Happiness, 1¢

My neighborhood has the best curbside stands.

So far, it’s happened three times. Under a tree in an unassuming front yard, the unexpected has appeared, as magical as fairy rings.

The first time, I wasn’t on the lookout for the extraordinary. I nearly drove by the two girls bundled against the wind at their curbside table. Curiosity kicked in before I cruised past, though. This, I sensed, was something waiting to be discovered.

I was expecting lemonade, but in fact it was a candy stand. They gave me a paper cup and filled it with scoops of Nerds and red hots.

“How much does this cost?” I asked.

“Oh,” one girl said with a shrug, “nothing.”

“We just wanted to make people happy,” the other chimed in. “So, we’re giving away candy.”

Truth be told, I don’t care much for candy, but I can’t get enough of kids coming up with creative ideas.

I drove off smitten.

One afternoon months later, without warning, a Mini Fair popped up in the same front yard. With one carnival game, free jump rope lessons, and hair wraps and beaded bracelets for sale, it was all anyone could wish for in a Mini Fair.

I tried my hand at the carnival game.

“It’s pretty much impossible to lose,” the proprietresses informed me.

I promptly accomplished the impossible. They kindly offered sympathy, advice and a second chance.

The hair wraps, I was told, ranged in price from 1¢ for the regular style to 5¢ for the more difficult-to-make twisted variety. I chose four, inspiring a whispered consultation about whether to charge full price for a twisted wrap that was substantially shorter than the rest. My final bill came to 13¢.

It was the best fair ever.

I now make a point of driving down this particular street on days when I think there’s a chance a new idea might be brought to life under that tree. Most recently, I came upon a Duct Tape Stuff sale.

As I made my selection from among the brightly-colored bows and flowers, I said, “You have the best ideas for things to do! How do you come up with them?”

They smiled and shrugged. “We just like to do fun things that make people happy.”

The beauty is that I know just how they feel. It’s the same reason I always stop when I see them waiting for customers.

Article © 2013 by Annie Woodall