BACK BAY – This is how Dezeray McGreevy, who is eight, spent a hot July afternoon.
She set up a table near the end of the drive, almost at Princess Anne Road. She put out water and cups. She wrote a sign on Styrofoam to draw in a passersby or two.
Give a buck, it suggested, even 25 cents to fight cancer or for the Red Cross. Get some water in return. Or maybe just give.
That was the pitch, but it was tough to see from the road. McGreevy’s mother won’t let her get but so close to the traffic, the target audience for the fundraising effort.
There wasn’t just the sign, though. McGreevy wore a tiara. She shook pompoms.
A northbound reporter stopped at a cul-de-sac and walked back to the drive. McGreevy got her grandfather. He got her mom.
Marie Williams asked her daughter to explain.
“I’m selling water,” McGreevy said.
“Is there something you’re giving it for?” Williams asked.
“I’m trying to get donations for kids in the hospital,” McGreevy said.
“Have you had anyone stop yet?”
Not to say some didn’t notice, as fast as folks seem to go along Princess Anne Road.
“I had one wave and a guy honked and laughed at me,” McGreevy said.
A moment later, somebody else honked.
“Who was that?” McGreevy asked.
“Just smile and wave,” Williams advised.
McGreevy said she thought her table might do some good.
It was hard to think of a better cause.
“People that go to the hospital can have cancer and die from it,” she said.
Eventually, such appeals pulled a dollar out of a visitor’s pocket.
Motorcyclists might stop. McGreevy told her grandfather that. They can stop a bit better than cars or, at least, double back.
But it’s a busy road. Sometimes it’s hard to see what people are doing on the side of it.
“You never know,” Williams said, regarding bikers. “We’ve had some break down and want to borrow the driveway.”
Williams noticed a butterfly on the ground near the road.
She walked to the edge of the drive. She gently picked up the butterfly, and she carried it back to the shade.
“It’s piercing hot out there,” Williams said, holding the butterfly, when she returned.
She was explaining this kindness.
“Sometimes Mother Nature does its own thing,” Williams said.
The girl looked at the butterfly. It was alive, but one of its wings looked wrong.
“It’s ripped,” McGreevy said.
“It’s wing is ripped,” Williams said, agreeing.
“So it won’t be able to fly.”
Williams told her daughter that, in a while, she would carry it over to a bush.
For a while, the butterfly rested on the table with the water, cups and sign.
When the wind blew the Styrofoam sign off the table, McGreevy picked it up and put it back so it faced the traffic.
She walked as close to the road as she was allowed.
She held a cup toward passing cars.