Alan watched his four-year-old granddaughter Denise come skipping happily into the kitchen.
“What’re ya doing, Grandpa?” she asked.
“Making my special lemonade for our company,” he replied. “Your family will be here soon. Wanna help, sweetheart?”
“Yes!” Denise said. She pulled a kitchen chair over to the counter and scrambled up, eager for another fun experience during her sleepover.
“Your grandma invited your mom and dad and Erika to stay for Sunday dinner before taking you home,” Alan said. “We’re going to eat outside on the deck. It’s very warm out there, so my world famous “Grandpa Lemonade” is going to be mighty popular.”
“Grandpa Lemonade?” Denise asked, a quizzical smile on her face. “What’s that?”
“If you help, maybe I’ll let you in on the secret,” Alan replied. “Okay?”
“Sure,” Denise said happily.
“Okay then,” said Alan. “I’ve cut all these lemons in half. Now, I’ll squeeze each of them in this fruit squeezer. When that’s done, can you put them in the recycling bucket for me? It will be a really big help!”
“Sure!” Denise said.
A few minutes later, Alan said, “There. All done. Now, I’m going to pour the juice into a big mixing bowl your grandma uses for chili. Then I’ll add the rest of my very special ingredients, and presto we’ll have my special lemonade.”
“What special ingredients?” Denise asked.
“I usually don’t tell anyone,” he said. “That’s ‘cause only my “rare and secret” ingredients can produce the wonderful mysterious flavor. Not even Grandma Patricia knows my recipe. But you’re very special, and I promised.”
“Well, Grandpa,” Denise said insistently. “What is it?”
“You’ve got to promise me that you won’t tell anyone!” Alan said.
“I won’t, Grandpa,” she replied eager to learn the secret. “I promise.”
“Okay, so here it is,” he said. “To the lemon juice I add a little water, the juice of a few squeezed limes, some sliced lemons and sliced oranges for decoration, and a few ounces of pineapple juice for added sweetener. And that’s it.
“You know, Sweetie,” he added. “This is the very first time I’ve ever let anyone into the kitchen while making my famous lemonade.”
Denise smiled proudly.
Alan began stirring the mixture with a big wooden spoon.
“Oh, there’s the phone,” he said. “Here, you hold the spoon while I go answer it, okay?”
In his absence, Denise decided to help her grandpa. Wooden spoon in hand, she began to stir Alan’s famous brew. A big smile lit up her face. Now, she was really helping her grandpa!
“What in the world are you doing?” Alan exclaimed when he returned to the kitchen. He saw Denise leaning over the big stainless steel bowl, one hand planted firmly on the counter, the other thrust almost up to her tiny elbow in the lemonade, her arm swirling around. The big spoon was lying on the counter.
“You’re not supposed to stir the lemonade like that!”
“I’m not stirring it, Grandpa!” Denise replied, near tears. “The spoon won’t work! I can’t get it with that!”
“Can’t get what?” he asked, his eyebrows knitting together.
“My bubblegum!” she sobbed.
“Making Lemonade” is Copyright 2018 by James Osborne. All Rights Reserved
Cover Design by Michelle Crocker (www.mlcdesigns4you.com), Courtesy of Solstice Publishing Inc. (http://solsticepublishing.com)
(Note: An earlier version of “Making Lemonade” was published here in March 2013)