The next building of interest to me was the hardware. Other than the movie theater, the hardware was the largest building on Main Street. At that young age I had never heard the word cacophony. But that is the perfect word to describe the hardware. The cowbell at the door was the quietest sound in the store. I remember the sound of the scoop loads of nails, or nuts and bolts being tossed onto galvanized trays hanging from scales that screeched in protest of another load of hardware. Everything banged or clattered which made people raise their voices to get their message across. That had the net affect of causing other people to talk louder to be heard over the first folks. The sharp ring of the cashregister, as the drawer was opened, was at odds with the dull clunk of the cowbell as another person entered or left.
TO BE CONTINUED
Just before noon, we received a call from Kara. We now know the airline and flight number as well as time of arrival at the Austin airport.
We picked Kara up at the airport this evening. For as many vehicles coming in to unload and upload, it really went quite smoothly. There were only a few horn honkers. The vast majority of people were respectful of other drivers
Kara had not eaten since before noon. So, we stopped at Golden Chick and had some southern fried catfish for supper. Once we were back to the apartment, she took a shower and her dirty clothes were laundered.
Before bed, I spent about an hour taking online training for my position as Santa for my photo company employer this year. Good news … I aced all the quizzes. On years past, I was an independent contractor. This year I am am hourly employee. The total compensation should remain the same.
Heading on downhill on the south side of Main Street we come to the Feed Store. I was only in the store a couple of times because we had no livestock or pets. However, I remember that inside the display window, on occasions, there would be baby chickens. Going in the door you came immediately to the sales counter. Behind that counter were rows of shelves with bags and containers of various animal feeds. The air was loaded with a bouquet of grain scents mixed with the iodine from the stack of pinkish salt blocks. Outside to the east was a small vacant lot, maybe ten to twenty feet wide. It is hard to be certain because spaces always seemed bigger when I was smaller. The only remarkable feature of this space was a burn barrel where trash was disposed of. It is the nature of boys to poke around in such treasure troves as burn barrels. (Remind me to tell you of the one behind the locker) One such adventure I discovered dead chicks … except one wasn’t dead. I went inside the feed store and asked of I could have the one live baby chicken. I was told, “No, there was something wrong with them, which is why they are in the barrel.” Then he did a remarkable thing. He went to the window, scooped up a chick and put it in a box that had nice round holes in it. With a big grin, he handed me the box. I was very surprised but remembered to thank him. I made a beeline for home. (I’ll tell you the rest of that story later.)
Weather News Nicholas strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane just before making landfall near Matagorda, Texas at 12:30 a.m. CDT. Since making landfall, it has weakened back to a tropical storm. Pray for people caught in the storm. As of 8 a.m. today it was 165 miles from us. Though it dumped 4-6″ if rain along the coast, we received nothing and the week’s forecast contains zero rain chances for us.
CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY
Main Street began a thirty degree climb as it headed uphill past the Telephone office. The building was no bigger than a two holer outhouse. Inside sat the switchboard operator. Yep, when Mom made those calls to Short’s Grocery, she began by lifting the earpiece from the wall mounted wooden box and turned the hand-crank. In some mystical way that would let the telephone operator know that Mom wanted to make a call. The two of them would visit for awhile to get caught up on the latest gossip. Then my mother would say, “Let me have the grocers.” In that shoebox of a building, a long braided wire chord would be pulled out and plugged into the proper spot to make the phone in Short’s Groceries ring. It seemed more amazing to my young mind than Rocket Man flying through the air with a rocket strapped to his back.
While Ella did laundry this morning, Tom went to Wal-Mart to retrieve her medications and fill the truck with gasoline. And them I sold the aluminum cans for $6.75. The Money goes into the Grandies account.
CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY
Attached to Short’s was the Movie House. Yes, this tiny town was remarkable because every Saturday, during the summer, there were matinee movies. I sat through endless black and white serials such as Batman, Rocket Man, Captain Marvel (not the Marvel Comics version but the original that is now a DC Comics version known as Shazam), cowboys and Indians, jungle adventures, spies, and others. Each short episode ending with a cliffhanger. Heros were always heroes and bad guys always lost, but not until they had put the good guys in peril of their lives. There were evening movies also that parents could attend with their children.
Yes, groceries were purchased with the simple promise to pay for them later. There were no such things as credit cards in those days. There was no interest or surcharge, just a “gentleman’s agreement” to settle accounts when we could. Yes, I’m sure, everything was in a ledger somewhere. Groceries could also be delivered. Sometimes Mom would call and order them. But, even if she shopped in the store, she would have them delivered. Remember, we didn’t have a car and walking all the way up and down hills juggling paper sacks just wouldn’t have worked. An “errand boy” would arrive, sometime that day, on a bicycle or by car.
20 years after four coordinated terrorist attacks killed 2,977 people on American soil, We The People* remember 9/11/01.
*”We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY
Short’s Grocery is the next stop on our memory tour. Short’s was a regular stop on the way home from school. The only thing I can visualize of the outside building front is the large window. I loved that window because on the other side of that glass was a large deck or stage. I’m sure that it was designed to advertise the store’s content to the passersby. However, for my friends and I, it was where we lay sprawled in the sunshine, under the decorative debossed metal ceiling. There we would eagerly emerse ourselves in the latest comic book adventures. My favorite was Tarzan King of the Jungle. Sometimes we even bought the comics along with licorice whips Or rather, our parents did because the ten cents were added onto the running tab at the grocers.
Today’s devotional made a interesting point. Assuming most parents would likely sacrifice their own life to save their child. Now the question is would you sacrifice your child to save someone else? Would you sacrifice your child to save everyone? This is what the Father did by sending the Son to redeem the world.
We went to the Business Center on the second floor this morning. The two things I desired to accomplish was (one) find the WiFi password and (two) attempt to print something from the computer. I accomplished neither.
This morning we also went to the Movie Room. Currently the scheduled movies are put on hold. But anyone can load one of the movies available from the library or bring their own. I chose one from those available and loaded it into the player. I didn’t really want to watch the movie. I wanted to learn how to operate the equipment. It is very simple.
CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAYThere may have other buildings with other shops, but the next one that I remember is the barbershop where I was taken several times a year for a haircut. At the beginning of summer the hair came off in a butch cut leaving only short blond bristles. The hair was allowed to grow until the Fall of the year. Then, just before “Picture Day” at school, I would once again sit in that heavy chrome and black leather chair. A blanket sized bib was fastened in place a little too tightly around my neck. This time a suitable part was combed and trimmed into my hair. The sides trimmed close enough to make a drill sergeant proud. I was fascinated by the mirror that covered one wall above a shelf full of clippers, scissors, straight razors, jars and bottles of mysterious contents. The most mysterious of all was the large jar of blue liquid full if combs of different sizes and shapes. The scents here were vastly different from the Locker. The air smelled of perfumed powders and tonics. The floor of white octagon tiles littered with clumps of various colors of hair to be swept in a time between customers. I don’t remember the barber’s name nor even what he looked like, but I remember that he was far less chatty than others of his trade. Right down to business, snip, snip, buzz. TO BE CONTINUED
Today’s Upper Room devotional was entitled “Why Not You?” The opening sentences struck too close and too true. When I was quite young I was taken to speech therapy because of a slight stutter. I learned to slow my pace and allow myself to think it through before I spoke. Even today, when excited, I will stumble over my words. It hasn’t kept me from teaching and preaching the Good News of God’s love.
CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY Moving from the gas station on up Main Street was the cut-block front of the locker. The locker was where you brought your animal (cow, pig, sheep, goat, or deer) to be butchered. The various cuts of meat were then wrapped in white paper, sealed with tape and a label written with a grease pencil. Mom and I would visit the locker sometimes to purchase some of those white packages. I remember also the time she bought a whole cow’s skull. That was boiled down in a huge pot. The meat was then picked off and canned. It both fascinated me and disgusted me. The thing I remember most about the locker was how chilled it was. This was years before air conditioning. I also remember the bare, unvarnished, wood plank floor. The years had aged it to a dull almost grey dust color. There was a not unpleasant, pervading smell of cold, fresh, meat.
TO BE CONTINUED
“Shut that door. Are you trying do air condition the whole world?” Many a parent has said that to their children. According to a CNBC article by Katie Brigham on July 24th, “building operations, such as heating, cooling and lighting, account for 28% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Now that summer 2021 is on pace to be one of the hottest on record, global demand for air conditioning is skyrocketing. That creates a vicious cycle because air conditioning itself is a major contributor to global warming. It uses a massive amount of electricity, and can leak potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.” So, shut that door, you’re overheating the whole world!
It has been reported that Non-Covid patients are also dying because they can’t be admitted, there are no beds available, because they are occupied by Covid patients.
Prescott was a very small town in the hilly county of southwestern Iowa. The whole township covers less than half a mile. Currently has a population of slightly over 200 and at it’s heyday probably never topped 300. In the days when passenger trains still ran the rails, they would on rare occasions stop to disembark or load passengers at the small wooden depot, just down the hill from Grandpa’s house. Prescott was what was called a whistle-stop, just a small unimportant town along the railroad. An unassuming two lane highway twists around and over tree covered hills before crossing those railroad tracks and enters town from the South Southeast. The highway becomes Main Street as it passes over those rails and stops being a paved road only a few blocks into town. From there on main street remained unpaved. As I remember this town of my boyhood, coming into town the tiny white-painted brick gas station sat at an angle to the north. Not a service station. No repair work done here. I don’t think you could even get a soft drink, candy bar, or cigarettes. Mom didn’t have a car so I didn’t have reason to visit there. I do remember the sight of the single gas pump. As gas was pumped, it swirled around through a glass top with red balls that twirled like a propeller. I remember the ding ding of the bell as vehicles drove over a hose in the drive. Somehow the scent of sunbaked asphalt and hot oil accompanies my memories here. TO BE CONTINUED