Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The sultriness that was summer in D.C. blanketed the pedestrians returning to Capitol Hill. Trickling toward home through air that passively resisted, I almost overlooked a shape emerging from the haze of my own street. It might have been some atmospherically-induced apparition; rather, there, in the 1990s, in front of a well-kept urban rowhouse with door adorned by yuppie wreath, sat an immaculate child, seraphically presiding over a linen-covered table bearing a pitcher made of Tupperware. His neatly lettered sign, presumably prepared by an invisible caregiver in endorsement of his enterprise, read "Lemonade - 50 Cents."

The little boy with the pitcher became a fixture of late August. Each business day, he held his post from four to six p.m. Although I never patronized his stand, I watched others who did. He seemed quite pleased as each quarter clinked into his pocket, and he never failed to thank each customer and to suggest a repeat transaction. There may be some romantic explanation for the young merchant's dedication. He might, after all, have been contributing to a shortfall in the family mortgage payment consequent to the recession that rippled across the Washington legal community-in this scenario, the briefcases and well-tailored suits sported by both his parents might just have been a brave front. He might have been saving for a life-preserving operation for a younger sister (who, to the best of my knowledge, did not exist).