Monday, January 16, 2012

"An Evening in the Country Store."

An evening in the quaint old country store!
While Winter's feet were kicking at the door,
And Winter's white-nailed fingers striving hard
To raise the windows he himself had barred;
Save when he chased upon their weary rounds,
Through tracks of air, his yelling tempest-hounds.
Bark louder, storm-dogs!  To our dreamy sight,
Your voices made the fire-cheer twice as bright,
Promoting high beyond a moment's doubt,
The value of the dry-goods shelved about.

There's little you'll be wanting, cheap or dear,
That has not something somewhat like it, here;
Whatever honest people drink or eat,
Or pack their bodies in, from head to feet,
Want what you may, you'll get it - search no more -
Or imitation of it - in this store.
The body's needs not only here you'll find,
But food here, too, for the sympathies and mind;
For in one corner, fed by many lands,
The small post-office dignifiedly stands,
With square, red-numbered boxes in its arms,
Well stocked with white and brown envelope charms.
Here the little girl, irresolutely gay,
Asks if there's "any thing for us to-day";
Here the farm lad, who wider fields would seek,
Comes for the county paper once a week.
Through this delivery port-hole there is hurled
Printed bombardment from the outside world;
The great, far world, whose heart-throbs up and down,
Strike pulses, e'en within this quiet town.

The quaint, well populated country store!
A hospitable, mirth productive shore,
Where masculine barks take refuge from distress,
In the port of and evening's cheerfulness.
The rusty stove, with wood-fed heat endowed,
Shoots hot invisible arrows at the crowd,
To which the chewing population nigh
Send back a prompt and vigorous reply,
And find time for side-battles of retort,
In various moralled stories, long and short:
From one that's smart and good enough to print,
To one that has a hundred hell-seeds in 't.
Here laws are put on trial by debate,
Here solved conundrums, both of Church and State;
Here is contested, with more voice than brain,
Full many a hot political campaign;
The half surmised shortcomings of the church
Are opened to some sinner's anxious search;
And criticisms the minister gets here,
From men who have not heard him once a year...

~ Will Carleton

The above is an excerpt from "An Evening in the Country Store," published in 'Farm Festivals' copyright 1881.  The illustration accompanied this poem, but the artist is unknown.


  1. a nice look back at the past!

  2. There is such warm comfort in this poem. We had an old country store in the village I live on the out-skirts of...I kid to others...Goldstone is a hamlet approx. 1/2 a mile square. I grew up on a farm at the North end, We rented the first year of marriage at the south end, then bought my grandma's house a year later at the west end. Now all we need to do is retire at the eat end, yet never move more than a few hundred yards!:)In the sunrise pictures on my headers sometimes you can see my home place on the far left...a barn, silo and trees, but, back to the store...that little village store has many childhood memories. eventually it closed due to high prices and lack of customers.

    Sorry for the late reply...we have been dealing with internet connectivity problems:( i am so behind in my reading!

    1. I love how you've lived all over the same town... and now I'll keep an eye out for the barn, silo, and trees :) There was a little store in the village of Bremen we used to visit, that had the original open glass display cases (I remember seeing them filled with candy!). Bremen's store fell to the same fate as the one in Goldstone. It's good to have those memories :) I imagine you're frustrated with the internet right now ~ hope it straightens out soon!


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.”

~ Mother Teresa