Friday, May 10, 2013

Mr. Junior

His real name was James Otto Hearn, Junior. As a child, I was taught to respect my elders and would never have dared call an adult by his or her first name. So, to avoid confusion with his daddy, I called the younger Mr. Hearn "Mr. Junior."

The Hearn family ran a small store on the corner of 61 South and Redbone Road. Hearn's Store was more than just a place to pick up snacks or groceries. It was a place for a small crew of retired men to sit in the back and shoot the breeze. Mr. Hullum, Mr. York, and Mr. Lofton were usually there just waiting for someone to pick on. One of their favorite "targets" was my mama, Betty Nelson.

Now don't get me wrong. This picking was all in good fun, never cruel or hateful. And my mama could give as good as she got. Mama would walk in Hearn's Store, usually with one of her toy Pomeranian dogs in tow. These men loved to pick on my mama about her dogs. I don't think they even classified a Pomeranian  as a "real" dog. I had to smile thinking about how glad my mama, James B Lofton, Mr. Hullum, and Mr. York were to see Mr. Junior arrive in Heaven last night.

I can still remember the first time we walked into Hearn's Store in 1968. Mr. Junior introduced me to his young sons "Sam" and "Tater." I had no idea that these were not their real names until years later. Hard to believe ol' "Tater" aka Jay is a grandfather himself now.

I remember eating hoop cheese from Mr. Junior's deli case. It is still the best cheese I have ever eaten. Hoop cheese from anywhere else is just not the same. Mr. Junior had a glass fronted candy counter and we would stand in front of it for what seemed like forever, trying to decide which kind of candy bar we wanted. My mama had a charge account with Mr. Junior, and would tell him to "Charge it please, and thank you very much" when she had her selections on the counter. Mama was an only child, but she told me on more than one occasion that Mr. Junior was like the brother she never had.

Even though I had not seen Mr. Junior in a number of years, I still found myself tearing up when I heard of his passing. He was a constant presence during my growing up years. I don't remember him ever getting impatient or upset with me, no matter how long it took me to decide whether I wanted a Hershey Bar with Almonds or a Zero Bar that day. If I wanted a Coke, he would tell me where to reach in the refrigerator case to get the coldest one. Sometimes I could even coax him into cutting me a sliver of hoop cheese to nibble on before he wrapped up the rest.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Junior. You will be missed.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Vacation Top 10

Too tired for a lengthy travelogue, I decided to just list and picture my top 10 things about the great road trip of 2013.

10. Breakfast with Teresa's cousins in North Carolina, including these amazing homemade scones!
 9. Seeing where Superman lives! Metropolis, Illinois.
 

 8. Tulips! My favorite flower was blooming everywhere. 

 7.  The Jefferson Memorial. This place still takes my breath away. 
  
 6. The Vietnam Memorial and this statue in particular.
 5. Christ Church, Philadelphia, PA, where Benjamin Franklin and George Washington attended services.
 4. Cherry trees! Especially with loved ones posed underneath them. 

 3.  Arlington. Breathtaking and absolutely humbling.
 2. Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
1. Spending time with family and dear friends. Priceless!