“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” — James Dent

And, I might add, a perfect summer day involves a good glass of lemonade.

I’m not a big fan of lemonade. Truth be known, I prefer iced tea any day of the week, ( NO sugar.)

Still, while I’m not a regular drinker of lemonade, I am a huge supporter of lemonade stands.

I do not, will not, and can not drive by a lemonade stand without buying a drink from the young entrepreneurs running the roadside establishment.

My Dearly Beloved is used to the fact that I absolutely refuse to drive by a lemonade stand without making my small contribution to the local free market economy.

I actually love the fact that one warm summer day, some kid or kids decide “Hey. I got an idea. Let’s make lemonade. We’ll make a fortune.”

The idea is stunning in its simplicity.

Turn out a product that everyone wants. Sell it at a reasonable price. Retire early.

I love the initiative. I love the energy. I love the shy enthusiasm.

I love the fact that somewhere in Osceola County, on any given day in the summer, a kid is going up to his mom and asking, “Can you make lemonade out of these lemons?”

And he is usually dragging his little brother or sister along already planning on tapping into cheap labor.

Now ... pay attention.

As noted, I don’t especially like lemonade - especially the hyper-sweet, less-than-definable stuff kids often sell at stands.

Doesn’t matter.

I see a lemonade stand. I immediately pull over and grab a fistful of change. I get out and tell the kids just how I REALLY need a good glass of lemonade. I ask them who actually made the lemonade. I ask them if it tastes good. We discuss the price.

I get my lemonade. They get their quarter, (usually with a tip for their excellent service.)

Then, I drive away and very, Very, VERY discreetly dump the contents of the glass out the window and store the paper cup in the growing pile on the back seat floor.

A few minutes later I may see another stand. Maybe just a block or two away. Doesn’t matter.

Same drill.

Look. These kids deserve my business more than many businesses in our area deserve my business.

I really love the kids who take it a step further.

I pulled up to a lemonade stand once at which the “big” brother was selling a standard Dixie cup of lemonade for the standard price of a quarter.

He wasn’t, however, cutting his little sister in on the action.

Still, she wasn’t gonna let a money-making opportunity slip through her hands.

She set up a “booth” a few feet away from her cheapskate brother and started selling little sprigs of lilac flowers.

Now, the somewhat limited season for strong lilac flowering, blooming, and scenting had passed. The girls flowers were a bit ... sad. They weren’t displayed in attractive vases of water, nor were the in water at all.

They just lay there on a crumbling card table, as she anticipated a bit of ricochet business from the lemonade stand.

She got it from me. We haggled a bit and I got three lilac twigs for 50 cents.

A great buy in my opinion.

I once bought a bundle of twigs that were being side-marketed as campfire starters from a kid tagging onto his sister’s lemonade stand. Who can beat the price — a bundle of twigs for a quarter!

I once bought a rock to hold town a picnic tablecloth for 25 cents.

I’m a sucker for a good deal.

But ... I never drink the lemonade.

Until this past weekend.

Driving through town I spotted a lemonade stand owned and operated by three girls up ahead.

It must of been a slow day.

They sat there with collective heads in collective hands — mildly dejected.

No customers.

I pulled up. Jumped out. They all perked right up and poured me a glass of cloying yellow lemonade.

A glass.

They only had one.

Everyone buying lemonade at this stand had to share a glass.

“Mom said we could only take one glass outside ...” explained the stand manager.

One glass. Fingers looped over the lip of the glass while lemonade was poured from an oddly spotted pitcher with what seemed to be a few loose blades of grass swimming around inside.

“No paper cup to go?” I asked.

“Nope. You have to drink it here.” came the reply.

Looking at the three expectant faces, I steeled myself and downed the lemonade.

I didn’t need to worry that any lemons had died in the production of THAT drink.

I did have to worry about sugar shock ... and other things I suppose.

But ... what could I do??!!??

They had my quarter.

I love summer.

I love lemonade stands.

For those of you who don’t stop and shop locally ... there’s still time.