Gentleman's West



When I was a little kid it was a big deal to walk to the Five and Dime store alone on Johnson Drive. You must remember the Van's Store. This was the biggest store. It was located in a row of brick stores that were all attached to each other. Today you might call the stores an early strip mall. Some other time I will tell you about things that happened at the Van's Store.


OK, First I would walk past the Crown Drug Store. Inside they had a counter where you could get a cheery coke or a milkshake 45 records and other good stuff. I think that they even had drugs too.


Next was the Garrets men's store. One of our neighbors worked here. Karen Sue worked here after High School.


Attached to Garrets was the Hardware Store. It always smelt funny inside. Here as a kid, we could buy cool stuff like Machetes to cut trees down in the woods or if dad needed to move a stump he could get a little TNT and blasting caps.


Then came the Barbershop after the hardware store, Outside the Barbershop hung a sort of a lamp with red stripes that went around and around. The place was not called Gentleman's West at this time I think. It was much later they changed the name when they upgraded the place with leather look-alike sofas.


Now, this hair butcher shop was owned by Bob and Norman, two brothers. Bob cut hair here way past this 70th birthday. Every time I went back to the USA from Germany I went in to say hello. But not to get a haircut.


Back to the story.


This one summer afternoon I must have been around 7 years old, I walked or tried to sneak past the shop when Bob saw me, came out, and spoke to me. Mark he says. You have not been here for some time to get a haircut. Why not?


Standing up and sticking my chest out trying to look important. I said.

My momma says that you cut it and it looks like you put a bowl on my head then cut around it.


The truth hurts sometimes. You know I am not sure if his face got red if he was mad or laughing. But he told me to tell my mamma that I should come back and he would fix it.


It was a few years until I went back. But I did. Bob had a crush on Mom.


After that chance meeting, I went into the Five and Dime store. I just looked at everything. I had an entire a complete a whole silver dollar. That darn thing was burning a hole in my pocket.


Should I get marbles? Maybe a Kite? Then I saw the sign in the jewelry department at the Five and Dime store. The sign said... LOOKS REAL GOLD. Would I love a real gold ring? You bet I would. Any red-blooded American Kid would. For $1.00 I bought it. The lady did not charge me the taxes.


I was so proud don't put it in the paper bag I said, I will wear it home, That night Steve saw it. Let me congratulate you he said, let's shake hands. It was a trick.


Steve grabbed my hand and squeezed as hard as he could, me I was jumping up and down yelling. The ring broke in half.


Steve said. Looks like it is not gold.


Should real gold break like that? That that advertisement sign was lying. The sign said LOOKS GOLD. I took it back and complained. The old lady laughed a little smiled then she gave me back my dollar. It was not my dollar it was another one. This one was paper and said something on it like Silver something.


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