The police scanner went crazy Monday after midnight. We couldn’t sleep. Finally, I called the dispatcher who told me it was a structure fire on South Grand near the school. I turned off the scanner so we could sleep.

Then about 3 a.m. I texted Davis who had left our house a little earlier after watching the Super Bowl and then a bunch of other stuff, I guess, and told him there was a fire about 2 a.m. near the school. He replied, “Already been there.” I asked if he got any photos. ”Yeah.” he sent back. Boy did he.

I called the Police Department Monday when I got to work and asked the location of the fire. I was told it was on the NW corner of Pine and Grand. I said, “That’s the Little Store.”

That’s where I ate lunch all during High School for $1.25 at week. Or you could eat for the same price in the school cafeteria. Tough choice for a kid.

The place was a controlled madhouse at lunch with Edith Begley in control. She ran a tight ship and served good food.

Husband Howard ran his garage just west of the Little Store. Dad said he could make a car run like a sewing machine. That meant he was good.

Their daughter, Jeanie, a cheerleader, was a couple of years older than me. Their son, Jimmie, was a few years younger than me.

I called Lana Wilson, the unofficial school historian, Monday. She said the school board closed the lunch hour in 1969.

Howard passed away from poor health years ago. Jimmie was killed while he was walking near Cedar Springs after his motorcycle quit. Edith died in a car wreck while turning around on Hwy. 71 on a cross over near Rich Hill.

Lana said that Jeanie called her Monday from Joplin where she lives. Lana said Jeanie told her the last time she went by the Little Store it was declining and she never went back.

Another landmark gone.

-Just received an obituary on Harold Moore. He’s the one who first told me, “Common sense is not all that common,” years ago right after we started here at the newspaper.

– Mary sent this to me:

We were dressed, and ready to go out for the New Year’s Eve Party. We turned on a night light, turned the answering machine on, covered our pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard.

We phoned the local cab company and requested a taxi. The taxi arrived and we opened the front door to leave the house.

As we walked out the door, the cat we had put out in the yard, scoots back into the house. We didn’t want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird.

My wife goes on out to the taxi, while I went back inside to get the cat. The cat runs upstairs, with me in hot pursuit. Waiting in the cab, my wife doesn’t want the driver to know that the house will be empty for the night. So, she explains to the taxi driver that I will be out soon, “He’s just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother.”

A few minutes later, I get into the cab. “Sorry I took so long,” I said, as we drove away. “She was hiding under the bed. I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out. She tried to take off, so I grabbed her by the neck. Then, I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked. I hauled her downstairs and threw her out into the back yard.”

The cab driver ran two red lights and hit a parked car.

– If you don’t laugh at yourself once in awhile, everyone else will all the time. KL

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