Two little girls bounced beside the road like popcorn on a griddle. A lone cyclist can’t help but notice eager young faces holding a sign and giggling to the little boys who skulked in the shadows across the street. The idea of a lemonade, even the dreaded Kool-Aid, painted a smile on my face. But as I coasted to a stop, I saw no beverage containers, just gleeful little girls.
The tallest girl held her sign above her head: “I believe that we can it – Save the ya World – we can do it,” read the hand-lettered sign in duo-colored marker . The smaller girl bounced around holding some crayoned note cards. “Join use and save the Earth Please,” said one of her colorful cards.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“We are saving the world!” they replied in unison, followed by a breathless account of all the ways the world needs to be saved. Hunger, poverty, and TREES! “We are going to plant trees because the President is cutting down trees!” Colorful sheets of paper fluttered to the ground in their excitement.
“Where are you going to get these trees and where will you plant them?”
“Oh, we’ll get some seeds,” announced the older girl. And we’ll plant them over there by my mom’s garden where they can grow up big.” She pointed vaguely in the direction of a modest single story home that spoke of ends not quite meeting.
“Oh, so you’re out collecting money for your mom’s landscaping project, eh?” I asked with a grin.
“Yes, sort of. And she’s hungry,” the older girl seemed to be pointing at her sister, or was it her friend? “She only gets to eat cereal and she needs some eggs and milk,” the older girl’s delivery had faded into a downcast mumble.
“Well, how does it work?”
“You can pay a dollar for a tree.”
“A whole dollar? Don’t you have anything less expensive? A dollar’s kind of a lot of money for a bike rider. And I don’t even get any lemonade or anything?”
Both girls retreated to their save-the-world mantra. “We’re going to save the world one tree at a time and you can be part of it for just a dollar!”
Call me a sucker, but how could I resist a well-crafted pitch like that? As I fumbled through my gear to find a dollar, the girls hoped on one foot and then the other, jabbering about who would get to run in and tell mom…. I started to mount my bike and the littlest girl thrust one of her colorful notecards toward me. “Don’t you want one of these?”
“Why, of course I do! I almost forgot.”
And with that I rejoined my solo Memorial Day bike ride to Indian Creek Winery for their Wish Granters of Idaho fundraiser. The pause seemed most appropriate on this day of remembering the blessings we have, of honoring the freedoms that our armed services have protected, and—for me—recognizing how fortunate I am to live my simple life with a comfortable bed and a roof over my head and a beautifully made bike to carry me into the countryside to spend an afternoon sharing wine and conversation with friends on a gorgeous spring day.