Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Market Day in Rural Kentucky

While exploring back roads recently in nearby Lincoln County, I happened across a quaint convenience store whose sign is pictured. Stepping inside, I asked the whiskered gent behind the counter how much he'd charge to tickle me with a feather until I begged for mercy. He was dialing the police as I squealed rubber out of his parking lot...

On a more serious note, the survival of independent stores is among the many enchantments of rural Kentucky.

Shortly before leaving northwest Georgia, I was dismayed by the closing of two local landmarks. The Country Store in Villanow is listed on the National Register of Historic places and is said to have been among the longest continually operating businesses in the state. Mad fluctuations in gasoline prices, which chain stores had resources to weather, forced the new owners to shutter the shop. Meanwhile, illness led the owner of the only store in Subligna to sell out as well. As far as I know, the former remains on the market. One may hope it will someday reopen. The latter has been converted to an all-too-familiar convenience store, and remains only as a fond memory of whittlers and tellers of tales.

So I smile when, touring the smaller towns of my adopted home, I pass a market such as this one. Hats off to Rodney and Ebeth Edwards of Villanow, Tim and Martha McWilliams of Subligna, and the Durhams of Stanford, KY (whom I have never met). You have lent unique charm in an era of ugly standardization.

1 comment:

  1. Tim and Martha are my aunt and uncle I grew up on a farm 6 miles up the road owned by Tims uncle, my grandfather Scott McWilliams. Many of my favorite memories of growing up in the country evolved stopping in at the store. Now in college but still traveling all over the southern US to hunt and explore I try to go out of my way to patronize locally owned stores like those because they are something special. -Zach Smith smithwerk@gmail.com