Aunt Hester’s Farm Store: Elbert

One of the few remaining businesses in Elbert, population 56 or thereabouts, is the Farm Store.  My grandmother’s Aunt Hester operated it when I was a child.  There were two stores then, but Mama bought her groceries at Aunt Hester’s, of course.  There were shelves along the walls, and a couple of rows of shorter and wider shelves in the center of the store.  There was a small meat counter that held fresh meat and cheese–the kind in the big yellow wheel with the red rind.  Lunch meat came in a long stick, and she would slice off the amount you needed and wrap it in white butcher paper.  The meat I get from the BTC Old Fashioned Grocery Store in Water Valley is still wrapped in white butcher paper.

At the front of the store, just to the left as you walked in the door, was a small red Coke machine, dispensing bottles for 5 cents.  We would get a Coke to drink while pushing the basket around the store.  Aunt Hester was a small, thin woman, with gray hair, and not given to smiling much that I can recall.

I haven’t been in the store since I became an adult, and Aunt Hester died many years ago.  The man who owns the store now also bought my grandparents’ farm.  At some point, he added the metal siding; prior to that, it was an unpainted wooden structure, and the place along the wall where the outside stairway had been removed was still visible.  Metal siding may be easier maintenance, but the wooden structure was definitely more appealing.

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