Inside a Norman Rockwell painting

I’m sitting in the front yard, saved from the heat by the shade of the maple and elms, watching seven kids running a lemonade stand near the street. They’re selling raspberry lemonade for twenty-five cents a cup, probably losing a nickel with each transaction. But the lessons they’re learning have nothing to do with economics. They’re plainly exercising the real world skills of negotiation, persuasion, compromise and teamwork. Customers not required.

The wind is picking up, smoke billows from a neighbor’s burning pile of sticks, and the serenade of little voices continues unabated, non-stop, ever-sweet. If, like Rockwell, I could paint, I would paint this picture. I’ve tried to photograph it. I briefly considered video. But in the end, I opted to just pay attention, to record it in my memory, realizing that all attempts to capture it any other way would be wholly imperfect.

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