A Resident’s Perspective – Praying for Money or Money for Prayers

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2017

“Cold water from bottles —– cents. Lemonade for —— cents. Cold water….cents. Lemonade….cents….???”

Two approximately 4th and 5th grade boys were enthusiastically failing to hail down passing cars on one of the first “hot” days of 80 degrees in June. Each waved a frayed spiral sheet of paper. I strained to understand the price.

I walked slowly to enjoy the situation up ahead, then, stood back on the dirt walkway for safety from the travelers. A large pickup sped south on Golf Club Road and passed the young entrepreneurs. It stopped short. VER-R-U-M. Backed up quickly.

With no other vehicles in sight, Older Boy crossed over to the truck, stretched his neck to take an order from the driver and ran back to his make-shift lemonade/water stand. Smaller Boy quickly filled one cup with water, another with lemonade and handed them to his brother.

Strong, hairy arms reached down to exchange coins for the cool drinks.

“Thank you very much, sir,” the two youngsters yelled over VER-R-U-M. Large high wheels made up for lost time.

Obviously excited boys skipped over to the rain-washed unpainted board that extended beyond the row of six mail boxes. The plank held their lineup of little cups, a sweaty pitcher of lemonade, and a tall cold bottle of commercial water. This was staged at the gravel road entrance to humble homes a few yards away. The boys’ heads closed in over the coins, animated with their small earnings.

I stood smiling, letting them enjoy the moment.

My turn. “Hey, what are you selling? Yooo hooo! Look! I’m over here.” I swung with my long, skinny arms.

Older Boy looked both ways and sped across the road.

“Yes. What would you like?” he mashed his worn, paper flag across his chest. Penciled cursive script was too light for me to read.

“What are you selling?”

With a Cheshire cat smile, he jabbed his chubby finger to his poster, “Cold lemonade, 15 cents, and cold water from bottles, 5 cents.”

Bottled water seemed a special commodity.

I lowered my voice, “I want you to know I admire you two energetic little workers. My 10 year old granddaughter had a lemonade stand last week to earn money by herself to buy her own golf cart. It’s hard for her to walk a long distance, but she is an excellent junior PGA student. Your excitement reminds me of her.”

He and I gazed intently eyeballs to eyeballs. I continued.

“I tell you what. I’m going to give you some money, so you can sell my portion to someone else.” I pressed a bill into his sweaty little palm.

He took a big breath as his eyes danced over his huge smile, “Can’t I give you something?”

I paused. “Yes, you can. You say a prayer for me, and I’ll say a prayer for you. Tell your little brother. Okay? I have to get home now.”

“Yes, I promise we will.” He turned quickly to dart across the street.

“You’re excited. Be careful. Look both ways.”

Their dad had come to see what was happening. I turned to go home.

“Daddy, look! The lady gave us five dollars!! But she said to pray for her—all of us.”

Above the excitement and advice dad was giving them to spread out to give people time to slow down, Big Boy insisted. “We have to say a prayer for that lady.”

Sound of quiet. I side-glanced, and noticed they’d formed a circle with bowed heads.

Praying for money, or money for prayers? Why not!?

Mary Jo Bio - Test

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