Monday, January 10, 2011

A Grocery of Our Own

"I'll just run to the store." How often have I said those words? I hop into the car and dash to the grocery store. The weatherman forecasts that we will have four inches of snow.  Again, I hop into the car dashing to the store to stock up on food.

Many years ago we had a storm heading to our area. Already the wind had arrived. Trees were down and the power was out. Cars were packed solid on the roads, drivers trying to get home before the bulk of the storm arrived. I dashed to the store....along with everyone else in town. Shelves were rapidly clearing. With the power out, freezers were thawing. Cash registers were down with cashiers reverting to the old methods. Candles were gone. Firewood was dwindling. Canned goods filled the shoppers arms.

We never dashed to the store on Neff Road. We never worried that there would not be enough food or wood. We knew that we would not go hungry.

I'm not sure why the fruit room was called the 'fruit room'. Perhaps it was a portion of the basement that once was a root cellar. Perhaps it got its name from the canned fruit that Mom lined up on the shelves along with her pickles. Our grocery store was in the basement.

I don't remember a time that the fruit room wasn't stocked with rows and rows of canned goods, paper items and an assundry of other items we just might need. Mom often sent her girls to the basement to fetch something. We grew up with the familiar sound of the swinging door of the fruit room opening and closing.

I remember when Mom and Dad got the freezer. It was a good day on the farm. Mom made pie crusts and noodles freezing them long before they were found frozen in the stores. Dad butchered beef filling the freezer with protein wrapped in white, paper packages. Vegetables from our garden were there for those cold winter days.

Eggs were as close as the chicken house as was fresh chicken. At one time, milk was available with a walk across the lawn. We lived in our grocery store.

Dad always had firewood chopped and stacked at the back of the house. We knew that when the power went out, we would still be warm. Hot dogs and fish from the freezer would give the Loxley family a warm meal.

How many times did we go down those stairs to our 'store'? What transitions took place on the shelves over the years? Later grandkids did the running for a bag of potato chips or a box of pizza dough. New products replaced the old yet the room was never empty.

Once in awhile a mouse would find its way into the little room of shelves. Dashing to the fruit room held a small amount of terror. I would stand outside the door gathering my courage then quickly push the door open, pull the string to turn on the light and grab whatever Mom had sent me to retrieve. Yes, the mice knew that the coffers were full.

In the house back the lane, the store was always open.

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