This blog is for all who desire to create with words and images.
You are encouraged to participate in any way that is meaningful to you.

~
All prompts beneath the photos are only suggestions.
You are free to use the photo to be inspired to write any way you desire.
~
There is no deadline on posting,
you may offer your writing to any prompt anytime.
~
Write and you are a writer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Store

Photo by Dan Felstead
Wood and Pixels Narratives - http://www.woodandpixels.blogspot.com/
ETSY Shop: Wood andPixels - http://www.woodandpixels.etsy.com/
~
Suggested Prompt...
~
Write a story or poem set in this country store.

_______________________

Today the seats are vacant. Tom and Billy are probably playing in heaven as I write. Looking on down on this old home from home.

For nigh on seventy years, rain or shine, they'd turn up bang on nine thirty, and ask for the checkers from behind the counter.

Without fail they would ask after my health, and the family, and I'd return the compliment. I'd bring out a pot of coffee at eleven, and some of last night's pie, or some flapjack.

They'd each slip their teeth from their pockets to do justice to my offerings, then discretely slip them away again. I never commented, why should I?

They left at one, each going in a different direction for their lunch. Before they left, they'd each buy a twist of sweets to tide them over til the next day. They'd reminisce about days gone by, and how the scents in the store took them back throough the years. Somehow they came up with a different recollection every day. I know their childhoods as well as I know my own.

I miss them, things aren't the same any more. I'm retiring soon, and my son's taking over. I've heard him talking to his wife about the "improvements" he's planning.

The place won't be the same. All the old character will disappear, like snow with the melt. I'll diappear soon, too. Maybe I'll meet up with Billy and Tom, and catch a game of checkers. We'll see.

christine
One week after the photo or picture is posted I will pick one offering to put beneath the image. This is a way of celebrating exceptional creativity. Any and all posts are available for your creative mind to make an offering at any time (even ones where a writing has been placed on the front page like this one). If you are new here and want to offer to every image here, feel free. We are writers, WRITE! If this is your exceptional writing posted here on the Front Page Pictures, Poetry & Prose invites you to include the Exceptional Writing Award Button on your blog. Visit the Exceptional Writing Award post for the details and the button to download.

11 comments:

Merriam said...

Closing my eyes, I inhale the mingling scents . . . of new leather, wood polish . . . clean cloth, glazed clay . . . cornhusks, cinnamon candles . . . . The store is empty, yet full of bustling life, and full of treasures, old and new, waiting to be unearthed.

Dan Felstead said...

Great description Merriam! That is exactly the experience...the scents are the best.

Dan

Kate said...

Once, this old barn was just some bushels of apples placed on top of empty ones, with a sign by the road, and a tin money box.
Then I started growing asparagus and beans and Grandpa started collecting hazelnuts from the trees. We sold that too.
Now, I sit here waiting for the store to open for the morning, and I can't believe how much it's grown. I remember sticking gingham-y contact paper to the walls, when we couldn't afford wall paper, and hanging dried corn stalks from the rafters. I remember knowing every customer by name, and knowing their kids' favorite candies. Once, it still smelled musty, like a barn, soaked in the smell of cold apples and leaves and hay. Those smells have been replaced by the smell of Yankee candles and varnish and pies: all good smells, but not barn smells.
Now, of course, the barn is the only one left around here, and the houses popped up like little stalks of asparagus, and the people came, commenting on how cute and quaint our little barn store was.
In a few minutes, this place will be buzzing with people looking to fill their homes with things from a past era, and when they ask how much the checker table costs, I will tell them, "it's not for sale, but feel free to sit and play a game." And they will wrinkle their foreheads and say, "play checkers in a store? I have other errands to run..."

Merriam said...

Thanks, Dan!

~ Denise ~ said...

It was always the table that really drew us in.

Jimmy and I would race to the store, bright and early every Saturday morning, in hopes of being the first ones to the table. We'd reach the well worn chairs and shimmy ourselves right in to begin the competition.

We'd set up our checkers just like Grandpa taught us to do and then hunker down in all of the seriousness that 8-year-olds could muster up.

Round after round and win after win we'd have the best morning of our week right there in that old country store.

We had a simple childhood... but it was full of black and red fun complete with a town small enough to still be kids in.

Those were my kind of days. ;)

christine said...

Today the seats are vacant. Tom and Billy are probably playing in heaven as I write. Looking on down on this old home from home.

For nigh on seventy years, rain or shine, they'd turn up bang on nine thirty, and ask for the checkers from behind the counter.

Without fail they would ask after my health, and the family, and I'd return the compliment. I'd bring out a pot of coffee at eleven, and some of last night's pie, or some flapjack.

They'd each slip their teeth from their pockets to do justice to my offerings, then discretely slip them away again. I never commented, why should I?

They left at one, each going in a different direction for their lunch. Before they left, they'd each buy a twist of sweets to tide them over til the next day. They'd reminisce about days gone by, and how the scents in the store took them back throough the years. Somehow they came up with a different recollection every day. I know their childhoods as well as I know my own.

I miss them, things aren't the same any more. I'm retiring soon, and my son's taking over. I've heard him talking to his wife about the "improvements" he's planning.

The place won't be the same. All the old character will disappear, like snow with the melt. I'll diappear soon, too. Maybe I'll meet up with Billy and Tom, and catch a game of checkers. We'll see.

Dani said...

Christine! That was beautiful!

June Freaking Cleaver said...

Timing is Everything

As I dusted the knickknacks in my grandparents' living room, I thought about the mother lode of candy that I would buy with the shiny quarter I earned.

My brother and I went to Mr. Moulshin's store every Friday those summers, after our single chore was done.

We'd run from the house, giddy with dreams of Lik-M-Aid, Zero bars, jawbreakers and Tootsie Rolls.

We'd walk along the abandoned railroad tracks, careful not to get a foot stuck in the trestle over Sewickley Creek.

This was when penny candy was a penny; we could fill a small paper sack (Grandpap always called that sack a 'poke') with fifty cents' worth of candy.

The screen door to the store squeaked slightly at the same time the little bell jingled as we entered. The store mascot, a geriatric Chihuahua, yipped an enthusiastic 'hello', then ran behind the counter, his toenails clicking on the worn hardwood floors.

Merchandise hung from the ceiling and filled the small storefront. But my brother and I barely noticed that "grownup" stuff. We honed in on the ice cream freezer and the glass-fronted candy case.

Mr. Moulshin nodded to us in greeting, and rose from his stool only when he sensed that we were ready to have him remove the candy from its shelves.

We timed these trips carefully - if you turned up at the steps of the store in early afternoon, you were met with the dreaded note on the door:

Store Closed for Nap
Come Back at 3pm.

christine said...

Thank you, Dan, how sweet of you to say so :-) No-one's ever said that to me before!

glnroz said...

Three slices of pickle loaf, sliced pretty thick.
I’ll take a good size chunk of that yeller hoop cheese.
And a couple of those hard boiled eggs.
No, I‘ll eat out front, on the bench, if you please.

How you, Buck? I’ll need some nails, ‘fore I go
How’re the kids? The misses too, good today?
Not much happening, across the creek
Down in Dog Neck, over our way.

What’s this now? Processed Ham, What?
Blister pack magic, sliced razor thin
I don’t want this crap now or ever,
I just want to stop by Buck’s Store, once again.


Can you go to prison for impersonating a poet?

Dani said...

Have you ever met your guardian angel? Really met her? I have. I have always remembered that place and longed to return to it ever since.

It was back in my college days. I was in the middle of nowhere and my stomach was growling. I had been on the road since the previous morning, on the way across the states to visit a friend back east. It was a sparatic decision I'd made to go. One day I was sitting around in my apartment feeling lonesome, and the next my bags were packed and I loaded the car up with my belongings and headed out on the open road.

My last granola bar was eaten before noon that day and I knew now was the time to break out my stash of cash. I'd been saving this wad of bills for about a year in anticipation for a rainy day. I thought about the rolled-up bundle in the glove box. I'd added to it almost every day if I could. Honestly, I hadn't even thought to count it yet.

My stomach growled and I remember looking around at the sparse view. I thought I would have to wait awhile before getting anywhere I could spend some money on something to eat. I was still lonesome. Somehow I thought driving across the states would make me feel better. It only succeeded in making my heart hurt more.

But then something down the road caught my eye. A shack? No, it was a little store. I wondered what was it doing way out there. As it got closer I noticed a sign that read "MaryLou's" in big red letters. "We've got everything." That's quite confident, I thought.

When I went inside I was greeted with a lovely warm mixture of scents, somehow familiar. I closed my eyes, it felt natural. I picked out some of the scents I recognized: cinnamon, apple cider, new leather, cedar, and some other kind of spice... rosemary?

"Can I help you?" a woman with a curly, unruly hair was approaching from the back of the store. She wiped her hands on an apron she was wearing and had flour smeared across her face. I smiled at her unconsciously. It felt like home here in a way. I had missed the feeling for too long. She watched me for a moment and then asked, "You want a piece of fresh peach pie?"

"Sure."

The hours slipped by there in the store unnoticed. I'm not sure what kind of spell I was under, but the store had some magic to it. So did MaryLou. She chatted with me about several different things, her children, long grown and gone, her love "passed to a better place" as she called it. I was mainly quiet, but comfortable. She never prodded me for information about myself and I liked it that way. I shared things with her when I wanted to. It was a new freedom to have a conversation like that. I didn't want to leave and she didn't make me. It grew dark and I slept there in the back of the store where she made up a cot for me. It was so kind of her.

The next day she helped me load a bunch of things into my car. She insisted. I handed her some of my cash and she accepted graciously. But then after driving about an hour, I spotted the cash I'd given her sitting on the seat next to me. I shook my head in awe. How did that woman survive?

That's a question I've had on my mind ever since. On the drive back home I took the exact same route, to be sure to stop in and see MaryLou again. But her shop wasn't there. I never came across "MaryLou's" again. I've wondered about it and longed for it ever since.

Yet somehow it didn't surprise me. It was a magical place. That's why I say my guardian angel's name is MaryLou, the one that's got everything.