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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 4, December 2012

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Elizabeth Howard
Crossville, Tennessee, U.S.A.


Forbus General Store

A gorgeous Sunday in September, we decide to take a trip on US 127, site of the world’s longest yard sale, held each August. The scenery is wonderful, stunning peaks and breath-taking valleys giving way to rolling hills, cows and horses, an occasional deer. The trees are beginning to change, bits of red, orange, yellow mixed in the green foliage. Needing a break, we stop at Forbus General Store in Pall Mall, Tennessee, established in 1892. Pickup trucks are parked everywhere. The porch is crammed with antique oddities, craft items, and chainsaw art.

crisp air
a cache of cicada shells
in a hollow stump

We step inside—blinking in the darkness. As our eyes adjust, we realize we have stepped back in time to our grandparents’ world. The walls are plastered with framed newspaper clippings, yellowed photographs, faded signs. At one time, the store served as post office, gristmill, and blacksmith shop. It sold clothing, guns, school textbooks, coffins, and many other items. In the back of the store at rough-hewn tables, men of all ages are playing cards. We learn the game is Pig, a feverish favorite in these parts. They even hold a World Pig Championship here in February each year. Several men are eating breakfast: fried eggs, country ham or fried bologna, cathead biscuits, all smothered in white gravy. We buy ham biscuits, homemade fudge (chocolate with black walnuts), and apple butter. We sit on the edge of the porch eating our biscuits and fudge.

rippling hills
a kettle of hawks
in the blue sky

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