â€œI love that place!â€ I said as I handed my husband his Rx. He laughed. â€œMe too. If it ever shuts down Iâ€™ll go into mourning.â€
â€œThat placeâ€ is one of our local drug stores. How it hangs on is a mystery, but Iâ€™m glad it does. Itâ€™s not the kind of drug store that ever had a fountain service or a cosmetic counter. Nope. This is the kind of store youâ€™d probably drive byâ€¦quicklyâ€¦if you were not a local. It looks a bit ramshackle but thatâ€™s only because it is.
Once inside, the lack of ambiance is more than compensated for by its humanness. Handwritten poster board signs hang from the ceiling and indicate where to find things. â€œKitchen Goods.â€ â€œCosmetics.â€ â€œSnacks.â€ The aisles hold a mishmash of items that are both quaint and kitschy. Dusty and new, or perhaps newly dusty. Itâ€™s a bewildering, charming, blend of perceived needs.
Why do I love it? Because it is so darn refreshing in its humbleness. The floors are cement and uneven. The shelves are lightly stocked with a few brands as opposed to thirty. Sometimes the ceiling leaks. The staff rarely changes.
When my husband first moved to town under the pretext of dating me, he was a certified city boy. He asked me which drug store to go to because the one near the stoplight lookedâ€¦umâ€¦better. â€œOh no,â€ I said. â€œThat one canâ€™t compare to the one I always go to. My drug store maybe the ugly cousin, but it has a heart of gold.â€
His first visit was a cautious one. But, soon after, he was on a first name basis with the pharmacist and the pharmaceutical assistant. I smirked when I overheard a recent callâ€”
â€œWayne?â€ said my husband. â€œItâ€™s Tad. Yeah, I need to refillâ€¦â€
Today I stopped by the drug store to pick up that prescription. As soon as I walked into the store the woman behind the counter stopped eating a donut long enough to say, â€œHerro!â€ (accent food induced.) Nom, nom, nom. I smiled and responded in kind. I didnâ€™t need anything besides the Rx, and yet walking around the store filled me with pleasure. Eventually I made my way to the pharmacy counter which is about three feet wide. Sarah came out from the mysteries of “the back room.”
â€œIâ€™m here to pick up Tadâ€™s prescription.â€
She smiled, pulled a box out from beneath the counter, flipped through the bags and handed me the one with Tadâ€™s name. â€œPlease sign hereâ€¦â€ as she slide a college ruled notebook at me.
Iâ€™ve never paid attention to the notebook, but it somehow helps them keep track of Rx transactions. There is no sign of a computer.
â€œGee, I feel like a rock star handing out autographs, â€œ I said with an exaggerated toss of my hair. A Mona Lisa smile played at her lips. I signed, and then turned to leave.
â€œHave a great day,â€ she said.
A great day? It was the best part of my day.