Much of the nation today has been grappling with how to understand the massive shooting in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
There's no way to understand it. It's pure craziness. And it affects hundreds of people in a place, as well as dozens more living in shock in San Diego, the home of the man accused of the shooting. For others, it recalls the violence suffered at other times and in other cities. An island in Norway. A college or high school campus. An Episcopal Church. All acts of murder and mayhem that seem so senseless and awful. And reminding us, again, that we could put a stop to such violence... if we could commit to a course of action that reduced the guns in our society, and gave more help for the mentally ill.
His parents, one of whom I knew from my days as a reporter at the state Capitol, had advertised Graham's famous lemonade all week on Facebook, enticing friends to come by his lemonade stand this afternoon for cookies and lemonade for the low, low, very low price of 50-cents a cup or a can of food. The beneficiary of Graham's efforts was the local social service agency, ECHO. Every nickel, dime, and quarter was going to help feed Tallahassee families. This is the fourth year that Graham has squeezed the juice out of dozens of lemons to give a mid-summer boost to ECHO, and last year his little lemonade stand raised $1,100. That's a LOT of lemons!
As he carefully poured me my cup, I was thinking about that phrase, "When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade." On this day, when the television was full of images of parents weeping and clinging to their stunned and traumatized teenagers who had hid from a gunman in a Colorado movie theater, here were Graham's parents, kibbitizing with neighbors under their carport, while their child with the soft brown eyes earnestly served up cup after cup of lemonade. It was the yin and yang of life.
Having this moment reminded me that amidst the crap, there are still bright spots. There is still goodness in the hearts of children who already know the value of giving to others. And sometimes the lemons can be sweetened and mixed with water and ice to quench a thirst for something positive.
Thanks for that, Graham. Cheers, mate!