I've been stopping in more at Crow-Mart. It's a place where I can hear some of the local scuttlebutt - the news before it becomes official. Sometimes it turns out to be officially true; sometimes it's never substantiated. It's part of what sustains small towns.
I enjoy the staff and the hanger-outers, and some of them double for both roles. I enjoy the shoppers.
I also enjoy the location. It's one of the former location's of Red's IGA, and although I put in my service at the store that stood beside the old Soperton Pharmacy, this one still reminds be of the experience and what I learned there.
I can still see those cured hams and shoulders hanging in the front window. I remember the locally-built plywood counter, under which stood the tiny little safe where the money was kept. It was small enough that burglars took it one night - the entire safe - and several years later hunters found it in the woods, open and all the money gone.
Recently I found some people who were passing through, and they had bought some refrigerated cured meat from Piglet. Back in the old days, nobody worried about food poisoning from unrefrigerated cure meat. Today it's different. As the couple couldn't find a cooler to keep their provisions on the journey back to Alabama, I remembered my old cooler at home, which was cracked on the outside, but still serviceable. I had won it as a door prize at a Lions Club district meeting over 20 years ago. There was some sentiment attached, but the couple needed it more.
They went on their way, happy and appreciative, and I had a lot of satisfaction in remembering my roots. It wasn't unusual. We just do things that way in small towns.