Dinner Along the Amazon

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Authors: Timothy Findley
    He watched them drink.
    Jo-Jo was delighted and immediately asked for more. But Sally was slightly suspicious.
    “You call this here lemonade, Harper?”
    “Read it on the sign.”
    Sally read out: “‘Harper’s Bazaar of Lemonade 10c.’ Well I don’t know. Tastes peculiar to me.”
    “Jo-Jo likes it.”
    “Do you Jo-Jo?”
    “Yes,” said Jo-Jo. “I like it an’ more thank you.” He set out his paper cup on the top of the orange crate.
    “It costs you ten cents,” said Harper.
    “I already gave you ten cents. Don’t come to me.”
    “O.K. G’bye then,” said Jo-Jo and went off towards his own house at a run.
    “I think maybe I would like another cupful please Harper,” said Sally Davis, fishing in the pocket of her shorts for a dime, “the flavour sort of grows on you.”
    Bertha stood at the top of the drive and hollered out: “How’s sales going, Harper? Hello there Sally.”
    Harper replied that sales were practically non-existent and Sally said “Hello.”
    Bertha went in. Sally drank her second cup slowly.
    “Harper…” she said. “How about for a little free trade—I drum you up some business and you give me two more cups in exchange?”
    “Just where do you expect to find this business. It’s gotta be people off the street and there’s no one about. I guess it’s too hot.”
    “Jack Parker and Tim are over in Tim’s back yard. I heard ‘em. I could sort of provoke ‘em over I guess.”
    “How provoke ‘em?”
    “All you gotta do is mention cold drink on a day like this.”
    “It ain’t so cold right now,” said Harper—poking his finger into a stone jug of lemonade. “But go ahead and try.”
    Harper had left the big pot in the garage out of the sun and brought down two stone jugs and the long handled saucepan to ladle with.
    When Sally had gone Harper tipped back on his chair and looked both ways along the street. The high elm trees were like umbrellas up and down the sidewalks. Far away he could hear a dog barking at a car—and the car going away into the distance. He thought about his mother. He was glad, when he thought of her, that Sally Davis was going to drum up more business—because he wanted it all sold. After it had all been sold, he would take the money and buy back his mother’s jewels. The jewels had bought the frosted bottles—now the frosted bottles would buy them back. He had comfort in his heart.
    Soon he saw Miss Kennedy coming along under the elm umbrellas—carrying her coat over her arm and looking very hot and depressed—and he prepared to make a sale.
    She came up.
    “Hello Harper.”
    “Hullo Miss Kennedy.”
    She began to rummage about in her handbag.
    “I don’t seem to have a dime dear. But I have a quarter—can you change it?”
    “Yes’m. I have fifteen cents here.”
    “Then I’d like some lemonade, please.”
    Harper dipped her out a cupful.
    Miss Kennedy stood back and admired the view along the street.
    “Oh Harper, how I do love summer. But for this heat I’d say that summer on this street is summer like nowhere else in the world.”
    “Yes’m. It’s pretty.”
    Miss Kennedy finished her cup of lemonade.
    “That is a remarkable concoction Harper. Let me have another cup.”
    Harper began to worry. If Miss Kennedy stayed too long the children might not come, they being so afraid of her.
    “Were you going somewhere, Miss Kennedy,” asked Harper—as he handed her her third cup of lemonade.
    “Oh yes, but I have lots of time. I thought I’d seek out some nice air-conditioned movie house and relax this afternoon. But out here—thank you Harper—out here it seems so tranquil and still—it’s very relaxing and this lemonade of yours certainly does help to take the edge off the heat. Oh dear—it was so hot. I thought I was going to suffocate up there in my house.”
    She had a fourth cup—and then a fifth.
    Jo-Jo appeared on the other side of the street. He had apparently seen Miss Kennedy and

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