Thursday, March 09, 2006

Goin' to the Country Store

My world back then was very small, about a thirty mile radius, but it seemed vast to me. I loved to watch the garden and crops mature. I would dream of finding huge radishes in the garden after season when no one knew they were there.

Sometimes I would dream of our little grocery store. The keeper there always gave us much more candy than five cents or three eggs paid for. I would sometimes dream that the store was on fire and the keeper would tell us that we could have whatever we could get out. I had to choose between candy and bolts of cloth for clothes.

This store was where we bought most of our "yard goods," as we called it. We took chickens or eggs to the store to trade for merchandise. Often my mamma would say, "You can have three eggs or the change for candy or gum."

Once I had enough change to get a pound box of raisins and a small box of crackers. I decided I would have a real treat - I would eat them all before I got home. So I walked a little way from the store to the big oak tree where we rested many times. I sat down and began eating raisins and crackers, but I could not nearly eat all of them I soon found out.

We were taught to share equally, everything from a stick of peppermint to an orange. But this time I was going to break training and be selfish. So I sneaked in my goodies and hid them in my private dresser drawer. (We all had a special place for our things, which was not to be bothered by anyone else.) Then for several days I would take out a few of the goodies and eat them on my way to the outhouse.

We used the school outhouse before and after school since we had never had an outhouse. At this time we had what we called "hockey hollow." The boys went one way and the girls another. We got off the path very cautiously.

We usually went two or three together and sort of talked while there. We never knew about toilet tissue. We used Sears catalogs, soft rags, or soft fuzzless leaves, being careful not to pick poison ivy leaves.