At Shade River Bend, about Mile 210, there was an old-time grocery store run by a woman whose last name was Hensley. I forget her first name. Her sister was there that day, and I think they had a dog in the store, too.
It was an old, old store. I think Ms. Hensley said her father, a man named Swan or Swann, had started the store decades before, and she had taken it over. Ms. Hensley was the shorter of the two women in this photo.
State Route 124 runs along the river there. In this case there was the river, the road and the store in a small rise above the road. One of the two women looked out at the bend, where you almost do a 180, and said she knows how the boats keep from running into each other: radar. I was tempted to say it was probably radio, but why argue with or try to embarrass someone unnecessarily?
One thing I liked was what was in the background of this photo.
See all those pop bottles? Six to a paper carton, and six cartons to a wooden case that was loaded or unloaded onto the delivery trucks. These are 16-ounce bottles, although from my days in my parents' country store in the 1960s I remember 12-ounce bottles, too, and the smaller Coke bottles. And most of the cases are the old wood variety.
It's been years since I've been up that way. The last time I can remember being there was in fall 1988, and by then the store was closed, I think. The building was there, but from the looks of things the store was out of business. Of course, Ms. Hensley and her sister probably passed away years ago.
They would have been among the last of the old country stores along the Ohio River. Now we have convenience stores, which sell a different mix of merchandise and operate on a different business model.
When I drive the river road wherever I am, I tend to look for buildings that remind me of the old country stores like the one I grew up in. And when I see one, I always wonder what stories need to be told before they're forgotten forever. Including my own.