Have you ever gone up to that little store at the corner? It’s the one with the wooden porch out front where those old duffers spend hours sitting and smoking and smiling at all the pretty girls who pass by. If you say “Hi” to them as you pass by on your way inside, I hope you have some time, because they’ll talk your ear off telling you about “the old days.” But if you do have a little time, grab a spot on the bench and prepare to be enthralled. This old guys have lived.
When you’re ready, head on inside. Push through the old wooden screen doors that will squeak on their hinges and slap-slap-slap closed behind you. It may take a minute for your eyes to adjust, but when they do, the first thing you’ll see is the old cooler filled with soda pop. Lift the lid, and reach inside. There is a lot to choose from: Yoo Hoo, Coke, Nehi Grape, Moxie. But grab yourself an RC Cola, frosty and dripping from sitting in the ice water. Pop the top from the bottle with the opener attached to the side of the cooler, and have a long swig of deliciousness. It’s hot outside, and after your walk down the street to get here, I know you’re thirsty. Then you should probably get yourself a moon pie from Mr. Jenkins there at the counter. He keeps them right by the register since so many folks ask for them.
As you wander around the store, walking on the bare wooden floor that creaks just a bit, you’ll find a little bit of a lot of things. You’ll see hardware and kitchen ware, toys and True Confessions, buttons and baubles. I always love looking at the bolts of fabric along the left wall, dreaming of the day I will learn to sew. After a few abortive projects, I’ve come to realize that’s never going to happen.
But the all-time best stuff is up front at the register. Because Mr. Jenkins doesn’t just have moon pies there, he has penny candy. What could be better than that moment of indecision, when you stand there with your dime and a whole world of choices laid out in front of you?
So the next time you’ve got nothing better to do, head on up to the little store on the corner. You’ll find your childhood there.