Growing up we had a small store up the road a ways where we could go and get a soda, some crackers, peanuts, candy and other snacks after school. Jack was an old man that had a little store next to his house. It was a small block building and about a two minute bike ride or five minute run from the house. Going to Jacks Corner Store was always a treat and it was where the local retired men hung around and told stories, talked about women, weather, politics and life. It was also where the kids gathered to meet up and get some much needed snacks before we took off for the afternoon to play in the woods, the creek or someone’s backyard.
I looked forward to going up to Jacks store and getting my favorite which was a soda and a small bag of peanuts. I would then take the peanuts and pour them into the soda and listen to the fizzing action. Once the soda, peanuts and salt mixed I would drink it all down. I also loved a pack of nabs (cheese crackers) for you young people that missed growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s combined with a orange or grape soda. Jack had all kinds of candy that might be considered bad now like candy cigarettes, wax bottle candy filled with sugary liquids, Astro pops, bottle caps, Boston baked beans, and much more.
I recently rode by there and the old building is now been converted into a small house and I am pretty sure that happened 20 years or so ago. All the kids I grew up with are older and moved away now with exception of 1 o 2 people. We all loved going to Jacks Corner Store to hang out, chill, relax and get life lessons from the old timers hanging around there. Those men knew everyone in the community and would whoop your tail if you were disrespectful or got out of line with them.
Back then the people used to say “it takes a community to raise a child” and they meant it. We learned life lessons, manners, respect, social skills and work ethic at Jacks. The old timers all farmed so they would take us with them to pull tobacco. mow, plow the fields, weed the yards and other physical labor that taught us the needed skills to survive and be a productive citizen.
Riding by Jacks old store made me think about growing up and all the memories I made and share with many life long friends. Old man Jack and the other Old timers are all gone now, but the influence they had on my life and my friends will last forever. God bless America and every small neighborhood store!