” she asks.

“Oh, you’ll have to see. But I promise, it’ll be good, really good.”

The traffic has started to move. “Oh, gotta run! Thanks for the lemonade. It’s fabulous.” I hurry back to my car, turn to wave, and drive back to here. To now.

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