Besides being suppliers of necessities, grocery stores were important social centres. Merry banter, good wishes, congratulations and gossip were exchanged. They were meeting places. Seldom were unkind, or uncomplimentary remarks made. A visit to the store was a release of tension, loneliness and sadness. It was a news media, too.
"Hello, Joe! I haven't seen you in a dog's age."
"A dog's age indeed! I've been locked in my shack for so long I'm really lonesome. It is a treat to see you. Snow! Snow! It's all one can see. I couldn't resist coming to town when a warmer day came along."
I've just picked up a bag of mail, some groceries and two gallons of coal oil. I'm looking forward to doing some reading. I don't know what is happening in the world."
"I'm so low on groceries I've been eating oatmeal three times a day. Coffee, sugar and tobacco will make my life worth living again. Doesn't this store look good? That cheese, those apples and that candy makes my mouth water."
"Why not come over for supper tomorrow evening? My wife and I are lonely, too. I'll ask Ben to come over also, and we can play a few games of whist."
"Thank you, Joe. That will be great for me. May I bring my violin? If you'll play your accordion, we'll have an orchestra."
"Please do, Martin. I'd like to play with you. I need the practice."
"Hello, Annie! What's news in our world?" Joe asked of Annie Carlson.
"Did you hear that there will be an election, a provincial election on May 29th?"
"No, I did not. I would hardly know who to vote for. I'd better go home and study these newspapers. This cold winter and all this snow is letting the world go by me. What else is new?"
"Oh yeah! Tell Nancy to read the election papers too, because women are going to be allowed to vote. They've been fighting for it long enough."
"Women vote! What is this country coming to? That will be the ruination of the whole government. Excuse me, Annie, but I've no use for a 'petticoat vote'."
"There is to be another machine shop put up over on the west side. Dad is going to cut up ice and pack it, so we can have ice cream next summer. He bought some sawdust last week. There were several new babies registered at Bergman's post office. I saw four new men get off the train last Monday. They will be working on the section. Charlie Tonberg and Tom Nesting each bought a new car."
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