Rolling Store and a Confession

Since the nearest country store was almost three miles away, and trips to the county seat were only two or three times per year, we were almost always in need of a few items.  Fortunately, the capitalist drive for profit came to our rescue.  If we couldn't go to the store, the store came to us.  An enterprising uncle, using the chassis of about a 1935 truck, constructed a body with plenty of shelf room.  He then filled this body with items that farm families needed- flour, sugar, spices, tobacco, oatmeal, soap, toothpaste, baking soda, and, of course, candies.

This well-stocked truck had a daily schedule which kept it on the road five days per week.  It included our house on the schedule each week.  Not only could we make purchases using cash, we could also sell or barter butter, eggs, and live chickens to buy from the rolling store.  Chickens were weighed by tying their feet together, then hanging them on a hand scale.  While we didn't buy much from the rolling store, it was an exciting time when it came.

I had always heard that a criminal's guilt is relieved when he confesses the crime.  One section of the store had sliding glass doors, making the boxes of candy visible from the ground.  Each week I could see and drool over chocolate candy bars.  The Baby Ruth bars looked especially delicious.  Although they were priced at one cent per bar, there was no family money for such a foolish extravagance.

One week the traveling store was parked at our house.  My uncle and my family were inside the house.  I hoping no one could see the truck, or weren't watching.  I grabbed the side of the truck and pulled myself up, sliding the door in front of the candy open.  I quickly grabbed a one-cent bar of Baby Ruth and ran to the barn.  No one had noticed, and I quickly unwrapped and ate the candy.  Being a criminal was a new feeling for me, but I hid the wrapping paper and wiped my mouth carefully.  I was cautious about my breath.  For the rest of the day I made sure no one smelled chocolate or my breath.

My parents would have been ashamed so of my selfish act.  They might still be striking my rear with a switch, but their shame at my act would have been heartbreaking.  Needless to say, I did confide my transgression to any of the family members.  Even after more than seventy years, it is embarrassing to admit to being a thief.

NEXT: Barefoot