Poetry of Kansas
 

The Old Country Store

Oh, the old country store with the candy jars in it,
   And the bag of green coffee that sat by the door;
The barrel of sorghum with plug driven in it,
   That leaked every hour a few drops on the floor.
The barrel of crackers with cover beside it,
   The cheese, where a patron could pilfer a bite.
The jugs and the jars with the straw in between
      them,
   When I was a boy 'twas a source of delight.
 
Piled up on the counter, the "hickory shirting"___
   A stripe and a plaid for the patrons to choose.
Some featherproof ticking, some ducking for
      "breeches,"
   Some calicos, ginghams, a few pairs of shoes,
A barrel of kraut never spoiled in the making,
   How good it did taste when I tiptoed a wee,
And the "gingersnap cookies" that came in the
      boxes,
   What a treat to have one of them given to me.
 
The old country store, what a charm to the young-
      ster
   The hogshead of sugar (sometimes mixed with
      sand),
And if I was there when the "store man" was
      opening,
   A lump of its sweetness was placed in my hand.
The coffee pots stood in a row on the shelving,
   The old iron boilers and tubs down below,
A can of gunpowder and shot for the hunters
   And the "waterproof" caps that ofttimes
      wouldn't go.
 
Oh, the old country store, what a joy there to visit
   With postoffice boxes, 'mong cobwebs galore,
That gave us the letters and papers on Monday,
   That rode in the mails for a fortnight or more.
Oh, never a city with street cars and bridges
   And viaducts, factories--yea, all of these,
Can e'er beat the store at the cross roads on
      Cow creek
   Where first I bought candy and crackers and
      cheese.

__Ed Blair.

Sunflower Siftings
Ed Blair
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)
Pages 125-126

 
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November 9, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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