“Pomes 5¢” is the booth title I dreamed up for my version of Lucy’s version of a lemonade stand. In visualization, my stand is full-sized and the poet is swamped by purchasers.
The Dreamy Reality
Yesterday, I experienced a modified version of this idea at my hometown’s end-of-summer festival. Lucy was portrayed by a doll my niece gave me. The lemonade stand was made from an inverted patio footstool and some small cardboard boxes. “Pomes” (so-called because my everyday poetry is not very refined) became “Poems” (so as not to confuse customers). “Pomes” also relates to apples, an everyday wholesome nourishment.
The real was better than the imagined. Along with a half-dozen other Arkansas authors, and at the invitation of owners Myra and Pat Moran, I shared booth space at Trolley Line Bookstore in downtown Rogers. At other times during the day, I filled in at the Lions Club chili contest booth and handed out flyers for an upcoming car show.
I wore a pocketed apron under my Lions t-shirt so I could carry poems with me and offer them freely to people who looked like they might be interested. My approach evolved as the day went on: “Hi! Have you had your poem of the day yet? No? Well it’s here in this spread somewhere.” I would then fan out a brightly-colored assortment of slips of paper, just as a Las Vegas dealer would fan a deck of cards. “Pick one. The one you pick is the one that’s meant for you … or for somebody who means a lot to you. It’s like a fortune cookie and, when you read it, you’ll know why it came to you this way.”
One man was reluctant to participate. “No. No. I’d rather not.” So we talked awhile about his t-shirt. “Fly Fishing in America” it announced above a related graphic. “Fly Fishing in America” is the name of a band that had just participated in a music contest. We talked on, about family, and eventually the man allowed that his wife might want to try the fortune cookie thing because she likes to read. So we went to her and, as it turned out, her poem was about books.
“Sure you don’t want to try?” I asked. He took one, read it, and was shaken. “How did you know I like trees?” he wondered. “I didn’t,” I answered, “something else did.” The man even knew Joyce Kilmer’s poem by heart. Here is the poem he picked:
TREES THAT PLEASE
beneath bold blue—
we’ve pined for you.
It kept happening again and again, that syncing. In one instance, the recipients were a couple. He drew first and got a disappointed look on his face. Same with her. Then they read the poems aloud—and each said, “You got mine!”
All this interacting happened during my wandering around. When I arrived at at the bookstore for the authors’ time-slot, I reviewed the small “lemonade” stand I’d set up earlier and its sign mentioning five cents. By then I knew enough to tell people, “Oh, the first poem is free. Just pick one. The one you pick is the one that’s meant for you…”
The story of the Lucy doll is a very special one, to be saved for a future time. I hope all your days are at least as delightful as mine was yesterday. ♥ ~Jo
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