As I do some nights when I can’t sleep, I’ll surf the internet looking for random things; sometimes serious and sometimes silly. Well tonight I just felt like doing Google searches for different things that have meant a lot to me in the past, in an attempt to get inspiration for a painting or a picture. In my many random searches, I searched Wildie, Ky. just to see what pictures might come up. While searching I came across a blog entitled Unusual Kentucky which appears to be a blog written by an individual who travels the state and shares interesting findings. One of the blog’s entries was simply titled “The Nameless Grocery” with the below picture. Well I immediately knew the store, its one of the few staples of Wildie along with the church and Jan’s, simply known as Ballard’s or Ballard’s store.
So, even though the post was made in 2008, I sent in a comment explaining that even though the store didn’t have a name, it was genuinely known as Ballard’s, and how everyone knew Ballard. In typing my comment, I started thinking about when I was little. I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I stepped foot in that old store, but I could remember the coolers in the back where as soon as I walked in with my Dad I’d run back there. Or learning to play pool on the pool table, or going from confusion, to acceptance, to practice of putting peanuts into a bottle of Coke. I remember sitting on the old wooden bench with my Dad and brother. I can see Ballard wearing his glasses, and can almost hear his somewhat high pitched voice, and the old phone he had sitting right next to where he’d sit in his wheelchair.
Every ounce of it, are fond, happy memories. Ones that I haven’t thought about in a long long time. Its almost bittersweet recollecting on such a simpler happier time. Its nice to remember being that carefree. Where just the simple fact that getting to ride down to Wildie with my Dad overjoyed me, or the feeling of the dew and cool fall air blow through the valley as a bunch of us played football in the backyard of my aunt and uncle’s house. Remembering what it was like to not have to worry about bills and taxes and blah blah blah. Where I still looked at my Daddy as my hero and never thought I’d be that old. Its sad, because the way the world is now, my kids, my niece and nephews, they’ll never have a place like Ballard’s. I doubt they’ll have places where the sound of a board creaking, or the smell of pinewood and dust triggers some memory. Its sad that our lives have become so complicated, and I don’t mean by simply becoming adults, but it seems like everyone’s life, every generation has become more complicated. Who knows, this perspective could be one that every generation has as that pass from child to parent. Regardless, I hope I’m able to find ways down the road as my children get older, to give them some of the things that my Dad gave me growing up, by simply taking me to a nameless store. At least nameless to anyone not fortunate enough to truly know.