After my Uncle El died in 1962, my father bought the old country store from his estate. It was and still is located directly across the street from our house (one of the corners of Windham’s Crossroads.) I immediately had a job for the rest of the time I lived at home. There was no pay, but it was all the hot sausage or pickled eggs I could eat. Oh, I almost forgot the small bottled Cokes filled with a pack of peanuts.
I was 12 years old, but I could pump you $5.00 worth of gas (I think it was 29.9 a gallon then), check your oil and wash your windshield. Then go inside and slice you a pound of bologna and cut you a slab of hoop cheese to go on the Saltines you just bought for lunch. If you gave me a ten dollar bill, I would correctly count your change back to you. Have you ever noticed that clerks can’t do that anymore?
My father would open at 6am with what he called his coffee mess. The local farmers would stop by for a cup of coffee and cure all the problems in the world. If you needed to know what was going on around Darlington County, you could catch up with current events in about 5 minutes and two cups of coffee.
I usually worked after school until we closed at 9pm. I have great memories of the old store. I know most of you have stopped at a store just like it sometime in your life. There must be one at just about every crossroads in America. Let me know where you shopped and who the kid was that cut your bologna and pumped your gas.
By the way, we sold the store a few years ago and it is still open across the street. They are using my mother’s recipe for hot dog chili and it’s the best hot dog in Darlington County. And the parking lot is full at 7 am if you’d like to stop by and have a cup of coffee and cure what’s wrong with America.