It is a warm and sunny day at the playground. The fountain is flowing, and we sit on the edge, dangling our feet in the cool water. There are seven of us, ranging in ages from one and a half up to six years old. We love to visit the fountain all year round, but in the summer it is more fun. We throw pennies in the water and make wishes, and if it is warm enough outside, we get to take off our shoes and get our feet wet. Kathy and Sara don't let us take our shoes off at the playground much, so this makes us all very happy.
Suddenly from the east, a whole bunch of older children come running toward us. There are ten of them, all different ages, but older than us. Those kids, they jump right into the water, even though we know that there are signs around the fountain that say not to do this. They splash and play, and touch all of the pipes that make the water fountain work. They cover the water coming out of one pipe and the water from the next pipe shoots out higher. It looks like fun, but we know they are not supposed to be doing that. We sit on the edge and watch, amazed and confused.
There are these two boys who sometimes play with us when we are here. There father sits in his car on the side of the playground and watches as they play. We have never met him, but sometimes the boys run to the car to tell him things. Sometimes the car is nearby, sometimes it is all the way across the park. They have jumped into the fountain too, and are splashing about. One of the boys finds a bowl that is floating in the water. Joey is happy, that bowl has been bothering him. It doesn't belong in the fountain, but it was too far away for us to reach it. They start collecting pennies from the floor of the fountain, pennies we have just made wishes with. This is really bad. If those boys take those pennies, people won't get their wishes. We won't get our wishes.
Before too long, the lemonade man comes by. We climb down from the wall of the fountain and run toward the edge of the park. We find a place in the shade of a tree, while Kathy goes to get our lemonade. We get to choose the kind we want, lemon, or red. Most of us choose red, which today is watermelon.
As Kathy is getting ready to order our lemonade, the two boys that were collecting our pennies run up to the truck. Their bowl is filled with money. They have taken all of the wishes out of the fountain and about to spend them on lemonade! We are amazed. Why would someone do this? Kathy talks to them and asks them where they found the money, although we all know. They happily tell her it came from the fountain. She looks at them with wide eyes. "You stole all those wishes out of the fountain?"she says. "That is not right."
"We are going to buy lemonade," one of the boys announces. "The man will count the money for us."
"But those are people's wishes!" Kathy tells them.
"We are going to get lemonade with them!" the tall one says proudly.
"How about if I make a trade for those wishes?" Kathy asks. She buys them each a lemonade and takes the bowl. We settle into the grass to enjoy our lemonade, and to count how many wishes the boys stole. It turns out to be two hundred and thirty five. That is a lot of wishes!
We watch as the kids continue to splash in the fountain. We are hoping they will leave, so we can put the wishes back where they belong. We know that if we put them back in now, they will just take them out again. We finish but the kids are still there. Kathy puts the money in our toy bag, and promises we can come back another day to return the wishes. We know this is an important job, and can't wait to return to do it.