I was born in 1940 and one of my earliest memories is going to the country store with Daddy. I must have been about 5 years old because World War II had just ended and Daddy was working hard to earn a living for us farming in the mornings and working the evening shift at Erwin Mills. There was not much money to spend.
At first our visits to the store about a mile from home were made by mule and wagon until Daddy was able to finally save enough money to buy a used 1929 Model A Ford and to build a little four-room house for us on Grandpa’s land.
Borrowing was not an option for my daddy, Dalton Pope, but hard work and perseverance had finally paid it off. How happy Daddy, Mama and I were. We had a home of our own and an old car we rode until 1947.
However, as much work as there was to do, Daddy often took me with him to Mr. Fred’s Store in Plainview. I was daddy’s “little boy.” Daddy would not get his little boy, my brother, Dickie, until I was 6.
But, for now, I was No. 1 and I was so excited when I could go to the store with Daddy. I knew he would reach into his overalls pocket and hand me a nickel to spend for anything I wanted while he got what he came for. I would walk around with my precious nickel clutched in my hand.
Heaven forbid I would drop it as it might disappear in a crack in the wood floor or under a counter where I couldn’t reach it. While daddy was talking to men in the store I was deciding what to buy with my nickel. It was “serious shopping” for me.
I could choose from five pieces of candy, a Moon Pie, an oatmeal cookie, a nab, a popsickle, a cup of ice cream, a Nu-grape, and Orange Crush drink, an apple, orange or banana. What a hard decision, but I could only choose one.
In hot weather it would be something cool, such as an icicle or cold drink. In the winter I might choose a Moon Pie or fruit.
As the years went by, Daddy gave me a dime to spend and by the age of 12 or 13 I was given a whole quarter to spend on our Saturday trips to Dunn. How I looked forward to those Saturdays. In the 1950s, downtown Dunn was crowded with country folks who came to buy things they couldn’t find in the country store.
Traffic was crowded, very slow and you had to circle the block several times to find a parking space. It would be many years until there were malls. After Daddy parked in the 200 block of West Broad Street I would wait with bated breath for my quarter. I had more serious shopping to do.
I would go from Roses and McRory’s 5@10 to Butler and Caroll and Fitchett’s Drug stores just to look before deciding what to buy. Many of the items I would choose would cost $5 today. It took a lot of thought because I wanted to spend my money wisely.
I didn’t realize at that time in my young life that daddy had taught me valuable lessons.
Oh, those days. While I was going from store to store, Daddy would sit in his favorite spot, enjoying his favorite weekly treat, a bag of chocolate covered peanuts, dipped from the glass showcase at Rose’s store. In those days there was a lot of sidewalk traffic and a friend might stop by the car to chat with Daddy and share his candy. Daddy was a simple man and in hindsight I think he enjoyed those days in Dunn as much as I did.
From you Daddy, I learned many valuable lessons of life that have served me well. So, thank you for being my daddy. You left so suddenly and unexpectedly I never got the chance to express how much you meant to me, and thank God for blessing me to have you for 38 years.