Monday, December 12, 2011

"The only place in town"

Today I was about 3 hours from home and I stopped to see a customer who lives in a small ghost town in NW Kansas. After leaving her house I drove around the block on the muddy street past a home that had goats in the backyard (in town) and there in front of me on the paved road was an old pre war gas station. Just the kind I like. I noticed a single light bulb burning like a beacon thru the window and as I pulled up I saw an old man in overalls sitting behind a very old wood roll top desk. His name is Norman and we hit it off right away. He is only open part of the time because he is 79 years old and has some health problems and told me that his place was the "only place in town to buy ANYTHING" ---ha ha. I loved the place and told him so. Seems it was a Chrysler-Dodge dealership that had closed in the great depression of the 1930's and then his dad bought it and ran it as a garage and gas station. Once my new friend Norman came home from the Korean war (stationed in Germany) in 1955 he stayed on to help Dad and has been there ever since

Talk about stepping back in time !!! This place had it all.......old worn wooden benches for loafers inside and out, old wooden showcases from a store, shelves with old parts, and of course an old stove keeping it warm right in the middle of it all. Soon a couple of local guys came in to sit and visit. Like Norman, they have lived in this community all their lives except for military service which in their case was the Vietnam war era. They were friendly too and seemed happy to see my interest in such an old place. I told them that places like this are almost extinct now and they agreed. Norm told me to look at the back of the room and he turned on more lights to reveal his "store". Pop machines, candy, and chips along with some cold beer. What more could you want? 

Then he took me out in the shop and turned on more lights so I could see the tire machine and the old lift, tools, tires, and yet another pop machine. 
Looking across the street near where I had parked was an old blacksmith shop that he also owns and still does some welding and repair for folks. He said it includes all the original tools, including a forge, planishing hammer, lathe, drills and so forth that are belt driven by a line shaft. He told me to come back on a warmer day and we would have a look over there. 

I loved the hand lettered signage on the building and Norman said his son painted that during his town's 100th celebration in 1987. Very cool indeed. 
By this time my 30 minute lunch break (with no food) was over and it was time for me to hit the road and begin the long journey home. I sure enjoyed my time there and hope to go back again. Sometimes the best days are the unplanned pleasant surprises.....just like today. So that was my Monday in December......I hope your's was good too. See you next time.

1 comment:

  1. it takes a loafer to know where the best warm seats are .. thanks for the ride