It was typically a Sunday afternoon, and always in the spring or summer. We'd grab our bikes from the garage, his red and mine purple, and we'd take off. If I close my eyes and put myself back there, I can still feel the sun shining on my face and wind blowing my hair all over the place. Along the way we'd chat about school or friends, and we'd pass by "The Pits", which I think was an intended development at one point, but ended up being the high school keg party spot. It was only two or three miles away, and we'd be at The Old Country Store before long.
Once there, we'd lean our bikes up along the railroad fence that ran down the side of the parking lot and head inside, passing the big Native American statue that stood alongside the entrance. Walking into that store felt like stepping back in time. As soon as you crossed the doorway, the smell of pickles was the first thing to hit you. They have these two huge, wooden barrels full of pickles. I don't know of anywhere else you can even find something like that! The inside was constructed entirely of wood, wrought iron, and glass; A real old-fashioned General Store. Our trips always had a predictability that, today, brings me such comfort. We'd each grab a soda, in the authentic glass bottles, and a bag of fresh-roasted peanuts so we could go sit on the brick stairs and share a snack. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just sat and watched people come and go. Each and every time is a cherished moment in my life that I wish I could recreate when we are having a bad day. What I would give to just go back for a carefree bike ride, some peanuts, and a soda. It seemed so simple back then.
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