I’ve shopped at Merkle’s country store for almost sixty years. I went there first when I was eight. Those memories bring some tears.
Old Merkle built his country store far off the beaten path. His home was nestled in the rear. It even had a bath.
I walked the gravel road each day on down to Merkle’s Store to get a sucker for two cents. You couldn’t ask for more.
Old Merkle had a clock that chimed. I loved to hear it ring. I’d wait until the hands struck twelve. The joy that clock did bring!
That store had everything you’d need, from groceries to your clothes. And fishing tackle, fresh-dug worms, and even garden hose.
I’ve heard some say if stronger drink was needed for “snake bite.” Just tell old Merkle, “I’ve been bit.” He kept it out of sight.
Well, Merkle’s Store has saved my hide more times than I can say. Once Santa brought my eight year old a train set Christmas day.
The box that sat beneath the tree said, “Batteries included.” But, what it really should have said was, “Batteries excluded.”
I phoned Old Merkle at his home. He met me at the store. I cleaned him out of batteries. A Christmas saved once more!
Old Merkle passed away last year. His son, Joe, stepped in place. We’ve called it a transitioning, with Merkle’s brand new face.
Well, Joe had graduated from online business school, but tried to run the general store based on the Golden Rule.
So times were tough for Merkle’s Store. It just could not compete. The grocery chains and hardware stores, their price he couldn’t beat.
So Merkle’s Store was closed for good. Joe sold off all the stock. And last of all he handed me that old-time chiming clock.
Then said he had some tennis shoes and thereby hangs a tale. He said they came from some poor sap whose dog might be for sale.
Is Merkle’s really gone for good? I can’t believe it’s true. But that country store has closed its doors. I guess its time was due.
Tonight I’ll drink to Merkle’s Store, and hold my glass up high. ‘Cuz Merkle’s you were good to us. It’s hard to say goodbye.