Better Than New


Today, it felt like spring was officially here!  It was time to clean the garage of cotton cobwebs, sweep spiders from hidden corners and hunt for colored clay pots to fill while the weather is warmer still.

After tidying up, I drove to visit my favorite hardware store.   Where everything imagined is sold!   From skinny rubber bands all wrapped in bouncing balls, to single silver nails dropped to the bottom of a brown paper bag…plunk.  The store is nothing like you’d think. It’s not a chain store like, ‘Lowes’ or ‘Home Depot.’  No, a trip to this hardware store is akin to stepping back far, far in time to a very distant land.  A different time and place.

The building is made of all wood and tin, a “Freight and Grain Elevator” that was built way back in 1877, by a small family.  It was their business then and hasn’t much changed since then.  Pulling into the gravelled parking lot, my car wheels made a crunching sound as they slid by the side of a red pick-up truck.  Near-by, a sign spelled, “C.H.I.C.K.S- for- S.A.L.E” in big, black letters.  Hand-printed by someone very young.  I could tell.

Wide, wooden planks of grey greeted me the moment I stepped outside my door.  Perhaps long ago, they were painted emerald-green to match the grasses all around?  If so, years of hot St. Louis summers had completely bleached the color from every board.  So old and worn, they were.  If I kneeled down, could I blow wooden dust through uneven cracks to the bottom?   A ramp led to a long covered ‘front porch’ of sorts.  Under its ceiling, I found bags of musty mulch in all sizes.  Mmmm…..the earthy scent seeped from within allowing me to breathe it in deeply.  A favorite scent of mine.

Much like I thought it would, the old screen door squeaked and creaked when it cracked open.  Behind the short counter (people were smaller, years ago), I asked the smiling young man if he would help me load my car.  “Of course,” he said, before tossing chocolate-brown mulch into my trunk.  To the side, he added burlap bags sewn in red.  Chock full of seeds they were.  For flying feathered friends waiting in trees of pine near bricks of my home.

Before leaving, I couldn’t help but notice a brand new furniture store being remodeled right next door.  Modern and ‘state-of-the-art!’  What a contrast to the nostalgic hardware store of 137 years old.   Nearly the same as the day the original doors opened.  Sighing, it gave me pleasure to know of something old that was better than anything new!  One day in the future, perhaps my grandchildren will tag along with me for a visit.

There, we can buy fresh earth to scatter round trees that grow towards heaven.  Or fill pockets with seeds to fill feeders for wings of wonder.

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40 thoughts on “Better Than New

    • Thank you, Patricia. I could visit this store each and every day. The owners are so kind. Cats live inside with their kittens. It truly is like going back more than 100 years….

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  1. This is really like a relic from another time. I like something like that very much. It seems to tell so many stories and radiates great warmth out. Thank you for your words!

    Greetings from Vera 🙂

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  2. how fun – and love the part about how the green was weathered away! also, on my last trip to florida – we went to see my niece and her new baby – and on the way – I noticed the old Ace hardware was now a dollar tree. wow! anyhow, fun post and glad you enjoyed the nice spring day – we had a sweet day here too. and hope you are feeling well today too. 🙂

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  3. I have to say that through your description and the photo you sold it to me. I will actually pay to get in there. The picture reminded me so much when I was in the U.S and saw that type of houses-buildings usually found in the outskirts of cities. We have something in common and no it´s not that we both have grandchildren…………we both like the old fashion type of houses more than the new more modern type. I find it even here in Spain, I prefer to see the old times than high rises modern types. But again if I could go back to New York city, man o man wouldn´t think twice about it and I still imagine myself walking up from the subway on Black Friday without me knowing anything about what was black Friday and entering a see of people walking down the Avenue, between the buildings so high the 8 million+ people that seemed to come out all at the same time in the middle of Manhattan that was quite an experience for a newly arrived 17 year kid. I´ll stop rambling on.

    Great memories brought back this post and very well written I might add.

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  4. Ahhh, yesteryear! You drew me in and I was standing on the ‘front porch’ with you! We have a store like that in our town also. It is now a rental store, i.e. equipment and such. But, when one walks into the actually store one is taken back to a different place and time. And, all this in NORCAL! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Now this is my kind of Spring Heaven…when you said ” I hope my grandchildren can visit my favorite hardware store someday. Where they can buy fresh earth to scatter around trees that grow towards heaven….and seeds to fill feeders for wings of wonder.”..
    I am so pleased Spring is in the air Kim.. 🙂

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  6. Happy to say that we have a local hardware store in our neighborhood. Its so much easier to pop in there than to drive to the big box store.

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  7. Lovely post, Kim. My husband is a fan of “mom & pop” stores. He would always stop and check whenever we pass one along the road and would tell my children stories of how it was like many years ago. He would have them look around and purchase something to “help support” their livelihood. I think it’s great that some still exist in this day and age. Thanks for sharing. ❤ it!

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