Thursday, February 6, 2014

Magic Carpet Ride

Growing up my parents owned and operated an herb store.  It was right off the main road through town, and the house I grew up in was on the same property.  It was a part of my world growing up because it was just right there in our front yard.  I saw the store as a place of wonder and adventure, so many different smells and things to look at.  There were shelves upon shelves of jars of herbs.  But there was also so much more. My dad like to mix and grind his own coffee.  At first I hated the sound of the coffee grinder, it was loud and it rattled something fierce, but I came to love the smell of the freshly ground coffee. My parents also sold tea, soaps, shampoos, books, magazines, candy, tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia.  I liked to hang out in the shop with mom, and smell all the things.

One day, while I was out in the shop "helping" mom Mrs. Bolick, a family friend, and her daughter, Ava, came in.  Ava and I were the same age, she was one of the few kids I knew at the time.  I didn't see her very often, but we'd play together when her parents would come in to shop in the store or to say hi to my parents.  Our moms went into the back room where they could sit down and chat, Ava and I found ourselves unsupervised in the store front.

Seemed like the perfect place to play shop, I was the owner and Ava was the customer.  Ava was looking for the best smelling shampoo and it was my job to help her find it.  It started out innocent enough, but quickly became a race to grab and sniff the shampoo.  We didn't bother putting bottles back on the shelf, that would have taken precious time away from grabbing and smelling the next bottle.  We had steadily growing pile of shampoo bottles on the floor beside us.  Shit got real ('yo) when we found ourselves going for the same bottle.  It was an all-out struggle to get the bottle.  In the struggle the open was opened, and the now open bottle was squeezed just enough that it splooged out onto the carpet.  

Uh oh.  

We stopped and stared.  I can't remember who had the shampoo bottle at this point, I'm pretty sure it was me.  I can remember that ugly carpet.  It was a spotty green, black, yellow mess.  And now there was a streak of shiny shampoo on it.  Ava reached her foot out and smeared her toe around in the shampoo, it was kind of slick.  We looked at each other and were struck by the same idea.  A new game began.  We took turns sliding on the nice slick carpet.  Quickly, we learned we weren't sliding nearly far enough.  We required more shampoo.  I squeezed out the remainder of the trophy bottle and we proceeded to slide through the shampoo on our rear ends.  It was more fun with more shampoo, so we continued to add more after each slide.  The shampoo slick on the carpet grew longer and wider.  We emptied about 7 bottles before we were caught.

I don't remember being in trouble, but I'm pretty sure I was.  I remember Ava's mom looking horrified, and my mom just staring at the carpet.  What ever the punishment was, it was worth it.  We had so much fun sliding on that ugly carpet.  I did feel a little bad, where we had our shampoo slide, the carpet was never the same.  There was a stain there after we moved to a new place, and probably was still there when the building was torn down not long after we moved.  Looking back on that I still remember the fun.  I tried to look for a picture of me in the store, or a picture of the ugly carpet but I couldn't find one in any of my young Emily albums.  It's kind of a shame really, it was a big part of our world growing up.  I'm thankful for the memories and will always think fondly of the herb store.


  1. I always thought of the herb store as a fun and magical place too! I don't remember that we sold shampoo though..... Hmm.... I do remember scented oils, honey, and yummy caramels. And there was that one company that would send Jolly Ranchers along with the herbs. :)

  2. I forgot about the Jolly Rangers!! It was such a neat business. Sometimes I really miss it, but I also understand why the sold it. Hopefully I can come up with some more memories!