The General Store

The General Store

by David Johnson

Our General Store was brighter then,

The penny candy glistened

And seated ’round an iron stove

Old men smoked, and lounged, and listened


Ms. Hartley came and bought her goods

A bolt of silk, a sack of flour, some hearty joe

Ben Grayson gladly ground her beans

And packed her purchases to go


While out in front her wagon stood

In the sunshine of the day

Her horses, Pete, and Emily

Were eager to be on their way


The stove is gone, the men have passed

The penny candy is no more

And not a single resident

Remembers that old store


Those peaceful days in sleepy towns

Have finally come to pass

Our general stores have gone

But local commerce lingers on


But the worn antiques of days gone by

Remain to tell their tales

Of coffee milled, and orders filled

These tools of yesteryear prevail


This location’s now a parking lot

Behind it is an antiques store

And in the window stands this mill

Not ten feet from where it stood before


Funny how our world moves forth

To swallow up our past

It happens at the speed of rust

And even then — it seems too fast


Four generations have sped on by

With lifetimes spent to grind those beans

Countless clerks have come and gone

Nameless, faceless, lost in time


Just think, someday the tools we use

Will be cast aside and used no more

Or maybe they’ll go on display

In a dusty antiques store


The likes of you and I won’t care

Our sturdy tools will win the day

Because we’re made of flesh and blood,

Like General Stores, we’ll pass away