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Posts Tagged ‘country stores’

The country store is fast becoming a thing of the past. Gone are the days of old men playing checkers on the front porch, sipping 10-cent bottles of pop.  Gone are the days of farm children riding their bikes down dusty roads, change tucked safely in the pockets of their overalls for penny candy or a pickle from the barrel. Urban areas are spreading, supercenter stores sell cheaper, foreign-made goods and people stop in town for what they need on their way home from work. There are fewer farms and families are a lot smaller these days.  I grew up as a Town Girl and spent my young adulthood as a City Woman with a convenience store/gas station on every corner, so I never had the experience of living close to a real country store until I moved 16 miles from the nearest grocery store.  I’m not sure how my publisher will feel about me naming names, lest it be considered shameless advertising, so let’s just say that MY country store is located somewhere in the vicinity of Bowstring, Minnesota. The local men meet there every morning for coffee and gossip conversation. Since I know for certain that there are a couple of them who are younger than I am, I dare not compare them to the old men sitting around a checkerboard.  You would think a small country store would only carry a few convenience items and lottery tickets,  but I am always surprised at what they do have.  Old fashioned flypaper so I don’t have to spray insecticide in my chicken coop? Yep. Hooks and eyes for a barn door that won’t stay closed? That too, along with bait, tackle, hardware, wild bird food, groceries and sweatshirts for those vacationers that don’t realize that it can get mighty chilly here in middle of July. When I wanted to know what spices to use when canning venison, that’s where I went for advice.  They know where the fish are biting, what kind of bait to use, who shot the biggest buck and which neighbor has been sick.  The back of the door has hand written and computer-printed notices and items for sale. There is probably little profit in the gasoline that is sold there, but I know they have been awakened at midnight more than once to fill an empty tank. They don’t have everything, though. When my friend stopped in to buy nutmeg to finish a recipe, they didn’t have it. Not to worry, though, the owner just opened the connecting door to her house and gave her the bottle out of her own spice rack.  “Just drop it off next time you stop in,” she said.  That, my friends, is something that no supercenter store will ever give you:  Friendship, neighborliness, a sense of community and that warm comforting feeling of being home.

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