You can have it all, if by all you mean:
A nice Malbec, kitty litter, a ground rod, an axe helve, the newspaper, new boots, clothbound cheddar, bubble bath, tennis balls, lemons, c-clamps, handkerchiefs, greeting cards, carrot seeds, copy paper, a hunting knife, chimney brushes, fresh bread, pickling salt, a mop, fan belt, door knob, skim milk, flannel shirt, “No Trespassing” signs, and a John Deere toy tractor.
The Willey’s Store, owned and operated by five generations of the Willey family in Greensboro, Vermont looks deceptively simple from the outside. But within the 100 + year old store on Breezy Avenue they have just about everything a rural denizen could hope for.
Thanks to their inventory I have penned my livestock, fixed my plumbing, picked beets, brewed coffee, hung paintings, dug holes, gone sledding, rewired a lamp and mended the button on my pants, for starters.
Let’s say I needed chain—why they’ve got double loop chain, galvanized cable, and Jack chain among others. Or say I needed a clasp of some kind—I could buy a zinc breech snap or a blue eye grab hook or boat snaps or cable clamps—and that’s a partial list.
One time I was standing in line, waiting to pay for my motley assortment of earthly goods when one of the hardware staff wandered over to the checkout counter with a live skunk cradled in his arms. The skunk’s face was snuggled deep in the crook, but its body squirmed and we customers flinched in alarm—“What are you doing?! He’s going to spray!”
The man smiled and said he’d just captured the poor bugger in the basement and promised that as long as you kept them blind, as he was, there was no chance of it spraying.
I can not remember what I bought that day, mayonnaise? Toothpaste? Carriage bolts? But I will never forget watching the cashier turn and pet that held skunk.
This morning as I was appraising the variety of chimney brooms I asked Rob senior, a member of the store’s fourth generation, and an oracle of the store’s hardware section, “Do you remember that skunk from the basement? That was extraordinary.”
Rob laughed, “Oh yeah, that was back when John Kapusta, used to work here. He’s a former game warden. That skunk was just a pelt.”
I stared at Rob incredulously.
“Yeah, the way he was holding it, he was using his hidden hand to make it move. Oh, we almost died laughing watching him do that, I only wished we had store cameras back then, it would have been great to playback everybody’s amazement.”
Right now I’m thinking of all the little life- sustaining things I’ve purchased at Willey’s Store over the years. Almost everything I could ever need.
Except a cure for gullibility.