Farmers and ranchers come for supplies
Gossiping on front porch with the guys
Driving mules dragging wagon behind
Sometimes miners with gold that they find


The only store for hundreds of mile
Puffing on pipes they stay for awhile
The old country store sells all they need
Food,tobacco, and much needed seed


The dirt trail is wrought with great peril
There's Uncle Ned and brother Darrell
Hadn't seen them in month of Sunday
Invite them to dinner next Monday


Mustn't forget the bag of flour
And to leave before nighttime hour
Maybe pick up some candy for son
Give Invite to all to hoedown fun


While buying all that the farm will need
Try to remember to buy hog feed
Maybe surprise Ma with a cloth bolt
And a harness for that fine new colt


© By Sharon (Sunyskys1943@aol.com)




Just a small country store, down the road a mile or so. Just past the corner of main highway and the road down to the old mill. Mr Brufman has run the store as long as I can remember and I be 64 come winter time. Folks say his daddy bought it when Silas McCain was run out of the county when he had his way with Jason Bishop’s woman while Jason was in France fighting in the trenches. Jason was well liked and his woman ran the store while Jason was gone, but Silas was a lady’s man and when Jason got back home his wife had a brand new set of twins with red hair and Jason and his woman had brown hair, but Silas McCain was red headed and freckled. And to top it off Jason had been gone in France and England fer two year.

Anyhow the old store was made of clapboard and I don’t think it had ever been painted or whitewashed. The roof was all rusty and as I told Mr Brufman if he didn’t paint that roof it would soon be a leaking. “He grinned the way he always did when someone made what was to him a funny, “Chad, ain’t you got enough work painting all the rich widows houses to keep you busy?”

The old store weren’t much to look at as I said, but it was the only store in a six or seven mile radius, it was where a man could come and buy some lamp oil or gas for his tractor; not many folks had cars or trucks fer most folks were share croppers and they just drove a team of mules or horses. That sign on the front of the place, “Perry’s” was a joke cause Jas Williams drove the Coca Cola truck and he got the sign, boy did Mr Brufman get a lot of hazing when folks found out his name was not Perry like a lot of the old timers called him, but Pericles a name his momma had read in a book when she was a youngun.

The old store was ideal to get some can goods in an emergency or a plus or sack of smoking tobacco, or a pair of overalls or shoes, sugar, coffee and stuff like that. Most folk were poor and raised what they ate, canning for the winter. The folk who had, went into Jasper about twenty miles and bought at the Piggly Wiggly or Kroger store where things were a little cheaper and those big stores had a much bigger inventory. It served us fine as I went to town two or three times a year, whereas Bessie my wife she went every day since she had a job at the country hospital. Folks hereabouts laughed at me, fer I was the local preacher and a cropper, plus I taught school and even though I drove a mule team with a wagon, folks said I was not local since I had a car and me and my wife had finished school and gone to college

© By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)







There was a time when horsepower meant exactly that.

A station wagon was a wagon that went to the train station.

Your children were expected to do the same work that you did.

School was a place you went when there was no work to be done at home.

One closet was considered a large extravagance.

Indoor plumbing was the pump handle on the kitchen sink.

A fancy outhouse was the height of style and grace, crescent moon cutout on the door.

A bakery was your kitchen.

A restaurant was your kitchen.

An Emergency Room....your kitchen.

A confessional...Yup. Kitchen.


Frozen food was forgetting you put the pie on the window sill to cool off, and it snowed.

Fast food...depending on who was catching and plucking the chicken.

Times have changed and I don't know if we could go back and live happily ever after without the things we are used to having.

Some will swear that they can....I'm not one of them!

My Grandma thought that the wringer washer she had was one of the most fantastic marvels of the world. She was also a bit scared of using the electric iron. She was convinced that it would make the clothes capable of electrocuting the wearer.

Me....? I am a proud Techno-'Hooer'. If it makes my life easier I am all in favor of it!

© By Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)







It was not just an old country store, but the meeting place, and center of this end of the county, with the exception of the church. A dilapidated old frame building, rusting roof, and the clapboard never seeing paint.

It had been built just after the big war, by old man Silas Jennings. They had found some field rocks, he laid them out and the beams laid on them; that was and still is the old store's foundation, so if it looks a little lopsided, it is.

A plug of tobacco, a needle and thread, overalls, flour . . . . and even a gas tank for the new fangled cars. Twernt many cars about until after WW II, but there were tractors and it was not odd at all to see a team and wagon drive up and fill some five gallon cans, then stick a corn cob in the top and drive back to feed the equipment.

Days of old, days of nostalgia, things an old country boy still remembers; is how I felt when I went back to settle some business after a couple passing overs in the family. I pulled up and looked, still no electricity, still the two, two holers out back and the rickety steps up the back side cause they still lived here. I walked in and looked about; things had changed, the candy counter was gone and a rack filled with tater chips and peanuts. They now sell sneakers and I did not see one pair of bib overalls.

There were only three boxes with cuts of tobacco but there were a few twists of chaw hanging from a string. There was a drink box with a chunk of ice in it and half a watermelon. I grinned, “How about a slice of this here watermelon I said to the middle aged woman behind the counter.

“Dollar or two dollar slice,” she asked as she walked around the counter carrying a long butcher knife.

“Dollar and two dollars for a slice of melon, heck I used to buy a melon here for a quarter and when they went to fifty cents we thought it was high way robbery,” I said as I kept looking about. The lady stopped, “Two slice please maam.”

She lifted the melon out of the ice water and sliced me a piece, long ways. “Salt,” she asked, I nodded.

“Thank you maam,” I said as I took the salt shaker and the slice of watermelon out on the front porch, salted it and began to eat, spitting seeds.

In a couple minutes a boy rode up on an old mule, just a halter on it, “Melon any good?”

“Shore is, cold and sweet, man it is good,” I said as he jumped down and walked inside. Soon he was back; he stood beside me, “See that white rock, bet you a quarter you can’t spit a seed and hit it,” he said.

I laughed, for in my day I was pretty good at spitting watermelon seeds for distance. “One hit but I get three tries,” I asked.

He nodded and I took three shots and did not come close; I handed him a quarter, “Quarter says you can’t hit it,” I says as the boy grins and first try hits the small white stone dead on, I pay up.

“Half dollar says you can’t reach that tire mark out there beyond the white rock,” He says. Again I lose but after seven more tries I finally get one seed into the tire rut. Then it was betting he could not hit this and that, each time I lost. I was down nearly twenty bucks, but I was having a ball.

I stopped and looked at the boy, “Who your daddy be, where you live boy,” I asked in the local dialect.

“Boots Dahler, my daddy was big boots, ran the saw mill and I live over next to reedy creek, just past the old mill,” he said.

“You dirty Dahler’s boy, lord no wonder you can spit watermelon seeds so well. He used to be the county watermelon seed spitter for seven years in a row,” I said.

The boy laughed, “No sir, he won it 24 years in a row and I beat him the other year.” He extended his hand, “And who you be, you from around here and done gone city?”

“I am, er . . , no you tell your daddy that Skillet said howdy,” I said with a laugh as I shook the boy’s hand and headed back toward the main road and what I knew now as civilization.

© By Tom (TOMWYO@aol.com)







Now, look, folks. See that old house. We'll stop there now so you can drink one of those Coca Colas they're so proud of. That old house hasn't always been decorated like that. The Louisiana Historical Barn Society raised enough cane that everything must drive around it. It is sacred! And it is also in the middle of Mr. Perry's property. That big sign says "Perry's" now - that was part of the big settlement with the Historical Barn Society, but it hasn't always been Perry's. It was once the hub of Kings Town. Back in nineteen ought three, there was a tornado the size of which there had never been and never been since. The whole town blew down! All except this one structure. And a miracle happened here. Bessie Lou was in childbirth, and her babe's first cry heralded that terrible tornado. That tornado did what the folks of Kings Town wouldn't do. They didn't spare Bessie Lou. Poor Bessie had fallen in love with a drifter man, and though he rode away, Bessie had to stay and face the jeers and sneers of the community as she grew larger with his child. Poor Bessie had no where to go for she had been begging from door to door - bent and helpless, sleeping on the ground at the edge of Kings Town. She had wandered into the place where everyone met, the hub of the beginning little city when her babe decided to be born. Even those who jeered would not shove her out in the storm. The little wood barn-like store was warm. The big sign across the top said Kings Town. There was a baby boy born by the pot- bellied stove on the counter by the pickle barrel. His little head even touched the hoop of cheese for the old hay farmers to whack while they settled the world's politics right there in Kings Town.

The lady who ran the store, Josie May, was a fat and lovable sort. She never joined in with those snooty jeerers who had nothing better to do than to ridicule Bessie Lou. Her first act was to help little Perry enter the world, and in her compassion, cut a piece from her softest bolt of flannel to wrap him. She smoothed Bessie's head and said "Your baby is a special child." When the storm settled down and all looked around there was nothing - nothing standing in Kings Town - just the little wood store. Everyone who was there stayed there to try to begin again. Little Perry and his mama had a family of survivors. And survive he did, too. He grew in that little store, and owned lands galore, then National Agriculture wanted to bull doze it down. That's when the Historical ladies balked and bought enough ground to make it safe. Perry asked one thing only. That he could replace the Kings Town sign with "Perry's." Now you all get rested, buy a coke and some souveniers. You have 30 minutes to get back on the bus to the Plantation that Won a War.

© By Norma (Twi1ite@sbcglobal.net)





 


 



Watch these pages for more poems by Sharon, Tom, Swampetta, and Norma.
In the meantime, click the links below for
poems and stories by our other authors.


A Premonition

The Bag

Cattitude

The Magnolia Tree

Jack And Eddie

Flag Day, June 14

Imitation Lady

My Mouse Friend

Sukieann



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Graphics by Marilyn
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The artist of the "Perry Store" painting is Bill Burkett.