There were two small groceries in Sharpe, KY located across the street from one another but there was never any real competition between the two. They both carried all the usual grocery items and also sold minnows for fishing and had gasoline pumps. These groceries were a gathering spot for the local farmers and many travelers since there were no interstate highways then. My grandmother worked at one of them; and every day, some of the farmers would come to the store around lunch time and buy bologna/cheese sandwiches. My grandmother sliced the bologna and cheese right there in the store while they waited. Soft drinks cost a nickel; I don’t remember how much they were charged for the sandwiches. During the summer, some of the farmers would bring fresh vegetables from their gardens and set up stands under the shade trees beside the store and sell their goods to travelers and local folks who didn’t grow gardens.
Now to the balloon caper. On a beautiful summer day, one of the neighborhood kids came to visit and we decided it would be fun to get some balloons and have a little fun with them. So, I walked to the store, got a bag and brought them back to my house. The plan was to play with them for a while, then take them back to the store. After all, I was only “borrowing” them. I had no intentions of keeping them because stealing was wrong. Anyway, this kid and I started blowing up the balloons and letting them fly around the yard. Just when we were in the middle of having all this fun, my mom came out to check on me, saw the balloons and asked me where I got them. I explained to her that I borrowed them from the store and was going to return them when we finished playing. Well, she got upset, started crying hysterically and said that the owner would probably send me to jail because I stole the balloons from his store. She immediately called him, explained what had happened and begged him not to put me in jail. When she got off the phone, she told me that he decided he wouldn’t put me in jail this time if I promised to never take anything again unless I had permission to do so. That sounded like a good plan to me.
No, she didn’t call him at all, but I learned my lesson and never “borrowed” anything else again.
See ya next Wednesday.