After last week’s article about General Stores one Facebook friend pointed out that the Peter’s Store in Clarkrange was a longtime home of the post office and it got me to thinking about the places people hang out.
A couple of years ago I found a list of the post office location in Tennessee and shared them here. That article mentioned only in passing that the post office was often part of some other business, generally the country store. How convenient to be able to make one stop and do all of your business – oh wait, our mega-stores these days keep trying to do that, don’t they? But unlike the stores we bustle through today, yesterday’s country store and post office were leisurely businesses. I guess if you had to walk, ride a mule or drive a wagon to get there you weren’t in too big of a hurry to rush off.
We all know (and we often mention) that folks used to visit a whole lot more than we do these days. Stores had front porches – or barrels sitting around a pot-bellied stove – so you could ‘sit a spell’ and greet your neighbor, catch up on the local news and generally be a part of the a community.
My Daddy tells about going to Wash Livesay’s store in Campground in his Grandpa Stepp’s wagon. The story is about the team of horses but it’s set on the front porch. While Grandma went in to do her business at the store, grandpa and grandson passed the time with their neighbors. He also tells about that same grandpa having business to attend to in Jamestown – he’d really hurry to get the business out of the way so he could head to the courthouse steps and join the loafers there. Daddy laments – and I completely agree – how he’d love to sit among those old men and just listen. Can you even imagine what we might learn? Talk about history!