The Village Shop
Sweet, short and fat was Mrs. White. She owned the one and only village shop which sold daily provisions. She had named her shop ‘The Jolly Store’.
This name was very apt because anyone coming to the shop felt happy and cheerful and went back in a jolly mood. Samantha White was Jimmy White’s wife. He worked at the village Post Office and helped his wife Sammy whenever he could.
Both the White’s were cute darlings who had a ready smile for their customers and gave them groceries as well as much needed help and advice. Sammy wore a colorful apron on top of her dress and a cap to cover her hair because she had a thing for cleanliness.
Her shop was quite big and she had made sections to store different things on shelves with glass doors. The main door of the shop, when opened, would make a sweet jingly sound and Sammy would come running to greet her customer with a big smile on her face. All the walls of the store had pictures of kids playing.
This was because poor Sammy did not have any children though married for quite some time. She never let her sadness show on her face. Jimmy used to tell her to keep the faith because he believed God would answer their prayers one day and they would be blessed with kids soon. Sammy loved tiny tots and always had a lollypop ready to hand over to the kids who visited her shop.
Marge Brown, the local hairdresser used to come daily to Jolly Store to buy fresh eggs, milk, cheese and butter. She would always have titbits of gossip about the young girls who came to her beauty parlor to get ready for their dates. “You know Sammy, Susie Hudson came to me last evening for a special hair-do and makeup. She was going to a party out of town with Ricky Williams, the local hero whom all the girls craved for.”
“Oh! really, Marge. That’s nice. Susie is a sweet girl and Ricky is quite dashing.” “Yes, you are quite right Sammy, I find Susie and Ricky quite charming. I hope they both find happiness with each other”, smiled Marge as she went home with her various purchases.
The door opened as Sammy was busy arranging her shelves and little Joey walked in. “Hi! Sammy Aunty, could I have Ice Cream?” “Why not Joey sweetie. Here you are and here’s your lollypop”. “Thanks, Aunty!” said Joey as he walked away licking his strawberry ice cream cone.
Mr. and Mrs. Jackson came in next for their daily supply of green vegetables.
They bought cauliflower, carrots, peas, corn, beans, beetroot, celery and tomatoes. Tuesday saw Jennie Cristy rushing into the shop. She had run out of potatoes and her son Robbie wanted to eat potato and cheese cutlets.
As Sammy weighed the potatoes, Jennie said – “You are such a pet Sammy dear. What would I have done if you had not helped me out? It is your recipe of cutlets with cheese that Robbie has asked me to make for dinner. Could I have a few tins of tomato soup as well, do you think?” “Oh! sure dearie, soup would be ideal with the cutlets. Here you are sweetie. Run along,” beamed Sammy from behind the counter.
One evening Mrs. Hubbard walked into Sammy’s store for some sweet potatoes. Her husband Fred was feeling low and wanted to taste smoked sweet potatoes.
Clutching her walking stick and shopping bag, May Hubbard looked hassled. “Should I come over after the shop closes May and help you with the bar-be-cue? I’ll get fresh chicken to roast for dear Fred,” asked Sammy. “Oh! could you Sam, it would be so nice. Why don’t you and Jimmy have dinner with us tonight? It will be lovely to have some company”. “Of course I will May.
You just go home and look after Fred. I’ll be right over as soon as I can. Jimmy will take care of the beer.” “Sammy, here, take the dough for the chicken and beer too,” smiled May shyly handing out notes from her purse.
“Well, May darling I’ll just charge you for the sweet potatoes. I’ll make use of your bar-be-cue for the chicken. You two eat tiny mouthfuls, so lots will be left for me to take and eat tomorrow. Jimmy would hit me on the head if I took money for a few bottles of beer. Come on. go and rest. See you in the evening”, said Sammy pushing May gently towards the exit.
On Fridays, Sammy got a fresh supply of fruits from the town nearby. They had a big fruit market. Nearly every woman of the house of Primrose village came to Sammy’s Jolly Store to get their weekly supply of fresh juicy fruits.
The afternoon saw Beth and her sister Julia strolling into the shop to buy pineapples and bananas. Beth wanted to make cheese and pineapple cubes for a get-together and Julia had planned custard and bananas as dessert for her family. Evelyn Bennet wanted some grapes, cherries and strawberries. Her kids Mintie and Bessie loved eating fruits. Watermelon was favoured by Frankie Butler while his wife Gina liked apples. Oranges finished first because everyone bought some.
Sammy was very particular about keeping her supply of mutton, chicken and fish refrigerated and well-stocked. The village had a get together once a week where every household member made one dish either vegetarian or non-vegetarian and they all ate together almost like a picnic in one or other’s garden or patio.
This way everyone knew what was happening with the other and the merry-making at these get-togethers was infectious. Any guest visiting any house was invited too to these picnics and they enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
Roland and Alexander were two brothers who lived together in a charming bungalow named ‘Star Lit Cottage’ with their wives Veronica and Vanessa. They had 2 children each. Rosemary and Henry were Veronica’s kids. They studied in class 9 and 7 respectively.
Marian and Collin were tiny tots with Alex and Vanessa as their parents. Whenever the picnic was organised in their house, they all got together and made mouth-watering Chicken-a-la-kiev, mutton cutlets and fish cakes.
Old Mrs. Johnson loved to buy Margarine and rice & oat cereal from Sammy. She liked her breakfast to be really healthy and Sammy helped her sometimes with her gardening. She had a small cottage near the White’s place and Clara Johnson was her next-door neighbour.
Her husband Jonathan had died recently having been sick for sometime and her one and only daughter Violet lived in the other town with her husband Nicholas and her daughter Claudia.
One morning as Sammy opened her store, a small girl came inside and said – “Madam, will you please help me? I have nowhere to go as my parents are dead. I have walked from village to village and town to town but no one helped me. I will work in your shop just for food and a place to sleep in.” Sammy said – “What’s your name?” “It is Polly maam”.
“Well, you are as sweet as a flower. How old are you?” “I am seven years old maam.” “Well Polly go and wash your face and I’ll give you something to eat.”
After feeding Polly, Sammy asked her to lie down for a while. When Jimmy entered his store in the evening Sammy introduced Polly to him. “Well, We can do with some help around here Sammy but since Polly has no one we will adopt her and make her our first child.”
“Oh! Jimmy, this is what I wanted. How did you guess?” “Why, my dear, I can read your mind as well as your heart.”
Thus, the Jolly Store became jollier with Polly’s presence and the owners felt blessed to have her as their own child who was so beautiful, gentle and kind.
Contributed By: Amita, [email protected]
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