To Know Me Is To Know My Family: The long awaited trip to the General Store (#10)

Early in the morning Dad’s Father George would hitch the horses up to the buggy. It was a special day for all the family, but for Dad it meant an all-day sucker. He would grow with excitement as they traveled along the dirt road to Krause’s General Store. It would take the better part of a day to get there, but it was well worth it. They didn’t go often, but as fall approached it meant having to stock up on large quantiles of supplies for the winter. The winters in North Dakota were harsh, not fit for man or beast.

As they approached the store the excitement grew. Bringing the team to a halt, they would hitch the horses to the post. Now the fun began. Imagine a small boy walking into the store and seeing a gumball machines filled full of multi colored jawbreakers, 6-inch licorice vines in a jar, a penny apiece, a large piece of rock candy that would be broke off in pieces per order and of course Dads much loved all-day suckers. That tasted so good that you gnawed on the stick after the candy was gone.

Harry Edelstein would greet the family, standing ready with a pencil and pad in hand to write down the order given from the list that his mom had prepared. Of course, some of the items would be a 100-pound sack of flour and sugar needed for the long winters that lay ahead. Always on the list was tea for his Mom, a custom brought over from Russia. In barrels were coffee beans, with a grinder close by, that gave the aroma of fresh ground coffee. Chickaree, a substance for coffee was also bought at times.

Dad’s Mom would always request textiles to make dresses for his sisters Kate, Tillie and herself. Overalls were on the list for the boys. Kerosene was a must for the lamps on the long winter nights. Most of the time his Dad paid for the goods by bartering dressed turkeys (feathers removed), cream or candled eggs. A candled egg was held up to the light of a candle to check for the red spot.

Shopping done; it was time to put the supplies on the buggy. Mr. Edelstein would hand Dad his long-awaited all-day sucker, which would put a smile on his little face. He always thanked him in his German language. Off the family would go, to return home with one happy little boy enjoying his all-day sucker.

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