Thursday, September 4, 2008
This is a picture of Richardson's Drug Store (currently a restaurant), at the corner of Main and Church Streets in Mathews Court House. My mother fell down in the street just a little bit to the left of this picture. She was almost run over by a Bay Transit bus loaded with senior citizens. If you haven't read that story yet, click on Falling Down in the August archives.
Everyone from Mathews has a story about Richardson's Drug Store, and if they don't, there's something wrong or they've lived under a rock their entire life. (Never mind the fact that having something wrong with you and living a sheltered life actually describes many people--including yours truly--who live in Mathews. That detracts from the point I'm trying to make. And I'm not sure I really know what that ever was.)
Richardson's has been around forever and is an institution in Mathews. It is the embodiment of nostalgia.
My memories revolve around bar stools and fountain drinks. You could sit at the counter on a stool and swirl around while waiting for your Pink Lady to arrive. Yes, swirl. I love that word. You could swirl and swirl until you became dizzy. Or until your mother told you to stop and act like you have some sense.
Oh, I loved those Pink Ladies. I have no idea what was in them, but it was like drinking nectar, it was heaven in a glass. I am reasonably sure there was a great deal of sugar involved. Those were the days before everything we ingested was infused with high fructose corn syrup. However, it was not before the days of Pixie Stix, which consisted of this: pure cane sugar, plus more sugar, then 100% sugar, and an unhealthy amount of red dye #2. Who knew red dye #2 could taste so good? And how could something that tastes so good be so bad?
I also remember paper straws. Yes,there was such a thing as straws that were not plastic. There was also such a thing as milk delivered in glass bottles, eggs purchased at the local farm, party lines on telephones and a stegosaurus that ran wild throughout the county.
Besides paper straws, swirling counter stools and Pink Ladies, I also loved the tile floor in Richardson's. Why on Earth a child would fixate on a tile floor is beyond me, but I did. The exact same floor still exists today - white with blue designs scattered throughout.
I can hardly mention Richardsons Drug Store without mentioning Mr. Clarke Richardson, a gregarious sort who ran the place when I was coming along. He was a character as flavorful as the many and varied drinks served up at that counter. He was usually in the back, in the actual drug store part, and I remember he always wore a hat of some sort.
Today Richardsons is a very popular place to eat in the Court House. Although the paper straws have gone by the way side, the counter, those swirling stools and the tile floor still remain.
Alas, the stegosaurus died a while back, but otherwise not much has changed.
I like that.