A short slice of life story.
Dakota approached the door with his heaviest coat zipped up as far as it’d go. He gave the door a light tug, with the presumption they were closed again — he never seemed to come on the right day. To his surprise though, the door swung open, vacuuming the cold January air inside, as the rusty bell clinked overhead.
The clutter was immense; but is it a real, genuine antique store if it’s not? Amongst the massive mélange of knick-knacks and doo-dads, sat a friendly old codger, whittling on a birch limb, with an old beat-up Barlow.
“I finally caught ya’ll open!” Dakota said as he perused a box full of old postcards, whose senders and recipients were probably long-gone. “Yeah, well I’ve been meanin’ to open ‘er back up, but the ol’ woman’s been sick and in the hospital, so I’ve been stayin’ with her.” The old man replied, more jovially than you’d expect from a sentence of that nature. “I’m so sorry, is she doin’ better now?” Dakota asked, moving on from the postcards, and over to the display case of vintage pocket knives. “Oh yeah, she’s up and movin’ around on her own again, our daughter’s still lookin’ after her at home though.” he looked down at his whittling, then back up again, “If ya’ need anything, holler’.” He said to Dakota before promptly resuming his miniature carving.
Dakota was still stuck over at the knife case, practically drooling over the old blades. Kissing Cranes, Case Double Xs, Bucks, and Schrades, all of them, way out of his price range, but a guy can dream.
He eventually began to meander about the store some more, occasionally taking notice of a few random things that stood out from the customary, dusty shelf-trinkets:
A sealed NC State Coka-Cola bottle from the NCAA Championship in ’83. A duck themed tin of Congress playing cards from the mid-1900s. A beat up old 1957 Topps Jim Rivera baseball card. A black iron fireplace set. A wall full of old-fashioned axes, from Keen Cutter, to True Temper.
He eventually worked his way to the very back, where there sat a couple cardboard boxes, abound with records. He was delighted, and stooped down to shuffle through them. He loved to feel the dust off of each record as he flipped through, one by one, and smell that old musty paper smell that was flushed up from betwixt the sleeves.
He started to build a pile. Merle, Willie, Hank, Loretta, and the possum, were just a few of the country legends he’d dug up.
He picked up his teetering tower of vinyl and shuffled through the clutter, and up to the counter. “You find ya’ somethin’ nice back there?” The old man shouted as he grabbed his hand-made walking cane, and stood up from his rocking chair. “Oh yeah! A buncha’ good country records.” Dakota replied, as he started searching through the postcards again, while he waited on the old man to get to the register.
He saw all sorts of cards from Waikiki, to Paris, to Mount Mitchell. He found two he really liked.
One was from The Great Smoky Mountains; it pictured a black bear in a tree, and in a beautiful cursive handwriting, it read: “To Mama and Daddy, we wish you were here with us. We seen all kinds of deer when we drove through Cade’s Cove, Daddy would’ve loved that. In our fancy motel here in Pigeon Forge, they gave us little mints. We went out to eat at a place called Howard’s Restaurant in Gatlinburg, it was good! Love and miss you, from June, and Toby.”
The other card was from Monument Valley, and simply said: “To Lydia, our trip out west has been fun, we can’t wait to tell you all about it. From, Jane and Linda.”
Dakota took those postcards and laid them with his stack of records.
Eventually the old man finally made it over to the counter and sat down behind the register. “Was there a price on these?” He asked Dakota. “Oh, crap I forgot to look, let me go-” he was cut off by the old man. “No, no, don’t worry about it, let’s see…you’ve got one, two, three…fourteen of ’em. Would you give me ten bucks for all of ‘em?” The old man asked. Dakota was caught a bit off guard by the low price. “Well, sure! Oh, and how much were your postcards here? I got two o’ them too.” Dakota asked, as he took his wallet out of his back pocket. “Ah, I think I was selling ’em a quarter a piece…just take ’em with you.” The old man said with a smile.
“Thank you so much!” Dakota handed the old man a $10 bill, and picked up his stack of vinyl treasures. “You better come back and see me again, I get new records in all the time!” The old man said, as he went, and held the door open for Dakota. “Oh I will, for sure! Thanks again, and I wish your wife the best in her recovery. Have a good day!”
Thanks for reading! If you liked that here’s another short piece of fiction I did: