Grandma must be rich.

I remember the old Mine Centre Store
that used to sit along the side
of the Trans-Canada Highway.

With the closest town
being 68 km away,
The Mine Centre Store
was your one-stop-shop
for gas, bait,
booze, snacks,
and odds and ends.

Without the blue metal
you might not realize
that you were driving by
this small town.

one school.
maybe a community hall?
and a scattering of houses
that were out of view
from the highway.

maybe 50.

Mine Centre was on the way
to Grandma Lainie
and Grandpa Pud’s house.
And a visit to Flanders
usually meant
a special stop
The Mine Centre Store.

Once inside,
we were allowed to pick out
a treat and something small
from the toy section.

I usually chose
chocolate milk
in a little carton
and a bag of chips
or maybe a chocolate bar.

My something small
was usually an Archie comic
or something crafty.

The toy section
sat in the front corner
of the store.
With homemade wooden shelving
at our backs,
we stood and carefully considered
the books and toys
on display before us.

Gram would ask Rob and I,
What would you like?
The possibility of picking anything
was so exciting.

She would encourage us again.
Pick out a little something
for at the house.

We would eventually make our way
to the cash register
with our arms full
of chocolate milk,
chocolate bars,
and toys.
The counter top was quickly filled
with our loot.

As she paid,
I thought to myself,
Grandma must be rich.

Little did I know
that it likely cost her
$5 – 10
but to me,
it felt like so much more.

I love that Grandma
did that for us.
It was exciting as a kid.
Maybe that’s why,
every once in a while,
I like to take our kids
to the dollar store
to pick out one toy
to bring home.
anything they want.

To see them standing
in an aisle
crammed with colourful toys
from floor to ceiling
(regardless if they are plastic
and will break in no time),
trying to decide
in sheer excitement
what they will bring home,
it makes me very happy.

That’s what childhood should be.

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