Pitcher of Lemonade

“Pitcher of Lemonade,” Friend, Oct. 1991, 43

Pitcher of Lemonade

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matt. 7:12).

The sun shone fiercely on a hot summer day in Salt Lake City, Utah. There was some problem underneath the street near the home of President George Albert Smith, and several workmen from the city had come to fix it.

The workmen were not very careful with their language. They were swearing and using terrible language as the sun beat down on their backs.

Very few people had air-conditioning in their homes in the late 1940s, so nearly everybody had their windows open, hoping to catch any breeze that might cool them. After a while, the neighbors could hardly stand to listen to the workers’ words any longer. One of them walked over to where the workmen were digging and asked them to be more considerate. He pointed out that the Church President, George Albert Smith, lived nearby—couldn’t they show some respect for him and keep quiet, please?

At that, the men let loose with a new string of bad words and spoke even more loudly than before.

Quietly President Smith scurried around in his kitchen and prepared some ice-cold lemonade. He placed some glasses and the full pitcher on a tray, carried it out to the workmen, and said, “My friends, you look so hot and tired. Why don’t you come and sit under my trees here and have a cool drink?”

Their anger gone, the men responded to the kindness with meekness and appreciation. After their pleasant little break, the men went back to their labor and finished their work carefully and quietly.

George Albert Smith believed in treating others with courtesy regardless of how they treated him. On that hot summer day in Salt Lake City he handled a difficult situation with kindness and great wisdom.

Illustrated by Robert McKay