“The Early Bird Gets the Lemonade”
By Jerry Zezima
It may be true that time waits for no man, unless his watch has stopped, but it sure isn’t true for any man — or woman — who attends a yard sale.
That’s what I found out when my daughter recently had a sale that was supposed to begin at 9 a.m. but which attracted a flock of time-ignorant early birds, the first of whom showed up at the ungodly hour of 6:52 in the morning.
“Were they on Mountain Time?” I asked my daughter after my wife, Sue, and I, who participated in the sale, arrived at 8 o’clock, Eastern Time, to put out our stuff and have large doses of caffeine to wake up.
“I don’t think they can read,” replied my daughter, who put up large signs around her neighborhood and posted notices on social media advertising the sale, which clearly had the hours — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — but didn’t deter the crowd of bargain hunters who were roaming the yard when Sue and I showed up.
“Do you have any fishing equipment?” asked a gentleman who was angling for a deal.
“The only two things you need for a successful fishing outing are cold beer and straight hooks,” I replied.
“Straight hooks?” the guy wondered.
“So the fish won’t interrupt your beer drinking,” I explained.
After he left, I made a mental note to have a cold one when the sale was over.
But that wouldn’t happen for hours. In the meantime, I was the official greeter. This involved giving stupid answers to legitimate questions.
“How much are these baskets?” a woman asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m a basket case myself.”
“We’ll throw him in for free,” my daughter told the woman, who smiled, politely declined and said, “I have one like him at home.”
Still, sales were brisk. Coats, shoes, knickknacks, jewelry, furniture, children’s stuff, you name it, people were buying it.
So were dogs, including Tessie, a 10-year-old Shorkie who was there with her mommy and daddy.
“We have a rug she might like to sleep on,” I told them. “And she won’t mess it up because she must be housebroken by now.”
I actually made the sale, though the rug went for only $5.
“You drive a hard bargain, Tessie,” I said.
“Woof!” she responded enthusiastically.
The best and most consistent sales were made by my granddaughters, sisters who are 10 and almost 7. They had a lemonade stand that their daddy constructed. It was made of cardboard and had a roof, a sign, a side opening, a back door and a sales window, outside of which was a table with plastic cups, paper straws and a large jar of ice-cold lemonade.
“I used to drive lemons,” I told one couple. “But as you can see,” I added, pointing to sliced fruit floating in the yellow liquid, “these are real.”
“Lemonade!” the girls shouted.
“How much?” countless customers asked.
“One dollar,” answered the little one, who took the money first, handed it to her big sister and poured the refreshments from a spout.
Even people who didn’t buy anything at the yard sale purchased the girls’ lemonade.
“I work in a restaurant,” one young woman remarked, “and they could have their own business.”
The kids cleaned up, raking in $50.
The big winner was my daughter, who made $333. Sue netted $81. I didn’t make anything because I didn’t bring anything of my own to sell. But the sale was a success despite the fact that I was the one who schmoozed with the customers.
When it was over, at 2 o’clock, it felt like 5 o’clock because of all the early birds.
After we cleared the yard of the stuff that didn’t sell, I had the cold beer I had been waiting for since I talked with that fisherman hours before.
“You can’t have any lemonade,” one of my granddaughters informed me. “We sold it all.”
Copyright 2023 by Jerry Zezima