A Doug's Life: Thanks for the Lemonade

There's a new corner sign twirler in town, but he's not hawking housing developments or pizza joints.

He's 8 years old, has a sister for a co-worker, and carries a bright green sign advertising lemonade for 50 cents a glass.

Take you back to your childhood? Carefree summer days in a safer place and a kinder, gentler time?

That's what I like about Menifee.

OK, it's one of the reasons I like Menifee. But this one pretty much sums it up. I'm not saying it's Mayberry, but Menifee is a place where you can stretch out, take a deep breath and enjoy the little things again. We just fail to recognize this sometimes.

There I was, heading southbound on Menifee Road Tuesday afternoon, making a quick stop at the intersection at La Piedra Road before heading on my way. Halfway through the intersection, a dancing green sign caught my eye. A young boy was waving it and hollering, while a girl sat at a card table behind an inviting pitcher of lemonade.

I smiled to myself and started to head down the road. Then it hit me. Am I really in such a hurry that I'm going to let this Norman Rockwell moment pass me by?

Besides, it was 100 in the shade and I was darn thirsty.

Turning around and pulling over in front of Wheatfield Park, I introduced myself to Tanner Nelson and his sister Hailey, age 13. Handing them my 50 cents, I had a choice between regular lemonade and pink lemonade. Pink turned out to be a great choice.

"Are you selling a lot of lemonade?" I asked Tanner.

"You're our first customer," he said. "We just got here."

A few feet away, parents Erik and Allison Nelson explained that after several days of listening to their children beg for this grass-roots sales opportunity, they agreed to help them set up, sit in the shade for a couple hours and see what happened.

"A couple weeks ago, I was telling them how when I was little, we used to sell lemonade in front of my grandmother's house," Allison said. "They wanted to do the same thing. We've been putting them off, but today they finally nailed us. We decided to do it at this corner where there was more traffic."

It didn't take long before the customers started to show up. First a couple who pulled over in their car after noticing the waving sign. Then a young boy on a bicycle. The little lemonade stand was doing all right.

"It's a lot different atmosphere out here," said Erik, who works in Los Angeles as a firefighter. "You really have that hometown attitude."

You have that hometown attitude, and you have that gleam in a young boy's eye as customers approaches with a smile on their face and two quarters in their outstretched hand. At least for this old boy, it was 1960 again for a few minutes. No one was complaining about the traffic, arguing about school bus routes or belittling local politicians.

It really was kind of nice.

"At least they're not inside the house, playing video games," Allison Nelson said.

No, they're not -- thanks to the kids' ambition, the parents' support and a few nice gestures from people passing by.

Yeah, I like Menifee.


  1. That's what i love about this town, it brings simple childhood memories.

  2. so good to see parents encouraging children in free enterprise! Good memories.

  3. i think im going to cry

  4. One of the many more reasons to love Menifee! Thanks for sharing!