Thursday, August 6, 2009

Now the nanny state is getting personal

A Tulare, CA policeman shut down this little girl's lemonade stand because she didn't have a business license.

I'm remembering that I sold lemonade to the golfers at Eagleville Country club one summer before I was old enough to go to work at Harry's Potato Market. I forget the number of the hole I set up on, but there was a bench convenient to Trooper Road that was next to a hill on the course. Pop would drop me off on his way to Norristown in mid morning and then pick me up on his way home in mid afternoon.

The golfers were good customers; but if I had tried to charge them $2 a cup for lemonade they would have laughed me off the course. The dollar isn't what it used to be. The next year I started work at Harry's for less than a dollar an hour. For the first couple of summers Harry paid me one dollar less than the number of hours I worked in a day - for instance $9 for a 10 hour day. Of course I also got all the fruit I could eat, and occasionally a basket of spotted peaches or apples to take home to Mom. That was a pretty good deal for Harry because the next day Mom would send me back with a pie or a cobbler for him.

I could write a thousand words and not do justice to Mom's peach and apple pies. . . Suffice it to say that a scoop of ice cream would have defiled those pies.

Because I had better get back to the golfers. Besides lemonade I also sold them golf balls that I retrieved from the rough and the water hazards on the course. I think I charged ten cents apiece for the balls. Occasionally one of them would give me a quarter for an especially good ball and if one of Pop's buddies showed up I might get a half a dollar or even a dollar tip.

And, occasionally one of them who had lost a ball he had just hit up over the hill would inspect my collection of balls pretty carefully; but it wasn't me who had a habit of running across that hill stealing golf balls. It was (redacted) who did that. I didn't rat on (redacted) to the golf course manager back then when he questioned me about the tendency of balls to go missing on that hole, so I'm not going to do so now.

(Redacted) used to try to sell me the balls; but I never bought them. because that would have been foolish. First off, I knew for a fact that Pop knew the golf club manager, just as he seemingly knew everybody else within twenty miles who ever saw me do something of note then and later. Secondly, even then I knew that golfers keep track of what make and number of ball they're playing.

Good times. Lazy summer days, sitting in the shade on my bench with my cooler of lemonade that mom made and which thus cost me nothing, reading science fiction, and raking in a few bucks - with occasionally the excitement of wondering if (redacted) would get caught when he appeared to chat for a while, have a cup of lemonade, and then suddenly light off across the top of the hill to collect the balls the golfers had just hit. Some people are just not suited for honest labor, at least when they're young.

I don't know what became of (redacted); but I'm pretty sure he didn't become a priest even though he later dropped to his knees as though poleaxed when a disrespectful and inquisitive altar boy opened the gold plated door of the sanctuary in the altar on the stage at the Visitation gym on a dare to see what was in there and the door surprised us all by clanking open forcefully after the key was turned.

I pointed out to (redacted) that the sanctuary lamp was not lit and hence the altar was not live, so to speak; but even after that he stayed agitated and on his knees until I got the sanctuary door closed again. The spring on that door was pretty strong. I can still remember how it sprang open as though alive, probably because it took a little while for my heartbeat to settle down.

Fortunately no one was out in the gym beyond the closed drapes of the stage because they would surely have heard that clank and (redacted)'s alarmed and quite loud start of the act of contrition. (Redacted)'s surprisingly intense piety did not prevent him from trying a sip of the altar wine we liberated another time from the cabinet that Father L had surprisingly left unlocked. Father left the key in the lock of the sanctuary door as a matter of course; but he never left the key in the lock of the cabinet that held the vestments, wine, incense and self starting charcoal briquets for the censor.

Terrible stuff that altar wine. Even boosted and savored with friends it didn't taste good. All in all we drank very little, and we carefully refilled the bottle with water before putting it back, so no harm was done. It was probably just as well that Father L took very little water with his wine when he said mass.

The story about the little girl who got stopped by the Tulare police from selling lemonade is here:

Hopefully the cop who shut her down will not be smart enough to avoid buying lemonade from her when she gets set up again. Such a cop deserves a bit of extra flavoring in his lemonade.

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