If you will remember, I posted a while back about our family not having a car when I was little. This was somewhat troublesome for us, because Daddy had to ride with his brother to work at the cream station on Saturdays. Since Mama didn't drive, whenever she needed to go into town, she and the girls had to ride in with the men and spend the day, waiting until they got off from work. So our day could have gone something like this:
The streets were always busy on Saturday mornings. Folks had come from far and near and visited with people they hadn't seen for a while. On the courthouse square, a preacher had parked his car, with loud speakers attached to the top, and now he could be heard for several blocks. Few people stopped to actually listen but now and then there might be some old men, leaning up against a store front, cigarettes in hand, listening but not understanding.
Today Mama took the girls shopping for new school shoes for Wanda. "Would you like an oxford or a slip-on?" the clerk asked, and Mama told her we'd take an oxford. Wanda wanted a pair of slip-on shoes. She had always had "good, durable" shoes, but when she stood in front of the little mirror on the floor, and pointed her toe and turned her foot to one side, she had to agree, the shoe did look nice. Mama paid for the shoes and asked, "Now, how can we spend the rest of the day?"
Charlotte was hungry, so Mama bought some crackers and a few slices of cheese for their lunch, and when Mama suggested they sit on the steps of a church building, Wanda was embarrassed. "No Mama! Let's go eat in the car or inside the cream station. Some of my friends might pass by and see us here!"
"I don't want to eat in there," said Charlotte. "It stinks like steamy milk!"
Mama said there was nothing wrong with friends seeing us there, and anyway, the day was so pretty it would be like having a picnic. So Wanda ate quickly and waited for Mama and Charlotte to finish. Mama combed their hair and took them up the steep flight of stairs to Anderson's Photography Studio to have their picture made. Afterward she counted the change in her coin purse and said there was enough to buy tickets to see a movie. The lobby smelled like fresh popped corn and they bought one bag to share. Charlotte soon fell asleep and before she knew what had happened, Mama was waking her up. "The movie is over. Let's go meet Daddy and go home. The old milk cow will be waiting at the barn for me."
A lot has changed around the courthouse square since those days. A few fires took out some of the old buildings which were replaced with big, modern ones. With the arrival of Wal Mart, businesses like the Sterlings store and the Ben Franklin store closed completely as new business owners felt the need to be in the shadow of the giant and moved off of main street. But I miss meeting up with people I know and having a little chat while I'm shopping; too much hustle and bustle for me now and I hardly ever see anyone I know when I go to town.
Has your town migrated from the town square to be near a Wal Mart store? Do you remember the crowded streets on Saturday mornings? I'd love to have you tell me about your town.