I refer to citizens who cannot find anything good about the U.S.A. Before I go any further, I also have complaints, but when I count the value of U.S. citizenship I cease my mumbling and give thanks to God that I was born in America.
Saturday morning I went to a place of business to pick up an item or two. I had just gotten out of my truck and started to the door when a young man dressed in Army clothes approached the door and with a great smile opened the door and said, “How are you this morning, sir?”
I asked, “And how are you?”
His answer was, “I am great, could not be better thank you, sir.”
If I had been thinking a negative thought about my Country it would have passed. The same morning I heard a man fussing about too much traffic because the Guard was meeting. With no smile I told him he might have to depend on the Guard one day and that I hope he secured a better attitude toward these servants. He admitted I was right and I encouraged him to support the troops, those men and women who not only protect us but help us in so many ways.
Later on that day my wife and I found ourselves in a large store looking for a few items. There is no doubt that those items were in that store but finding them was another matter.
Visiting stores has really changed in my lifetime.
In the area of Calhoun County there were two kinds of stores that I visited often. The first one was a one-room store owned by Mr. Wash Henley. It was small with a limited inventory although that made little difference to us. My grandfather, Mr. Wash Edwards, watch it, two Wash’s about to clash, decided he needed a new boiler, a cooking utensil in which to boil vegetables and meats on the stove eye. I drove the old truck and Granddaddy to the store and apparently he figured how much he was going to spend as we traveled to the store. When we got to the store Mr. Henley had a boiler, which he called a stew boiler, and it was priced at 29-cents. Papa Wash said it was one he was looking for but announced it was worth 25-cents. Mr. Henley said 29-cents and finally they decided on 28-cents.
A deal was struck and I was overjoyed.
The other kind of store we were accustomed to in the country was the “rolling store.”
It was just what it was called. A truck with a large covered bed, and shelves for their goods to be displayed. With the roads being so rough only a display of the article might be on the shelf. The basics were carried on the store such as flour, meal, sugar, salt and pepper. The man took eggs as well as chickens for payment and eggs and chickens could be bought on the route.
There was an item that my cousin and I knew about but we did not advertise. It was a bag of North State Tobacco in a sack that tied at the top. Price – 25-cents and no arguing.
We saved up our money for a bag of North State as well as rolling papers. Then the tobacco companies came out with “already rolled” cigarettes. We could not get up enough money for those since they were a dollar per pack. Then they came out with a menthol cigarette. We really wanted that because, “It had to be good for a cold.”
We could not get the money so we began to think what could be the answer. The answer was simple.
Roll a cigarette from North State and mix Vick’s salve with it. The Vick’s began to melt when you got close to it with a match. The cigarette was a sight for sore eyes as the stuff dripped down. Our conclusion was it could not be smoked. For us the prize of the rolling store was the North State Smoking Tobacco.
Times have changed and our stores look a lot different.
Thank you for reading the column this week. Sorry that I have taught some bad examples but I imagine North State is no more.
Billy McCord is a retired school administrator and an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is Pastor of Shady Grove UM Church in Calhoun County and is President of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him at P.O. Box 337, Bruce, MS 38915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.