Old general stores had most everything, back in their day,
You could sit on their porch, they even had checkers to play.
Some had a crank up telephone for folks to call friends,
But they charged by the minute, the calls had short ends.
When telephones came out the stores first got ’em,
Sam delivered messages on his bike for a small sum.
Five cents a mile, a fair deal he thought,
Some folks were pleased, some said he shouldn’t ought.
When you got a Bell telephone you could call your own,
Chances were it was a party line that Bell put in your home.
Then you’d be taking messages and that too was fine,
And listening in on party line calls was the best pastime.
Those were the days of the Model T Ford,
Ten gallons of gas was a lot to afford.
The big gas bowl held 10 gallons up to the top,
As it drained down you could watch the gas drop.
General stores were important for everyone then,
They stocked most everything for outside and in,
If the generals didn’t have it, it’s safe to say,
It just wasn’t to be had back in that day.
Sam as boy, ran errands for the store on the corner,
Delivered the merchandise that the folks would order.
Sometimes he got a tip of a penny or two,
For delivering groceries like he used to do.
General Stores were everywhere from east to west,
A good place to meet neighbors or just sit and rest.
The old-timers on the porch don’t look too energetic,
And I find it’s easy for myself to be empathetic.
Some folks would just stop to hear the news,
Or swap opinions or express their views.
Others would congregate to swap stories and lies,
Or just take power swings with a swatter at flies.
In colder months they would socialize inside the store,
Discuss politics, play poker, chess, checkers and more.
Or just sit by the coal stove and warm up for a spell,
Listen to storytellers, some could lie like hell.
You still might find one in some small town,
But if there’s any real business there to be found,
Watch for this guy Sam, he got real smart,
He’ll probably buy it and build a big new Walmart.
I met Sam Walton onetime at Jim and Tammy’s place,
It was at Christmas, when they were still in good grace.
I had a chat with Sam and his wife at the time,
No bones about it he made it clear, he was on a climb.
I remember one thing he promised that he had a goal,
He would open a new store each month and remain in control.
Another goal was, his would be the largest store in the world,
Which is just what he did and lived to see it unfold.
The bottom line in the poem shows there is no limit,
Even with an impossible goal if you just don’t quit it.
Whoever thought that a delivery boy who gave it a whirl,
Would have the biggest general store in the whole wide world.
That was Sam, he was the man, he’s done it and gone,
He was a super merchant and met competition head on.
There was only one Sam Walton the leader of it all,
Should we praise or blame him for the little guy’s fall.