MANCHESTER, NH – Every day we look for signs of hope that 2020 is somehow better than it feels right now. For those who looked to the corner of Hanover and Ashland streets on Friday, Izabella Moreland, 8, and Amber Demers, 10, were busy delivering the goods.
Fresh-squeezed lemonade for 50-cents a generous pour was worth a stop on a hot summer day. But for customers who went out of their way to stop, the lemonade stand was more than a bargain.
It was a sign of normalcy and hope in a city where the usual problems have been magnified by fallout from the global pandemic.
“I almost got clobbered turning around,” said customer No. 5, David Famiglietti, who tried to do a little u-turn on Ashland Street to park his truck on Hanover. The guy behind him wasn’t having it, and laid on his horn to get by.
Famiglietti was waving a dollar bill as he made his way toward the makeshift stand, which consisted of a purple blanket covering a tiny yellow table with a tiny yellow chair for Izabella, next to a cooler that doubled as a rumble seat for Amber.
He wasn’t all that thirsty.
“When I see young entrepreneurs I always want to support them,” he said, adding a philosophical bit about fishing that sunk in. “If you fish all day and don’t catch anything, eventually, you give up fishing.”
He was buying a cup of hope, not so much for himself but for two young girls who seemed to be in high spirits, lifted by a sugar rush and the kindness of strangers.
Izabella explained this was their second stab at selling lemonade. Their first go-round a few weeks ago went pretty well, too.
“We made $35,” money she wants to use to buy some new clothes.
When not selling lemonade, the two best friends say they have spent their summer doing fun stuff, like swimming, camping and riding bikes.
“We ride our bikes down that hill and it gives us a nice breeze,” said Izabella, pointing toward Wilson Street, as Amber nodded in total agreement.
Another customer pulls up in a car with a Domino’s Pizza sign. He knows the drill – as Amber approaches his open window with lemony juice, he overpays with all the change he could scrape together, enough to buy several more cups if he wanted. Satisfied with the one, he drives off. Amber, with careful excitement, carries the two-fisted take over to her partner in summer-ade. Izabelle lifts their treasure box and opens the lid. Amber deposits the change.
“Look how much we have so far,” exclaims Izabella, eyeballing the profits, as Amber settles back onto her perch, a red-and-white cooler.
The secret ingredient to their success is obvious.
“It was my day off,” says Kelly Moreland,” who couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than sitting in a folding chair just far enough away from her granddaughter to take it all in, and close enough to offer assistance if the spigot malfunctions or the Styrofoam cups need replenishing. Not only has she gifted Izabella with an inherently generous smile and positive outlook, but she’s investing in her memory bank.
One day Izabella and her bestie may get together to reminisce over life growing up in the city and remember the summer of 2020, when hot summer days meant cold lemonade and generous neighbors, the pandemic just a footnote to the overriding feeling of success and security on the streets of Manchester.