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Saturday, March 1, 2014


The most influential time of my life had to have been when I was four and my father built my mother a "Salt Box" house in Brentwood NH.  That was the "good old days".  In a burgeoning affluent/upper middle class neighborhood (now comprised of multi unit, million dollar homes, sadly) we sat nestled in the virgin woods back in the 70's.  Amongst all the memories of that time, one of the most vivid still resonating in my memory was our trips to "Lindy's Market" 

This was the place.  From weekend fisherman stopping on the way to the lake stocking up on sundries, to the folks headed home from work getting dinner for the evening, this was the place all the surrounding neighborhoods patronized.  And when you were a young man, it was a right of passage to make your first journey from our Cul-de-Sac neighborhood down the dark, forbidden, rugged path of "Lindy's Trail" to bask in the glorious success of sipping a "White Rock Sarsaparilla" on the stoop, reveling in your conquest of the frightening woods!  And yes, they were frightening (to a kid).  The ritual was to go it alone.  Once you left the relative safety of where the main neighborhood thoroughfare dead ended at the tree shrouded entrance to the trail you were alone.  Mind you, no parents knew you were doing this!  If the "Bloody Monster", that was rumored to wander the woods, hungry for the succulent meat of young children got you, the oath of secrecy sworn by all witnesses meant your butchered remains would never be found!  To make the tension more palpable, 30 yards into the trail you past a pre-revolutionary war Cemetery that would make Stephen King cringe!  Then, the path becomes more harrowing and spookier as you go.  All the normal neighborhood sounds are replaced by the shambling scraping of monstrous limbs, the mournful wail of some unseen horror desperately trying to track the scent of your virgin blood.  Deeper and deeper you ascend, eyes fitfully darting back and forth into the darkened canopy of trees, your heart pounding an ever increasing rhythm until it resonates in the back of your ears.  Then, at the final moment when you resolve yourself to the inevitable realization that you will end up on the buffet table of some moss encrusted horror,  you burst forth from the path to sanctuary! 
Regaining your cool, you enter the familiar surroundings of Lindy's, feel the well worn "creak" of the aged timber beneath your feet, the comforting "whoosh" and soft slam of the wood frame screen door announcing your arrival punctuated by the metallic "twang" of it's spring.  You are greeted by an elderly gentleman perched atop a stool in the corner behind the counter.  He locks eyes with you over the rims of his glasses from behind his  outstretched copy of the latest newspaper,  letting you know,  "I'm watching you".  Ever mindful of his watchful gaze, you step to the cooler, remove your drink of choice (mine was sarsaparilla) perhaps get a dimes worth of penny candy, then pay and exit to the relative calm of the front stoop.  There, you calmly relive your harrowing experience and only in the cradle of that familiar place does it slowly dawn on you that perhaps, jus perhaps their was more to the trail in your head then in your travel.  And just maybe, the woodland sounds were more evidence of squirrels, birds and wind then shambling monsters. 
As dusk slowly approaches (and you have spent sufficient time delaying, in hopes of ratcheting up your friends paranoia that you may have been lost to the woods) you pocket the soda cap (proof that you made it) and climb aboard your bicycle and head off up the trail.  Now a little older, a little bigger and a little wiser.
But you still wish the trail wasn't the shortest way home!
It was memories like that, and so many more up through young adulthood that are attached to that old country store.  Most good and some bad.  I have a six inch scar on my leg from where I dropped the cooler door on it while helping do some modern upgrades when I was working in remodeling, and a couple patches of discoloration on my back from when I fell out of the family Volkswagen Beetle as my Dad did a U-turn in front of the store.  This was before seat belt laws, folks!
Forgive my nostalgic indulgences.  But it was something that I overheard a young man say this morning that really got me thinking.   See, first thing this am a Dad and his son came into the shop looking for a new ride for him.  Having outgrown his previous one, he needed to trade up.  I'm not the best person to remember names and faces, but I remember bikes.  I noticed the trade in and through the friendly conversation he reminded me that "Yes", they had bought it here (I will say I knew he did  look familiar) and in fact he had been buying bikes for his whole family from us since we were working out of the garage.  Then it hit me.  I knew this young man since he was a bump in his Mamma's tummy!   They picked out the Schwinn Hawkeye we just put out last night to which the young man was very thankful.  As we said our "good days" and they were leaving I overheard the young man say to his father "I really love that store!"
I know it sounds corny, but I felt a real eye stinging swell of pride when the young man said that.  It's really incredible to think that we have been blessed with the chance of being a part of so many peoples lives, in some cases from the very beginning!  In some small way, I'd like to think we are carrying on the tradition of that same "neighborhood" shop I grew up with.  It's not a bad legacy to carry a torch for. 
Yesterday was a slam fest!  And my head is still spinning so don't ask me for specifics.  I do know we sold a bunch and got a bunch in AND we know have to bush whack our way to the service bay in lieu of the plethora of repairs coming in!  And we thank you ALL so very much for your continued patronage, don't worry, we'll make room!  We did manage to put out three new ones, but again, why bother to tease!  They were gone as soon as we opened the doors this morning!  Have no fear though, because we picked up several nice replacements already!   NOW, after a flood of wonderful folk coming in I may actually get a chance to put a dent in the repairs!
Here's hoping!
See ya soon!

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