Friday, October 20, 2017


Hero and I grew up in Lubbock in West Texas. His grandparents had a country store at a crossroads south of Lubbock. Now it might be called a convenience store, but that wasn’t what it was then.

Theirs was the grocery store for those not prosperous enough to drive into Lubbock or who didn’t want to invest the time. They had a meat counter and canned goods. I’m not sure how much fresh produce they had, but I know some was offered. Hero’s grandparents had a peach orchard beside the store. They sold gasoline also, not like the mega-stations today, but with only two pumps.

This type of grocery store didn’t have air-conditioning, so the building was warm in summer. Usually a couple of large fans turned to keep the air moving and help with West Texas’ summer heat. Fans made the store bearable but didn’t help chocolate, which got a funny white look on top even though it wasn’t melted. In summer, these stores usually stuck with several peanut products, Payday candy bars, Big Hunk candy bars, jawbreakers, etc., and Hero’s favorite—the peanut patty.

I don’t know if peanut patties are sold nation-wide or if it’s a Texas thing. If you’ve never had one, let me describe them for you. They are usually round, though some come in state shapes. The raw (shelled but unroasted) peanuts are poured into a red-colored candy then into molds.

Don’t confuse a peanut patty with peanut brittle. Different thing. Also not a praline. The candy is not as hard as brittle or as soft as a praline. Peanut patties have a one-of-a-kind taste.  

Hero noticed that in prosperous times, patties included more peanuts. In bad times, fewer peanuts meant more of the red, sugary candy. He jokes that he can tell the state of the nation’s fiscal health from a peanut patty.

What nostalgia writing this post arouses! With fondness, I can recall the smell of the old country stores. They used to sweep with some kind of oil to keep down dust and the fragrance lingered. They were usually dimly lit and carried a little of everything.

Each summer, Hero, his mom, and siblings went to stay a week or two with his grandparents to deep-clean the store. His grandparents’ home was built onto the rear of the store. Needless to say, Hero and his siblings were not fans of their forced-labor duty. Hero and his brother had to sleep on floor pallets in a screened-in porch and could see the night creatures—some of which tried to scratch through the screen.

Hero learned valuable lessons from helping his grandfather. For instance:

A customer comes in and says, “I want a pound of bologna.” You ask, “How do you want that sliced?”

A customer comes in and says, “Give me three slices of bologna.” You slice it thick. Simple law of survival.  

At the time Royal Crown Cola contained more ounces than other soft drinks, so RC was a popular drink. If you didn’t buy a bag of peanuts to pour into the bottle, you bought a big Moon Pie. I wonder if there are country stores left where people still by Moon Pies and drink a big RC?

I know peanut patties are still popular. Occasionally Hero buys one to remind him of his roots and have a yummy treat simultaneously. And, he can do an analysis of the country’s prosperity while enjoying his peanut patty.

By the way, yesterday was the release for my friend Joan Reeves' novella in the box set, A CHRISTMAS SHE'LL REMEMBER. This set includes books by seven USA Today and NYTimes bestselling authors: Joan Reeves, Mimi Barbour, Patricia Rosemoor, Tamar Ferguson, Alicia Street, Ev Bishop, and Stephanie Queen. All this for only 99 cents! Here's the link:  

Please remember my latest releases, MISTLETOE MISTAKE (a Christmas story) and PRUDENCE, Bride Brigade book 7. You can find them on my Amazon Author Page with my other releases:

Also take note that three of my Loving a Rancher Series of the Montana Sky Series Kindle World books are on sale for only 99 cents each. They include MURDOCH'S BRIDE, BRIDE'S ADVENTURE, and THE RANCHER AND THE SHEPHERDESS. They'll be on sale all of October. 

Please pass the word! Many, many thanks to those of you who've already purchased them!

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1 comment:

Marianne said...

What a fun post, Caroline. I never had a peanut patty but I remember RC Cola and moon pies. Taking a walk down memory lane is always fun.