Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Corner Grocery Store

There were no such things as supermarkets when I was young. The housewives would walk each day (or perhaps every second day) to the grocery store then on to the butcher shop, the green grocer and finally the dairy to purchase the daily household food needs. ”Our” grocer was Mr Isadore Goldsmith, a short, rotund man with thinning hair, big ears and sad eyes who always wore a white apron and gold pince-nez spectacles.

The Corner Grocery Store

Gold letters on green painted windows
Proclaim for the world to be seen
“I. Goldsmith - Family Grocer “
But who knows what they really mean?

He’s a refugee from Lithuania
Least that’s what mother told me
And he’s come to this faraway country
To live and to work and be free

Quiet spoken and short of stature
Ruddy face, big nose and thin hair
He’s proud of his little business
And treats all his customers fair

He’s there each day at eight- thirty
Sweeps dust off the red polished floor
Takes the shutters down from the windows
Flings wide the brown painted door

Round his middle he ties a white apron
Dusts glass jars on the counter displayed
Counts change into the cash register
Issy Goldsmith is ready for trade

All day he weighs out white flour
Brown rice, refined sugar and beans
His shop may be small but he’s happy
Since it’s made him a man of some means

Sometimes he thinks of his homeland
Of the family and friends left behind
But if thoughts cause his eyes to go misty
They are quickly dismissed from his mind

If a customer’s fallen on hard times
And for much needed goods cannot pay
He books it till things have got better
Mister Goldsmith turns no one away

He knows what it’s like to be hungry
To have will but be without means
To struggle when things are against you
Yesterday that was where he had been

Look again at the green painted windows
At the words the gold letters proclaim
And maybe you will know for the first time
That there’s more, much more in a name

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