Eat’n Out! Home-Style Style

Published 10:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

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I was born in 1959. For some of you, that doesn’t seem that long ago. For others it is not even conceivable it is so long ago. I may be a relic but I find the older I get the more I miss those early times. You know, when I grew up, there were no cell phones, cable TV, video games, and no Internet. We either wrote personal letters to each other or we called on the landline phone or sometimes we even talked over the Citizen Band (CB) radios. Our “Social Media” consisted of our conversations with each other. In person. Face-to-face. Where kindness extended was also kindness received. Banter and wit were the tools of the day. In those times one could be judged by the company they kept. Rather than today where your top 100 best friends are some anonymous people on the Internet which you have never even met and that possibly don’t even exist.

I will never forget a story my son told on some of his friends in college. They had a group of students going out to eat around town and my son and one of his friends had CB radios in their trucks. My son picked up his microphone and said something to the other driver and they talked back and forth for a minute or so. One of my son’s riders asked him what that was, and he said it was his CB radio. They asked how much it cost to use and he said it was free. Well, then they asked who his service provider was. They had no idea what a CB was but could only relate it to Cell phones. Funny to us old folks.

I also remember something we seem to be losing in our area and truthfully across the State and the Nation as well. That something is our little country stores. Yes, there are still some here and there, but they are used less and less these days and as the old families grow too old to manage them, they seem to be folding up and going away in favor of those big box stores.

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These little stores were local, family owned, close-to-home places where one could find just about any necessity from penny candy to rubber boots. Or perhaps ice cream or fresh sliced bologna.

I was particularly fond of those candy/cookies called Planks or maybe some of those Goo Goo Clusters. They came flavored in strawberry, banana, lemon and more. They were delicious. Another favorite was those big “Chick-O Sticks”. They were amalgam of coconut and crunchy sugar candy core.

I also remember working all morning out in the hayfield or bush hogging or maybe just fixing fences somewhere on the place and looking up to see my grandfather’s truck easing into the field and bringing us some lunch from the store. You know, something like Vienna sausage and some crackers and if you were lucky maybe one of those little ice cream cardboard cups with a flat wooden spoon to eat it with. Ah, those were the days huh?

I am not even going to tell you the gross name we had for those Vienna sausages but I will say we had some great fights with them. You could skewer one with a fork and rear back and sling that thing at someone. It would explode against whatever it hit. I was a serious deadeye shot with those things.

The stores had sodas, chips, eggs, milk, beer, shotgun shells, gasoline, kerosene, and so much more.

There is at least one of these little oasis’ left in our area and we get in there whenever we can as much for the atmosphere as for the food we find there. I have to say though the hamburger I had recently could match up with anything I have had anywhere else. I try to be impartial when sampling food items, but I do believe I get sucked into the charm and friendliness of the store and that just adds to the “taste” of the place.

I am, of course, talking about the “Jefferson Store”. Mr. Tony Luker is always in there with that grill hot waiting on you to walk through that door and lay on him what you want. The menu is centered around burgers, bologna sandwiches, pork BBQ, hot ham sandwiches, and more. He will make it just like you like it. While we were there, Tony was steadily taking orders and seemed to never meet a stranger whether he knew the person or not. I know, from personal experience, that’s exactly how it feels when you go in there. Its just like stepping back in time – to a simpler, better time. A time where people still greet each other with a smile and a kind word. A time where nothing is more important than the friendly conversation you find there. A place where you can maybe see or feel something you remember from those days gone by.

Last trip there I bought a rubber band gun for one of my grandsons. He still loves it. This trip I found some baby (small) Moon Pies that I didn’t even know they still made and some of those little firecracker popper things you just throw on the ground and they explode. Two other grandkids love those. Lastly, we picked up some of Mr. Luker’s “Sat’ urday” BBQ sauce.

Thank you, Tony, for a great lunch in a truly friendly and noticeably thoughtful environment. You obviously work very hard at maintaining that for us old folks who still revel in those kinds of things.

We all really do need to slow down just a bit for just a minute, go to the Jefferson Store, order some lunch, and strike up a conversation with Tony or one of the other regulars when Eat’n Out!