I’m not sure if you Yankee’s have one, but every good southern town has a Terry’s One Stop. Oh, It may go by the name “Bubba’s” or “Red’s” but know this, it is more than likely named after its original owner and is a hubbub of good ole boy activity. There is probably a cooler with minnows in the corner during the summer and in the fall, men in camouflage are buying their license at the counter.
I pity you city folk with your Wal-Mart’s and Targets. You miss out on over priced milk(I just paid $3.75 for a half-gallon) and sure, you fill your entire gas tank as opposed to my $10.oo in the tank to get me into town, but what you miss in exchange for your savings is immeasurable.
When you walk through the door of Terry’s the aroma of Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes greets you along with a raspy congested cough from the toothless gal behind the register with the Pall Mall between hot pink lips. She greets you with a “Hey suga’, You gettin some gas ?” Her smile reveals poor dental hygiene and the Pall Mall hangs on for dear life as the ashes spill onto the counter. She turns to ring up your overpriced half-gallon of milk and you notice “Henry” tattooed over her left side of her chest. Probably an ex-husband. But you aren’t judging, because you know her, and she knows you. You run in all the time and she has you memorized. A half-gallon of milk, $10 in gas and maybe some expired cat food or toilet paper. Most her customers are standing in line and waiting for lottery tickets with their cases of Michelob, so you, well, you just stand out to her.
The cat, that always seems to wind around your feet while you wait purrs up at you. You nudge it back with your foot. Only Terry’s can have wandering cats, and a pizzeria in the same square footage. The cat takes the hint and jumps up on the formica picnic table that sits in the open beside the beer cooler. The old guys sit there. If you make an early morning stop, they are drinking coffee and eating sausage biscuits. They laugh their loud raucous laugh at someones joke and the one in the corner reads the sport stats out loud the rest of them. This late in the evening, there is only one or two old guys remaining. The rest have made their way home for dinner, and the one left now doesn’t look like he has anyone waiting at home on him. He’ll probably wrap the night up with the leftover pepperoni and sausage no one ever picked up.
As I make my way out I look at the bulletin board by the door and amidst the hundreds of business cards, I see Wayne’s Midstate Card. It sits there above the lost and found coon dog picture and just below the “free rabbits” sign.
I open the door and it only takes a moment for the scent of Terry’s to fill the car as it clings to my clothes and hair. “Shew, you smell like Terry’s.” Wayne says. I guess that’s why he offers to drive, so he doesn’t have to go in.
But I don’t mind. No I’ll go in and pick up the milk. Terry’s One Stop, a slice of southern pie.