Around Hope, we prize our old country stores. Though some have changed over the years, we still derive much pleasure from them.
One of the stores around here once had a drive thru added. But not in the way you might expect. There was a light snow on the roadways and Jack, having lived in California most of his adult life, had never gotten the hang of driving on snow. He gave his signal, slowed down and turned. Or so he thought. His car continued on the path it was travelling, heading straight for the side of the block building. Well, he went crashing right through the wall knocking cases of Ale-8 one, our local soda, all over the place. When Sue, the owner of the store, walked up to his door to check on him, he rolled the window down, grinned at her and said, “I came by for a pop and a cake.”
At another of our local stores, the older gentleman running the place was complaining about his eyesight to my husband. Now the gentleman knew that he used to be able to see well out of his glasses but something just wasn’t right with them on this day. He asked Randy to look them over for him. Randy picked up the offending object and held them up in front of him. “Well, this here’s your problem.” Randy told him, pointing out that one of the lenses was missing from the frames. “No wonder I couldn’t see a thing.” He told Randy, chuckling.
This feller that lives close to us had a long trench coat that he loved to wear. The guys around here teased him about it, calling it his “Columbo” coat. Now he wore that coat everyday that winter. But one fateful day, when he went to the store to pick up a quart of oil, that all changed. Now this was in the days when motor oil was still sold in the old paper quart containers. Up until this time, the top and bottom was made of metal. But for some reason, the company changed the design so that the bottom of the containers were now plastic, unbeknownst to this feller. So he came into the old store, picked out his quart of oil and set it on top of the old wood stove and backed up to it to warm up. Well as the oil can heated, the bottom melted all over the top of the stove and the oil leaked out and caught fire. The guys started yelling about the wood stove being on fire, so “Columbo” turned around, saw the oil fire, whipped his coat off and put it out. There was no damage to the store, only the lingering smoke from the fire but the coat wouldn’t live to see another day. He never did get him another one of those coats.
And then there was the one conversation that Randy heard a couple of old timers having in the store. One looked over at the other and said, “You know, I reckon it’s about time for the new cars to come out.” The other feller looked back at him, cocked his head to the side and said “The fire went out? What’s he doing with a fire anyway, it’s too hot for that.”
So around here, we don’t need television, we just head down to the old country store and see what the locals are up to.
This is Blevins Grocery, located in Preston, one of my husband’s favorite haunts