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As Long as We Remember...

July 8, 2002

Lemonade and Liberty in Baker Park

Lee Marshall

What a celebration we had nationally for the Glorious Fourth! God was everywhere, especially in West Virginia where the local Methodist minister thrilled our souls with his prayer that America right itself from the social morass of political correctness. The Washington Times reported the media was so aghast at the prayer that they had trouble paying attention to President George W. Bush.

We briefly observed in the air conditioned den that ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings, a liberal Canadian, was on the air and quickly turned him off, remembering that Charlie Daniels and his band would perform their tribute to the fallen heroes of 9/11 in Atlanta, thank you very much!

Here in Frederick, the crowds didn't overwhelm facilities for a good show, probably due to the heat, but it might have been in support of those kids on West Second Street who were forbidden by the Ever-Lovin' Mare and her alderman clique from selling lemonade across the street.

What a shame on our city mothas and fathas! We realize the vendors had to pay $500 for a position in Baker Park to hawk their overpriced wares, but those kids certainly haven't dented profits in recent years.

This is yet another American institution gone in the era of government muscle. My daughters sold lemonade one summer to contractors working on the sewer lines in our neighborhood. They charged them a quarter a glass, but the workers tipped very well and appreciated the excitement from the girls, who used the everyday glasses before the panic of finding plastic cups saved the day.

The girls made a few bucks on the enterprise, primarily because they had no overhead, paid no taxes, had no health department permit, and had not received a sales tax license or sales permit from the city office of special events. They didn't interfere with any other bonafide enterprise and no one got sick.

Neither did the kids who live near Baker Park have such legal permission in past years, and that doesn't bother me. Traditionally, Americans revel in a child's zeal at private enterprise and the kids could expect only encouragement from the powers that be. A policeman on patrol might stop for a cup and if a politician were smart enough to be working the neighborhood, he might pose for a picture with the kids. Great publicity.

It is probably a certainty that the vendors would have lost less than $100 in sales to the kids, with whom the vendors could have worked out a partnership deal at no cost for a second location. Pay the kids an hourly tip and get on with the more brisk sales from chumps in the park.

It costs the vendors about ten cents a cup for lemonade, which they sell for no less than $3.50. A little lemon juice, a dash of water, sugar and ice. When you're hot and thirsty, it is a tasty and refreshing libation.

These vendors go from show to show and make big bucks. The hardest part of the job is the long workday, the setup and takedown and finding persons willing to stand at the booth and take orders. But the discomfort is eased when the till is counted.

Vendors have to be real entrepreneurs, must invest in equipment and indeed have the proper permits and tax licenses. They are roadies weekend to weekend during the "show months" from spring to fall. Their business does depend on the weather, but they also must get their feet in the door of certain events, some of which don't like "non-family" vendors.

However, once one of these lemonade-, funnel cake- or gyros-type businesses gets in the door, it can mean years of dependable work and income. They thrive at blue ribbon horse shows, carnivals and golf tournaments like the Kemper, where under-the-table payoffs, a sharing of profits they say, can guarantee a prime spot next year. We don't necessarily impugn the Kemper Open, but money talks and the events chairman can make or break a small-time entrepreneur.

You know most of these big-time entrepreneurs. You can see their closed up vending trailers throughout the city, parked in neighborhoods, business backlots, even the Great Frederick Fairgrounds. They are poised and ready for the next event.

It is a no-brainer to consider that when the Ever Lovin' Mare comes up for re-election, the parents in that influential and always-voting neighborhood (Rockwell Terrace and environs) will remember the slight that embarrassed their children and families.

As for the children, they get over these slights for the moment, but when they are voting age, you can bet they will be fully involved citizens and along with their parents probably won't even consider lunch at the Ever Lovin' Mare's eatery. They probably won't forgive the insult, and certainly won't forget.

The Ever Lovin' Mare went too far - again.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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