Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cobbled Streets

The small town has a one-of-a-kind name. I decided to look up the name to see what was said about this little town I love. Wow! It is the name of a novel, an album by Acoustic Alchemy, an album by an artist I don't know, a role-playing game, a comic book series, a computer game, the secret of the philosopher's stone in alchemy, a piece of music, a Catholic encyclical letter written by Pope Leo XIII in 1880 on the topic of Christian marriage, a black metal band (spelled with a ck), and seventh on the list....Arcanum, Ohio. The Free Dictionary and Merrium-Webster Dictionary define arcanum as a deep secret or mystery.

I went to the Arcanum site online. The first words to greet me were: Ohio's best kept secret. Obviously, the dictionaries have it right. For those of us who know the best kept secret, we know what a jewel this little town is to those who live around it. I was disappointed that the list of businesses was not up. I have been an Arcanum shopper since I was a child tagging along with Mom who shopped at Smith's Mercantile. When we came home to visit, the Loxley family always voted to eat at Huston's. We bought groceries at Sutton's and occasionally picked up a pizza while we were in town.

It was a little over 20 years ago when a November tornado hit Arcanum wreaking havoc and destruction. Many of the original homes were lost. Our friend Junior Shuff was eating at Huston's when the storm hit. He told us of the terror experienced as he hid beneath a table. The small town had been knocked to its knees. But true to the roots that tie us all together, everyone pitched in and put the town back together again. I still miss the old houses when I drive through town.

I will return to Darke County this summer. I will go Arcanum so I can have coffee at Smith's, visit the hardware store and stop at the Ben Franklin 5 and 10. I will look for familiar faces and bask in memories of days long ago. Arcanum is a mystery. It is a step back in time with the cobbled streets and old store fronts. You can almost hear the horses trotting down the street. In fact, you might actually see horses trotting down the street. Arcanum, you are home. Thank you for welcoming me again and again.

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