Stories of the South - Pugh's 388 General Merchandise Cliftonville, MS Noxubee County
This store is actually the second store to sit at this location because the original store had to be torn down due to the road being widened and repaved. Mr. Jackie at one time had a deli, a laundromat, pool tables, dart boards, and it was the watering hole for the east side of the county. Workers going to Deerbrook Ranch and Weyerhaeuser stopped and bought breakfast, lunch, and a snack in the afternoons.
It was a typical country store like I grew up with where you could buy the local paper, a bag of ice, some rag bologna, hoop cheese, fishing tackle, pie filling, beer, roast peanuts, or an orange sherbet push-pop. So, just about anything you're little heart could dream up. These stores are few and far between now but you can still find them here and there. Pheba still has McKee's Kwik Stop, Montpelier has Duncan's (though I think Mr. Jackie Russell's store was better), and Woodland has Faulkner's Quick Stop. What makes these stores special is that they have everything. They sell more than just beer, cigarettes, and candy. They are an integral part of a rural community. On Sunday afternoon when your water line breaks you don't have time to go to town thirty minutes away to buy glue and a little pipe, and that's even if the store is open. With a good country store you just run up the road, get what you need, and you've got water again by 9:00 o'clock. (Hopefully.)
These are also the information centers of a rural community. I came in on the tail end of this store's long and storied history, so I don't know a 1/1000 of what has gone on there over the years. If the walls could talk, and maybe the produce scale in the back room, oh the tales that could be told. This store was where you got your daily dose of gossip, found out who was sick, who passed away, how the crops were doing, what was going on politically in the county, and just about anything else you needed to know. Beauty shops ain't got nothing on a good store.
Used to you would get a 6 ounce Coke in a glass bottle, sit and talk for a bit while you finished your drink, and then made sure to put it in a crate so it could be picked up by the Coke man. I can remember doing this with my dad at Mr. Johnny George's feed store in Mantee, MS when I was a little girl. There may have been a Snickers bar that was split between us but I'm not telling.... There's nothing better than a coke out of a glass bottle.
The store closed around Thanksgiving 2007. Mr. Jackie had been hurting in his back for a while and got to where he couldn't keep the store open all day. That's how my husband and his brother and sister knew something was wrong. The store has been closed since then and Mr. Jackie passed away January 11, 2008. It's hard to believe that it's been over six years.
I've had these pictures since the fall and have started and deleted a post on the store a dozen times. With me only knowing Mr. Jackie for a little over two years and not having the knowledge of the store like I think I should to be able to write this post I've honestly just not wanted to write it. I didn't want to do it a disservice. The store and Mr. Jackie meant so much to so many I sure didn't want to let anyone down or say the wrong thing. I've let my husband read this and gotten his approval to post along with a few edits. Thanks babe.
The world is changing so fast. I see the things I've grown up with slowly fading away and I want to somehow capture that, write about it while my memory is fresh, so that hopefully my daughter can look back and know how it was "when Daddy and Momma were young." I also want her to have the same sense of family history that I have. I don't know everything, there's no way to, but I appreciate what I do know and love learning new stuff I don't. My husband's family has such an interesting history, I want her know all about it!
Mr. Jackie was such a good person. He had a dry wit, and could always be counted on to come up with just the right thing off the top of his head. He was a wiz with numbers, loved Miller High Life beer, and thick cornbread. In all the years he operated his store he was only robbed twice. That stays something for his standing in the community.
The only store now between Brooksville and Pickensville is the Ten Tom 1 Stop, also known by the locals as the Bigbee Valley Wal-Mart. Yes, it has a good assortment of this and that, but it's still too shiny and new. It doesn't have the history or the texture of Mr. Jackie's store yet and honestly probably never will.
If you grew up with a store like this or you have a memory of Mr. Jackie's store you would like to share please comment below.
Have a great evening my lovelies!