Friday, January 25, 2013

A Soft Spot for Hardware

I believe the affinity I have for variety and hardware stores goes back to my little girl days

Back then, (nay, I say WAY back then), a trip to Blalock's Five and Dime and the local hardware store, meant accompanying my Dad on an errand that would usually end up with me adding something to my material goods.  Even though my Dad knew how much I loved Blalock's, I believe he also loved the simple glitz of the colorful, inexpensive goods that overwhelmed the small space.

Shiny things that drew this little girl eye, were everywhere.  I remember one bountiful year, that my only birthday request, was to spend my birthday money at Blalock's.  I can still remember the topaz 'ring' that I purchased, the leather bag for my jacks, and the pencils and pens I bought that day.  I remember the smells of that divine place as if I just left there - a crazy combination of bird seed, chocolate candy, old hardwood floors and yard goods. The candy counter was just the right height for my little self to go round and round, staring at the brilliant colors of the sugary offerings.  My Dad was quite the candy aficionado, so it wasn't too difficult to talk him into some small bag of yummies.

Years later, my own young family had the good fortune to be located near a honest to goodness variety store, full of the same wonderfulness.  Lots of little hikes with my little ones to indulge ourselves in it all.  My older children will still sigh when discussing all our trips to the neighborhood variety store.  Their last visit there with our neighbors, warranted a photo opportunity.  We all mourned when the small place closed.  Such is the unfortunate fate in this large scale world.

Imagine my excitement when we relocated to our present home and discovered that the local Ben Franklin/Ace Hardware was about the closest thing to my dearly departed variety stores as I would ever find!  Fabrics, kitchen ware, paint products and fake fruit!  I was determined to call it my own.

Living In a small town, you can imagine how much we all count on our friendly Ben/Ace.  Years ago, when caring for my ailing Dad, I would just wonder around in the cornucopia like aisles, enamored with the surprises around each corner.  Some days, I just needed to be away and focus on other things.  And one thing they are good at is Other Things.  Millions of items of every price range.

In a small town, a store like this becomes kinda an anchor, a shelter in the storm.  Next to the library, schools and market, an hardware store of this variety is essential.

Imagine my delight at now, in my retirement years, to be a part of all this!  Thinking that a job there required someone in the family dying, I half heartedly applied with my limited job experience.  Imagine my delight to be called to service despite my limitations.  Imagine my delight to be absorbed into the Ben/Ace family without so much a blip.  (Well, I'm assuming, of course!)  One week into my very scary relationship with cashier duty, I was approached by the owner's daughter who said this to me, 'Now, you do understand that we are a family here, right?  You do understand that if you need anything, time off for family things etc, you are only to ask.  Please let us know that we are flexible and want to know if there is anything we can do for you.  We help each other that way.'

If only she knew how scared I was.  Not just working after a 34 year absence, but my mortal fear of messing up or causing a problem.  Or something.  I just was terrified.  Until she shared that with me.  I believed her.  After all, who could be in charge of all that loveliness not be a kindred spirit who understood how I felt?

Wouldn't my dad be tickled by this turn of events?  That the places that we had our best dates and service, I am now involved in a very real way with very real people.  He would love it.

And so do I.....

1 comment:

  1. And so do I!!!!! When I think of you working (esp at Ace) it makes my heart smile! So happy for you... Grandpa would be so proud!!!!

    Btw... your photography skills are OFF.THE.HOOK!!!!!!!

    Good job Mama!!!!!


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