My grandma lived with us till she passed away. We all called her little ma cause she was skinny as a rail but could handle her own. She was a firecracker when it came to certain things but she was a humble, God fearing woman. She surely believed in the power of prayer and shouting the house down every time she entered the church. She and daddy had it by themselves till he married mama since his brother had already married and left home.
After mama moved in little ma turned all the cooking over to mama and she liked her three meals a day. But she always tried to put a little money each month in the pot to keep food on the table and her little boxes of snuff. She never did draw much of a pension but each month when she got her little dab of money she always made sure to keep a little to go to the ten cent store. That's what people called the 5 & 10 store back then. It was actually called Lay's 5 & 10 store.
She knew mama needed to make a trip to town for a few monthly necessities and she would grab that head rag (head scarf) and tie it on her head for fear she'd take her death of cold. She'd also grab that little purse that she carried on her arm and away we'd go.
When we'd get there mama would tell us to stay close to her for fear if we followed little ma we'd get lost in the store. She knew that little ma would stop and talk to everyone there and never pay any mind to her surroundings. I'll never forget those old wooden floors and how they squeaked when we all walked through there. Squeak, squeak all the way to the back of the store and the smell of that fresh pop corn hit us smack -ka -dab in the face when we entered the store and our mouths started watering. We prayed really hard for some popcorn or candy before we left there.
They had so many tables filled with do dads and what knots plus plenty of shirts and clothes of all types among other things all stacked so neat on those big tables. And those ladies were always so busy making sure those clothes and other items were laying so neat. Mama always told us we better not break anything or we'd be in a whole heap of trouble. For the life of me, I've never seen so many breakables in my life. Of course, little ma always came away with a few more breakables like flower vases, dishes, etc. every time and the best part was she didn't pay over 10 cents or 50 cents for either one. I reckon she just loved flower vases and anything breakable.
After we'd spend an hour or what felt like two in that store she'd put her head scarf back on her head and ask mama if she was ever gonna get done. Mama had been done ten minutes after we'd entered the store. She was waiting on little ma to get tired of running her mouth and get her breakables. When mama got to the checkout she'd pay for her stuff she'd tell them she wanted a couple bags of that popcorn and boy did our eyes light up. It was just what we'd waited on and the smell had already about killed us by then. Little ma would check out her stuff and it took the store clerk forever cause she'd wrap every little breakable with an old newspaper before she bagged them up.
I tell you the truth when I say we loved going to the 10 cent store. But for the life of me we didn't know why little ma bought so many flower vases. We knew she always loved her roses and flowers and that was most likely the reason. We've still got some of them today in our families that she left behind. Daddy and mama just couldn't bring themselves to pack them away after we lost her that cold, snowy, winter day.
And just like little ma the 10 cent store is now gone as well but my memories are still fresh as the morning dew especially since the 20th of this month is the 58th anniversary of her death. And even though it's been that many years it seems like yesterday when she'd tie her head back up with that head rag and say, “I'll be rotten take if ye all don't beat all. I've been ready to go since I entered the store and here ye all are lolly gagging around just like always.”
She sure was a corker but oh how I miss those words today and going to the 10 cent store.
© Susie Swanson, 2018
In Memory of my grandma