Someone at the cash register who knows your name

Published 6:37 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wouldn’t you, if you could?

Step out of your own story,

to lean against a doorway

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of the Five & Dime,

sipping your coffee,

your life, somewhere

far behind you,

all its heat and toil

nothing but a tale

resting in the hands

of a stranger,

the sidewalk ahead

wet and glistening.

–  Danusha Laméris, excerpt from “Fictional Characters”

Winter snowflakes bring memories of browsing narrow aisles of a five and dime store – big plate-glass windows letting in a dusting of pale-yellow sun, long varnished stretches of wood floors creaking underfoot, high tin ceilings, bins of candy, work gloves, cotton bandanas folded neatly, knick-knacks, feather dusters, tall shelves of hardware – what seemed to be everything under the sun.

Little Golden books, straw brooms and Moon Pies were there too. The scent of dry wood, hot dogs and coffee filled the air.
Here in Saluda, we still have stores that evoke many of those memories of five and dimes and old general stores from the past: the restored Thompson’s Store, the M.A. Pace store. Times change, yet people still yearn for simple things, friendly faces, someone at the cash register who knows your name.

Downtown Saluda is quieter in winter months; it’s a good time to come for a delicious meal or stroll main street. Who knows, you might find some memories too along the sidewalks, benches, historic stores, galleries, shops and good smells from restaurants.


NC Small Town Main Street monthly meetings are scheduled the third Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. at Saluda Library. A Valentine’s Party will be hosted by the promotions team on Feb. 14 at Saluda Fire Department; tickets available at Thompson’s Store or Cathy Jackson Realty.

Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday, with dinner served from 5:30- 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Saluda United Methodist Church. All welcome; donations accepted.

Honor a loved one with an engraved brick paver for Pace Park. Proceeds go toward building public restrooms at this community park to be located downtown near M.A. Pace Store. For additional information, contact Catherine Ross at 828-749-3534 or

Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) can benefit from your donations or your time as a volunteer for their many community projects. Contact SCLT at 828-749-1560 or visit

There’ll be a community potluck and bingo night at Saluda Center, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.

Book your spot for Thompson’s Store’s “Let the Good Times Roll” music series with a Mardi Gras party in the upstairs Boarding House venue, March 1, starting at 5:30 with music, dancing, food; make reservations by Feb. 24; call Judy Ward at 828-749-2321.

Art news: Saluda artist Bill Jameson is currently featured in Southwest Art. Stoney Lamar’s retrospective show is now showing in San Francisco. For artists interested in participating in the 11th Saluda Art Festival on May 17, the deadline to enter is March 15; for information, contact Susie Welsh at 828-749-3900, or Catherine Ross at 828-749-3534,

Happy January birthday to Brandy Bradley, Alex Bardos, Carolyn Ashburn, Scott Kinard, Donna Bond, Greer Eargle, Wyatt Alan Pace, Irma Anderson, Paul Aaybe, Rich Rauschenbach, Phyllis Arrington and Kenneth Justus. Please add your birthday to the list! I promise: no ages mentioned, unless you’re under two or over 100!

Thank you dear readers, for reading this column! As ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying a cup of hot tea and small town life in a friendly little mountain town called Saluda. You can contact me at; or 828-749-1153, visit my website at for more writing and art, or find me on facebook.