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Posts Tagged ‘Meat Loaf Sandwiches’

I’ve been trading at Jackson’s Hardware store in Lake Butler off and on for more than twenty five years. I’d rather shop at the locally owned establishments than the big box stores. I may pay a little more, but what I receive in return can be priceless. This trip was no exception.

The double glass doors were plastered with ads for local handymen, notifications of church services, and similar community announcements. Beside the handle on the door to the left was a handwritten sign, “Don’t use this door.” By the handle on the right, “Use THIS door.” I was glad that, for once, I took the time to read.

Once inside, I was overwhelmed by the quantity of items packed into the small building. Where could I find the plumbing supplies, I wondered. Behind the counter sat three old men, jawing with one another. Assuming one to be the proprietor, I began to move in that direction, when a younger gentleman, whom I mistook as a fellow customer, asked if he could help.

Yes, I wanted some PVC fittings. I took a stub of pipe out of my purse to show him what size I required. He led me into the next room where an array of wooden bins held elbows, couplings, and what not. As I ran down my list, he fished the pieces out of the bins and took time to sort misplaced items into their proper places. One connector I desperately needed was sold out. No problem, the man grabbed a bag from a high shelf, tore it open, and restocked the bin. Once my selection was complete, I followed him to the counter.

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On the wall facing me, among more notices, ads, and offers, was a sign, “Hunters, Fishermen, and Other Liars Gather Here.” The three old men sat in a row of chairs beneath the sign. They’d been talking continuously the whole time I was in the store. While the proprietor jotted my purchases on a sales slip, tallied the amount, and figured up the sales tax, I listened to their gossip.

The scene was classic. All that was missing was a potbellied stove (but the day was too warm), and a cracker barrel (if the store had room in for one). As the old fellows chatted about various matters, their conversation eventually led to the virtues of meat loaf sandwiches. One said, “You take your leftover meat loaf and make yourself a sandwich, and there ain’t nothin’ better.” The second agreed, “Yep. Nothin’ wrong with that.” The third seemed to be asleep, his hands resting on his ample belly.

They may have been liars, as the sign suggested, but having partaken of a few meat loaf sandwiches in my day, I guarantee they were telling the truth on this point.

Little has changed over the years at Jackson’s Hardware. In the laid back atmosphere, customer service has always been personal and courteous. If I need some old fashioned item not carried by the big box stores, I’m likely to find it here. I suspect they even restock the old men from time to time.

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