Home Town pt. 1, The Log Cabin

8

July 18, 2010 by David Gillaspie

Most places have a ‘corner’ store.  It’s best if it’s within walking distance, but still good if you don’t want to fill a shopping cart. 

You eventually start feeling like it’s your store.

The Roadside Grocery was my store.

Where I grew up your dad could write a permission note for cigarettes and send you to the corner store for a pack of Reds when you were eight years old. 

It was a Saturday morning ritual.  Out the door at nine, walk or bike past the Helms’ place, turn left at mean old Mr. Snow’s place on the corner.  The Hugills lived on the opposite corner, a band of toughs equally skilled in a rock fight or tearing down a tree fort.

Before the road was paved you’d take a downhill slide to the left past the McCracken’s and end up at The Roadside for a pack of Marlboroughs where Jess and Marie put the smokes in a bag. 

They owned The Roadside Grocery and lived in the back.

On the way out of the store you could cruise the skin magazines displayed next to Tiger Beat and Teen. 

One day I stopped in for comics and saw a local hood jamming soft porn magazines down his pants.  He gave me the shush sign, then drew his finger across his neck. 

I got my comic book, Silver Surfer #1, and left.

Sorry Jess.  Sorry Marie. 

I didn’t stand up for my store, but Gary Mitts did go to prison when he grew up.  He could have gone earlier, but not much happened when he brought a pistol to school and held Wendy and I on the back porch of Bangor.  Wendy was the most beautiful sixth grader ever and Gary wanted to see more of her.

Everybody wanted to see more of Wendy, and this guy had a gun?  Why didn’t anyone else do that?  Turned out to be a starter’s pistol, but who knew?  Wendy stood up to him and kept her shirt on.  I realized the limitations of force. 

A block from The Roadside Grocery stood another corner store called Log Cabin Grocery.  It was the location, location, location store sitting kitty-corner from the A&W at the intersection of Broadway and the Old County Road.  The road went up hill to a left turn at the top that screamed Dead Man’s Curve.

Besides the drive-by traffic advantage, The Log Cabin was a little nicer than The Roadside with its updated cold-storage.  A couple of guys lived up Old County and they always stopped at the Log Cabin for licorice.  In grade school they’d walk up Broadway from Virginia, grab a red rope, and head up the hill.

From Jr. High, they’d just cross the street and head inside to mix it up with Mr. Davidson.  He was lively and onto every trick in the teen book.  He had his own kids and learned from them.

His oldest son got drafted, sent to Vietnam, and came back with a dented head.  The word was an artillery shell grooved his head.  The medical opinion marked him all done. 

Mr. Davidson didn’t see it that way.

He brought his boy back as far as the kid could come.  He ran the store by the time the neighborhood kids were in high school.  Now, instead of a red rope, they’d go into the store for a half rack of Blitz Beer.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.  It never seemed like he thought we were twenty-one.

We saw him with his skull caved on one side and figured he knew all of our clocks were ticking and it wouldn’t hurt to let a few small town kids slide by in their eyebrow pencil moustaches, hair-sprayed sideburns, and tough guy sneers.

How did he keep from laughing?

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8 thoughts on “Home Town pt. 1, The Log Cabin

  1. David Gillaspie says:

    I like that, Brian. The ghost of the Log Cabin lives on. Just proves you don’t have to live in New Jersey to be part of a Bruuuuce song. The ghost of the Log Cabin and the Mill Casino sound like quite the pair.

    Thanks for checking into DG’s B&B.

  2. Brian Schuldt says:

    Hi David and Jayne,

    I had the pleasure of working for your Dad. I was in 9th Grade at NBJH (1972 I am thinking) and worked out a deal with your Dad to be the door man at lunch time. I was the “Log Cabin Bouncer”, …the KeyMaster …the GateKeeper… anyway, my job was to only let 4 “students” in the store at a time. When the store was mobbed by students…the products (candy etc.) grew too many legs. The bell would ring and I hoofed it quickly to the store…to be the first student there so I could…enforce the peace (for your Dad)…and….could earn……….$.50 for the half hour. Let’s see..multiply…and…. that’s a buck an hour! (meant more in those days)… It was great to earn a bit of trust and some real folding money after a week of work. I would light out like a fire was on my tail 5 min before the bell and always make it back to class “just in time”. I was real sad to come back to town and see the store was gone. Gone but never forgotten. I still see it whenever I drive past.

    Brian

  3. Jayne Burgess says:

    David,
    What a wonderful walk down memory lane. I am the youngest daughter of Mel Davidson,who owned the Log Cabin during those years.

    Dad did get the age thing wrong occasionally. He had to shut the store down once for 30 days for selling beer to a minor. Funny thing was the girl had grown up in the neighborhood and was three months shy of her 21st.

    My oldest brother,Ken,is still living in North Bend. He had to move into assisted living after Mom and Dad passed away, but he is still plugging along. Pretty good for a guy the doctors told the family to write off when he was wounded 43 years ago.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Jayne,

      Thanks for coming in. I thought of your dad and Ken when I took over as my father in law’s caregiver. The doctors wrote him off, giving him two days to live. After my pep talk on his second day he made a surprising turn around. Your dad never gave up on Ken.

      We were glad to find some Oly in the Log Cabin, otherwise it meant driving out to Empire.

      Come back often,

      David

  4. Pam Shanley says:

    Wow does that bring back alot of memories. Thanks Thing aresure different now.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Maybe memories of a hometown are common across the country, but I still believe we had the best place of all. North Bend is never far from my thoughts. I met a guy from Louisianna (sp) who said where he comes from people in small towns are hillbillies. He might be right. We might be hillbillies, but we’re the right kind.

      Make DG’s B&B a habit.

      Thanks, Pam

      David

  5. Barbara says:

    Was that Wendy Buckles? Loved the 2 for a penny malt balls at Log Cabin. Would get a dollars worth! Heaven all the way home.!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      There was only one Wendy in the sixth grade. Until Peter Pan there wasn’t a name of Wendy. At least that’s what the name people say.

      I used the lesson of the Roadside Grocery theft to take a stronger stand on important things, like standing up for your beliefs. A good lesson.

      In the World Wide Web, imagine having a visitor from way back coming in and leaving a comment. I’m am so tickled.

      thank you Barbara,

      David

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