Monday, March 15, 2010

Chronicles of a Life in Linden: The Country Store

The Country Store sold icees, stale coffee, those sugar-coated orange slices, and something called "potato logs," which my dad used to buy me for "dinner" when mom took night classes in Texarkana. You could buy gas there and you could count on it being overpriced, or, like the old men who hung out at the tables inside, you could treat it as a place to read the paper and buy black coffee and see your friends when the domino hall shut down. Primarily it was a spot for socializing.

Since it sat at the crossroads of 59 and the gateways to downtown, it was the ideal meeting place. The only problem is that no one really met there to go anywhere; the Country Store was the destination. It was a classless place: the dopesmokers, cheerleaders, rodeo-riders, nerds, freaks, and everyone in-between mingled there, and by mingled I mean that they stood on opposite sides of the parking lot and glared at one another. This so-called party would only be broken up by a fight, a curfew, sheer boredom, or a run to the county line for beer. As a girl with a perpetual twelve-year-old's face (or a judgmental goody goody reputation), I was almost never invited to the latter.

Miss Paula, who wasn't a "miss" at all and should, by Southern standards, never have been called by her first name, bought icees every morning of her life from the country store. She lived in the boonies -- yes, that's a real place -- but made the drive anyway and as far as I know never missed a day. Someone tried to buy her an icee machine once but she never used it. I never really understood the draw but now that I live in a place without a country store, maybe I do.

1 comment:

Buz said...

I remember that [nameless friend] decided to try a smokeless tobacco product for the first time at the Country Store. He swallowed the juice and immediately threw up in the parking lot. It was likely "potato logs."