if the character I remember yet existed that would be a completely different story. Old general stores. Get anything. Groceries to jeans to guitar strings to bottle rockets to candy bars, gas, hams, ice cream sandwiches, beer, hammers, nails, … sit on the worn bench with a scratched bottle of Coca-cola and a Hershey’s or a bag Wise potato chips or Tom’s cheese crackers, and wait to see if a train would go by; but that’s all gone; I think of three stores like that, I used to know, and love, and the whole feel – they’re all gone. The same roads go through but there’s nothing there anymore. No life, no character, no old-timers shooting the shit with the smell of gasoline tinging the hot humid air; gone, mostly, gone; a few left but they’ll be gone soon, and with no one to fill their shoes.
The Real Thing Rural. That’s what it was. Touched with lots of the surreal. But nobody would’ve said that word, Surreal because it wasn’t surreal but life as it was. I wasn’t born there but I was raised there. Didn’t pick up the speech and I’m sure they’d never consider me of them. But being there from such an early age I know the breath of that land’s soul went into me and mixed with my blood, so in a way I feel those are my truest roots if I have any such thing. And when I write it’s the voice of those long gone old-timers I hear though it is my own though I wouldn’t speak such a way in daily speech.
And what I love about this place I’m in now is that there are reminders of what was lost back home. All the little stores. The people out and about, visiting. Greetings accented with cordiality. When the wife brings home some of those hams and bacons and I smell them there is no other memory I am reminded of than the smell in those old general stores where I grew up that have been eradicated.