|Bagged piñon nuts for sale by a roadside vendor.|
It was a picture-perfect small town scene. I was trying to be a photojournalist and to build up my stock-photo portfolio. But I knew that if I stopped to photograph them properly, I would have to track down a parent and get a signed photo release, which would mean some explaining— and did I really want to do that when I had an interview scheduled with this USFWS guy at Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (further east) later that afternoon?
I eased off the gas, thought for moment, and then drove on. But I soon berated myself on two counts: "You dummy! There were those kids alone under a big prairie sky. At least you could have bought some lemonade to cheer them up! And why didn't you take the time to get a good clear photo? You'll never be a professional!"
The Lemonade Stand Rule (LSR) states that unless I am extremely pressed for time or the traffic is impossible, I will always stop for kids' lemonade stands. In this over-regulated age, selling lemonade is a sem-Free Range Kids things to do, and the sellers should be supported.
(There should be an Oshá Stand Rule too, after the time I failed to stop at a table selling oshá root down in San Luis — and something bad happened.)
What about piñon nuts (piñones) then?
Last January I was driving and saw a pickup parked by the side of the road with a sign advertising piñon nuts. I applied the LSR, made a quick left across the oncoming traffic and pulled up behind it.
I got to talking with the vendor—he was a re-seller, a local guy—and we were trading a little basic info. He said he lived in the Wet Mountains, and I said, "Oh, up on XXXX Creek?" and I was right. We had some things in common, and when he volunteered that he had done a little federal prison time (for a nonviolent offense nearly twenty years ago), I knew exactly what that had been about.
The nuts were not cheap. My last post explained why that is. But I bought a small bag and got back in the Jeep, thinking, "I must have lived here for a while." (I have the photos too, but I am not using them here.)
Please stop for lemonade stands. Fight the Machine.