Coolidge and Sons Country Store

Submitted into Contest #19 in response to: Write a short story about a shop that takes place over a span of years.... view prompt



Johnny Coolidge Jr. stamped the snow from his feet and slammed the door.

"Myer's cows got out again. Jeez when is he ever going to fix that fence?"

He hooked the worn wooden chair with his boot and sat down by the pot belly stove. His mother came from the back kitchen with a steaming cup of bone broth.

"Here son, get this down ya to warm your old bones." She laughed softly and ruffled his hair.

"When you got a notion, you can deliver the oats and suet to widow Jenson. She tells me her grandaughter is visiting from the city."

Johnny suddenly warmed up quickly as he thought of Jessica Jensen. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.

"Okay mom."

On his way out the door he grabbed some penny candy from the glass jars. hoping maybe sasperilla drops would make her sweet on him.

He loaded up the horse drawn carriage in the livery. Snow fell in swirls covering the town in white. Even the dirty sawdust on the wooden sidewalks was blanketed.

As he guided the horse through the drifts, he saw someone waving a red flag. He snapped the reins and headed quickly towards the old farmhouse.

It was Jessica. She dropped the flag and ran breathless towards him.

"My grandmother. She fell and lies unconscious. Can we take her to Doc?"

Johnny leapt from the carriage and ran towards the kitchen door.

The old woman lay on the cold stone floor quietly moaning.

He grabbed a woven blanket from the couch and wrapped her gently.

"Everything is okay now. We can ride to the doctors office and get you well."

He lifted her and carried her to the carriage. Jessica was already on the flatbed making a impromptu bed.

She cradled her grandmother as Johnny took off into the storm.

A few hours later widow Jensen was relaxing in the doctors office, wrapped in blankets by the fire. She sipped her tea.

" I'll be fine overnight Jessica. Maybe this sweet young man can take you home and perhaps come by tomorrow to pick me up. God bless you Johnny Coolidge"

He blushed as Jessica smiled sweetly at him.

"Sure Mrs Jensen, whatever is best."

That evening when he dropped Jessica off at her grandmother's house, she leaned across the leather bench and kissed him softly on the cheek.

The next morning when he picked her up, he knew that she would one day be his bride.

The next two years were filled with joy and sadness. Johnny and Jessica did indeed get married. Widow Jenson now walking with a cane, told anyone that would listen that she was the match maker of this joyous reunion.

That winter his father died of smallpox. Not long after his mother followed him.

Johnny held his new born son at his mother's funeral. He felt as if he was stepping into a new life from before. The only remaining factor was the family store. Coolidge and Sons General Store.

He took over from his father and began training his own young son with chores like stocking shelves and eventually delivery.

His son rode the clumsy delivery bike through the snow to deliver dry goods to the people in town. He returned back to the store, red faced and exhausted.

He stamped the snow from his feet and slammed the door.

"Dad, Billy is selling tickets to the rodeo so I need an advance pay to buy two, I'm taking that pretty girl I met in town last week."

That weekend he went to the rodeo and he fell in love. When he graduated from business school in the city, he took his girl to the look out point and proposed.

I can't offer much Sarah, but I promise you a good honest living in my family store.

They entered the country store together and knocked on his father's office door. Johhny Coolidge was now an old man. His beautiful wife Jessica had died last year and he had just never recovered.

He now held his son and future daughter in law in a shaky embrace and whispered,

"Now you are in charge of our family store son. I know you will do well, the two of you."

Old man Coolidge died four days after holding his grandson named after him.

The young couple now stood and admired the modern Coolidge Country Store. Shelves were filled with everything a modern housewife would want.

They kept the silver bell above the front door that signalled each customer's arrival.

The bell rang now, shaking the couple from their reverie.

Their teenage son, dressed in a parka strode in with the cold wind.

He stamped the snow from his feet and slammed the door.

"Man, I just changed the distributor last week and it's busted again."

December 11, 2019 20:30

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