Join me on this imaginary visit back in time and inside this old, now-abandoned wooden storefront in the southern US.
It’s a warm, sunny, summer day. The road out front is quiet, and so is the landscape. There’s no breeze and the only sound is the low, persistent screech of cicadas in the trees. Even though it’s early, heatwaves are beginning to dance above the blacktop.
There’s not another person anywhere to be seen. A lazy dog ambles toward a shady spot to sleep.
The hardwood floorboards creak underfoot. A friendly welcome from the shopkeeper. Old men in caps and overalls play checkers in the corner, drinking RC Cola and Dr. Pepper from bottles. One of the gentlemen is holding a lit cigarette in his bent yellow fingers. A crackling broadcast from Memphis plays low on the radio — old-timey music.
Wooden crates stacked in the aisle hold bottles of Yoo-Hoo, or “chocolate pop” as the kids call it. Electric fans buzz in the background.
You browse grocery and pharmacy items; fabric, apparel, and notions; nylon stockings and hairspray for the ladies; smoking pipes and pipe tobacco for the gentlemen; ammunition for shotguns or deer rifles; assorted tools and farm supplies; and of course — candy, sodas, and snacks.
You pull an ice-cold Coca-Cola from the cooler and place it on the countertop. The clerk asks about your family and the cash register bell rings as he punches the keys. He smiles as he places your change into the palm of your hand. His shiny hair is tidy and combed back with plenty of Dapper Dan Pomade.
You step outside into the gathering heat, and the screen door squeaks as you ease it shut behind you, careful not to let it slam. At the roadside, you turn to see the building is abandoned, shabby, unpainted — empty except for decaying cardboard boxes, a few dusty old fixtures, odd assortments of timber and wooden pieces scattered across the floor; and the falling detritus of a rotting structure. Startled, you look at your own hands to see the chilled vintage Coke bottle and a shiny new Roosevelt dime dated 1950.
Thanks for reading!