Finding a country store#039;s life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2004

With all this talk about the new Wal-Mart coming to town and how far we are advancing, I go a little crazy sometimes and think back to my younger days when things were indeed simpler.

Growing up in Highland Home, I always looked forward to coming down to Midway and spending several weeks each summer with my grandmother.

During the summer months, it never failed that we would decide we wanted something from Midway Grocery or from Miss Alice Whiddon's store. So about 9 a.m. or whenever we would get up, I would meet up with my friends and off we would go either on foot or on bike to Midway. This distance is just over a mile but to a 10-year-old, it took forever. We couldn't ask my grandmother to take us because she didn't drive and all the other adults in the area were at work.

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Those were carefree days. We'd hoof it to Midway Grocery first where we would buy a cold drink and some candy. Mr. Leon Raybon would pick at us for walking about in the heat and he never tried to rush off this little gang for hanging out in front of his store.

Then, we'd walk just down the road to Whiddon's Grocery where we'd buy some type of snack and probably a drink again and we'd hang out in front of that store.

Sometimes we'd buy ice cream and have to rush to eat it in the hot summer sun.

After that we'd head home and would make it back just after the noon hour passed. We never had to worry about anyone bothering us and most likely our biggest worry was about some Dobermans we had to sneak past.

Those were the days. In each store, you could find just about anything you needed and if they didn't have it, they could get it for you whether it was PVC pipe to charcoal.

Now, Midway Grocery is closed and gone. Miss Alice's store is also closed and two centers of activity for this community are no more.

I admire country store owners a great deal. They are truly a bit of Americana that is much removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, if you hang out around one long enough you'll see plenty of activity.

So no matter if you visit Bush's, Heartland, A & M, Lloyd's, Corner Stop, Myrick's, T & W or Country One-Stop, thank the person working behind the counter for sticking around. Because when they're gone, you'll realize just how convenient they truly made your life.

I wish I could feel that sense of peace and contentment I felt sitting in front of one of those two stores from my youth. Amazingly, our whole world would pass by and we never truly appreciated it until it was gone.