Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Why, yes. Yes, I am," I always say.

These photos are taken each over a decade apart.
Lucas Grocery was a defining part of Lincoln county, West Virginia for half a century. Off Rt. 10, no one could have driven that route and failed to know his store.
Tiny Lucas, my father, and his sister, Peep, are characters generations to come will talk about: always remembered fondly and missed deeply and never understood completely.
The person I am, the person I feel satisfied with and am happy to be, is partly shaped because this little block building exists.
I miss it, everything it stood for and those who worked inside: I miss the patrons, the signs that covered it, the bread and milk men, the lady who brought "illegal" buttermilk to sell and the fellows delivering newspapers.
I miss the "Tarpin" man (who rescued turtles from the road), "Clydee" and my uncle Virgil.
I miss the time we knew where such a store could thrive and be loved. A store that somehow survived without running water or air conditioning.
I miss the man inside who made Lucas Grocery what we knew it to be. The man who found whatever a customer needed for 50 years. The man who was grouchy and didn't like people, who failed to laugh at much beyond a kitten or guinea fowl now and again, who taped his shoes and had exceptionally wild white hair he let grow too long more often than not. . . who said, "My, my. . .you see?" more than anything else and had "no high days". . . who passed on 50% of the genetics that make me fair on the eyes with a decided wrinkle between the brows I can do little about. . .
No matter where I go, someone stops to say, "You're a girl of Tiny's, aren't you."
He had a lot of those. I'm glad to be one, and really, in a line up, you'd know where I belong.

"Why, yes. Yes, I am," I always say.



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington