Kate remembers well the day Abigail’s family first showed up next door with their massive moving van, and began unloading the loveliest furnishings. She remembers it well because it was exactly one day before her sixth birthday. And Abigail’s birthday was exactly one week later.
The two had become instant friends in spite of their differences. Kate was a bit of a tomboy, with freckled skin and auburn curls that Abigail envied, but that she herself never really appreciated. Abigail, the classic girly-girl, preferred pretty clothes over nature. Both her hair and skin were fair and smooth.
That summer they decided they needed walkie-talkies, which neither had gotten for their birthday.
“You’ll have to earn the money yourselves,” Their parents had said. And so with the help of Kate’s dad they built a first class lemonade stand and were soon in business.
That fall Kate’s heart was breaking as Abigail left for “away school”. Why did she have to leave? How would she live without her best friend? But the new school year occupied her time and thoughts, and brought new friendships. And exactly one day before Kate’s seventh birthday, Abigail was home again.
Each summer they wasted no time in setting up shop. They giggled themselves silly as they squeezed lemons and spilled sugar. The goal was always to earn enough to buy something they could enjoy together—a long jump rope, a set of friendship bracelets, an art kit.
Today Kate was impatient to see Abigail again and eager to get started. Her tree had produced a bumper crop of big, sweet lemons this year and with the warm weather and the new housing tract one block over, she knew they could really clean up. Tomorrow would be her thirteenth birthday, and although she would receive many nice gifts, she had deliberately not mentioned what she wanted most. She’d had her eye on the coolest spy kit. Kate imagined the fun they would have spying on the pesky neighbor boys.
A car door slammed and Kate bolted through the front door like a lonely puppy. Yes! Abigail is home! There was something different about Abigail but she barely noticed as she threw her arms around her and squeezed.
“I’m so glad you’re finally home. We have so much to do to get ready for our birthday parties. And we may need to do a little touch up work on our lemonade stand this year. It is getting kinda old.” Kate always talked fast when excited.
“Hi Kate,” said Abigail. “Do you want to help me unpack?”
Once upstairs Kate took a good look at her childhood friend and noticed the ‘something different’.
“Wow, Abs, you look so…gown up! No fair—you got boobs!”
“You look different, too, Kate. You cut your hair. I remember the last time your hair was that short…” They started to laugh at the memory. “Juicy Fruit gum!” both said, falling to the bed in a fit of laughter.
“I know just what I want to do with our lemonade money this year,” Kate said, once she’d caught her breath.
“Um…ya. About that. Don’t you think we’re getting a little old for a lemonade stand?”
Abigail’s words left Kate stunned and hurt. She didn’t feel too old. Suddenly she felt like a little child next to Abigail and her new grown-up body. Suddenly a spy kit sounded like a baby toy. She was ashamed to mention it now. With tears welling up she ran to the bathroom to avoid embarrassment.
“Are you okay, Kate?”
Kate composed herself and opened the bathroom door.
“I didn’t think about us being too old for the lemonade stand. It’s just what we always do. If you don’t want to anymore we don’t have to, but it makes me sad to think about not doing it with you ever again.” At those words Kate’s tears began again and Abigail started to cry, too—which in turn started the laughing all over again.
“I have a great idea!” said Kate. “What if we fix up our lemonade stand and help the kids at the orphanage run it? They could use the money for some new toys!”
“You always were the clever one,” Abigail said. “We can never be too old to help orphans.”
That summer the lemonade stand tripled sales, and Kate and Abigail became role models for many young girls. A new tradition had begun, one of service to others.
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