Haiga, Haiku & Haibun, and #13: All Those Years Ago & NaHaiWriMo 2018

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a store today
selling the store i entered
in childhood

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for #13 NaHaiWriMo 2-13-2018

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NaHaiWriMo February 13 prompt: THE LITTLE STORE ON THE CORNER. Random number (315 D) provided by Dennise Aiello.

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(haibun)

Neighborly And Friendly

we just called it “the little store”—although it said “Moore’s Grocery” on a little banner, across the edge of the flat roof. it was one small room. it wasn’t on a corner. it was almost half way up the block. mom used to call them country blocks because they ran on, a long way, between 13th and 14th streets at that time.

neighbors
in country speak
friends

an older couple ran the little store. more like grandparents than a mom & pop store, they lived in the back. they had probably lived there for 50 or more years by the time mom and i moved into the area, when i was 5. i think she said they’d gotten the store when they’d married, and had been doing fine there ever since. i asked a question or two almost every time i went to the little store on my own. he was blind. she sat on a stool behind the cash register. he stood behind a counter, with sunglasses on, at the back of the room. listening. he knew what people picked up, or put back, by listening. that impressed me. when she went for a nap, he stood behind the cash register. he’d tell you what you had, when you walked over to pay, reciting the price of each item, and adding it up in his head. giving you the correct change when you offered the 2 or 3 dollars in bills.

card clatter
in the spokes of my bike
easy speed

the first time mom asked me to go pick up a half gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and a dozen eggs, i was floored. by myself? it was a long walk for a seven year old, let alone carrying all of that stuff back. i wasn’t supposed to ride my bike on 13th street, yet. it was too likely a car might come along. she told me i could this time, but no further than the little store, “and keep an eye out behind you”. my bike had a wire basket on the front handlebars. that would make it easy. she told me to add the prices together in my head, on the way, so i’d know how much to pay. 52¢ for half a gallon of milk. 37¢ for a loaf of bread, and 19¢ for a dozen eggs—large (cheaper than half a dozen at 11¢). plus 4¢ tax—not yet 5¢ at that time. “a $1.08” said Bill, the blind, little store owner. “what about the tax?” i asked. “for you it’s included.” said Bill.

no sidewalks
yet i know each neighbor
pedaling past

i was pleased, but confused. i felt important pedaling home. mom said Edna (i think i remember her name too), would have charged the same. mom said they were just being nice because we were regular customers, and lived nearby.

wall clocks
in the library run fast
college

a decade plus later, when i came home as a sophomore, or maybe a junior, from college, the little store was empty, and about to be torn down. i thought that was sad. 7-11s and other chains had moved into the area. i’ve always felt a little sad i never said goodbye to these people who were “just being nice, because we were regular customers, and lived in the neighborhood”. so I’m saying goodbye now. again. and thank you too.

two dollars
on the way to the little store
i’m always rich

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