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Thanksgiving

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My sister asked everyone today at Thanksgiving what we are thankful for… my reply was simple at the time but I wish to expand upon it… my thankfulness was wrapped around my family but there is so much more to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for not only my family, but the beauty each day brings us. Each sunrise and sunset is unique by our ultimate Creator.

I think the experience of the last few years has taught me that life is short . Each day is a treasured gift.

I’m very blessed to work with my spouse each day, which I never thought I would have the opportunity to do.

Blessings abound in the small things we have in our lives. May you be blessed this holiday season with Thanksgiving in your heart each & every day. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours today.

Stories…Our Legacy

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A view from our town, a picturesque view. A story via photography

My last blog post commanded attention from my readers who connected with my story about Waiting.

My last blog post entitled, Waiting… featured photo

The messages sent to me were powerful, with beautiful scriptures, kind words & your personal stories of experience made my heart melt.

So many people who have battled cancer that I connect with everyday as a business owner reached out. Their stories they shared with me were amazing & a beautiful blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.

If you haven’t read the blog post, Waiting, I would love for you to click back and give it a read. We all go through periods of waiting in life. Waiting on test results, waiting for changes in a career path, or just waiting patiently on God to show you a pathway.

All paths in life are not clearly defined… many times we wait for clarification and direction

As I said before, my experience was not unique, but I chose to share it because I felt it would create common ground experience for many ladies who have walked in the path of waiting for test results OR seeking answers to any type of situation/problem.

Writing is a dynamic way to connect with others. As a blogger, that influence extends across our community & even across the globe.

Storytelling goes well back into history. In the days before novels & books, stories were shared orally, musically or artistically and passed down through the generations. Stories help us to keep our past history alive, & keep us linked together.

Philadelphia, full of historical stories

I had a professor in college who was a gifted storyteller. US History was revealed to me as a story of events & the people behind it.

As an educator, the most powerful thing you can do is to connect your content to the student. Once the student gets the practical connections, the path learning is much easier.

Often as a hardware store owner, we are privy to a portion of a person’s story. The struggle of a DIY, pool ownership (the good, bad, & the ugly 😂) and even the success of a beautiful garden.

All are welcome

The longer Richard & I have been in downtown North Wilkesboro, the more folks we have had the opportunity to meet & get to know a small portion of their story.

Many stories are told around this wood stove

This week we met a gentleman who came by for a few keys, & he stayed to visit for a while. His story began to unravel. He told humorous stories which all made us laugh. He also revealed that his wife died this summer, she had a serious form of blood cancer.

My heart hurt for him. It was obvious he missed her tremendously. Once he told us his story, we understood more about him, his needs and empathized with his current situation.

So how do we share our unique life experiences in 2021??? We are all not bloggers, writers, gifted musicians, artists, or storytellers.

Do you look at Instagram stories???? OR Facebook stories, Snapchat, or even Tik Tok??

In the world of social media, we now have these little bits of video & images on our profile page called stories. The intent of those images is to give the viewer a quick glimpse of what is going on the “inside”of the life of that specific social media page.

After 24 hours those stories disappear and you must continue to add more of your own images in order to keep your story going.

Stories give us a way to stay connected to friends and family. A way to share triumphs, celebrations, fun times, sweet moments & even sad events in our lives. All are a significant part of living our lives.

Many of us are not public speakers who go across the country sharing their stories with others creating change. You may not be gifted storyteller OR even post out Facebook/IG stories everyday.

Your personal story & experiences create change just by sharing!!! Do you journal everyday? Share your family stories with younger generations???

We all share our life experiences with others… how are you sharing your story???

Our life stories cause us to adjust, change, & can create empathy for others who have faced similar experiences.

What I have learned as a blogger is that you should not be afraid to share your story. Your personal story creates bridges to others… connectedness. If you don’t tell your own story now, someone else will later…

Our personal story is why we are here. Your experiences could become a survival guide for someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

My wish for you… find a creative outlet for your unique personal story.

Go tell your story, inspire & encourage others.

Waiting

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I spent most of my day Tuesday, waiting… the technician would complete one test and then I would go sit and wait.

Waiting in situations like I described above can create anxiety & worry. No one I encountered seemed to be in that category. We were all waiting…

I began to wonder if these ladies were ok. Many were waiting for extra testing like me.

My prayers are with each one & I have no idea how each appointment turned out for each lady.

My appointment was at the Breast Clinic in Winston Salem.

Tuesday’s appointment brought a bit of peace & depth of knowledge of my current health situation.

I’m ok y’all. And this blog post is NOT intended to be about empathy for me. My journey over the last few months has created an tremendous amount of empathy for those who have walked the path of cancer treatment.

My mammogram in June found a series of small cysts. All of my test results from Tuesday revealed no significant changes. I’ll return back in 6 months for another round of testing.

But as I sat there with all these other women on Tuesday, in silence, I began to ponder about the whole scenario of waiting.

When we wait, we are staying “in one place”, or delaying action until something else happens…

We all have periods of waiting in life… when we wait, our trust & patience can deepen in God.

Back in June when I was anxious about my first set of results, my mom said to me, “if anything changes, we will deal with it together “. That definitely struck a cord with me. I would not be in this unknown journey alone. I would have family & friends to help and support me. Richard, and my sister have been constant pillars of support as well as my parents. My doctor navigated all of the questions, concerns & made connections with key providers for appointments. I have also made a few dietary changes & adjustments.

The anxiety began to wash away… finding strength in my waiting time.

Waiting serves a purpose in our lives, trust the process & be patient.

I also began to think about all the women who came before me, who found cancer as the end result of testing. Facing a tremendous health hurdle that would change the trajectory of their lives.

I would bet that most of us can name family or friends that have experienced this type of cancer.

Pink… the color of Breast Cancer Awareness

A friend of mine just finished her last round of chemotherapy. She has been a warrior throughout the whole process. I admire her determination and send her prayers each day for strength & courage.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you have delayed your mammogram for any reason, don’t delay it any longer. OR if you have noticed any changes, make an appointment to see your doctor NOW. Lobular breast cancer is not always detected as easily through a mammogram. The subtle changes will be your best indicator. Your health is too important to ignore signals from your body.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Women often wear many “hats” as professionals, mothers, caregivers, chef, & chief errand runner… need I say more? Often we don’t take time to care for our personal needs, and your health is crucial.

Mom’s often are busy… all day long!!! The tasks never seem to end.

My closing thoughts to y’all today…

1. Remember in times of waiting, our heart is strengthened.

2. Take care of & support the women in your lives.

3.Ladies, go get your annual mammograms and continue to do self examinations.

4. You will find me wearing pink each Saturday in October to serve as a reminder to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’ll be wearing my pink Wilkes County Hardware logo gear & I hope to see y’all shopping local with us on Saturdays in October.

Sending love & prayers always to my readers.

The Clothesline

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I was walking around the hardware store yesterday checking the shelves for products that needed replenishment. I came upon a roll of clothesline. My mind began to instantly wander from the task at hand. My productivity waned… I was lost in my thoughts.

We sell clothesline at Wilkes County Hardware, even the old fashioned cotton type & clothespins

The memories came flooding back of my mom’s clothesline when I was growing up. We spent the Saturdays putting the sheets, & towels onto the clothesline. It was a time saver for mom, not having to run the dryer all day after working all week.

My sister and I both had “jobs” while we were assisting hanging clothes on the clothesline. We both were too young to reach the clothesline for ourselves. We had it down to a well-oiled system. One of us carried the old metal dishpan outside into the fresh, clean air towards the line. Of course the clothespins were in hand too. Once we were at the line, I handed mom each piece of laundry from the dishpan, while my younger sister, delved out the clothespins. Mom hung the laundry in sync with the wind. The whole process didn’t take long.

Mom used an old metal dishpan like this one, wet laundry was too heavy in the laundry basket… of course I asked her why she used this when I was little…

Now, memories are often nostalgic… so I must say that my mom’s memories of these Saturdays at the clothesline are probably different from ours. She probably remembers the trips out to the clothesline where we both complained about the weather being too hot, or bees flying too closely, or even those hateful chestnut burrs that were close by waiting to prey on our innocence toes/feet in the late summer/early fall months. I know complaints were definitely lodged… but we always finished our task, hanging the laundry out to dry.

Oh… those chestnut burrs were rough on the feet!!!

I’m glad my sister & I were able to experience so many wonderful things during our childhood that are now seemingly falling away into the past.

Everyone used to have a clothesline… now I bet that if you still have a clothesline in 2021, you are a rare lucky person.

Back to nostalgia, as we both grew older, mom sent us out to the clothesline to hang or even harvest the freshly dried clothes. I took them down while my sister held the fresh loot.

I can still smell the scent of the sheets & towels dried outdoors. Nothing was better than those air dried sheets on your bed at night.

However, I do recall, that towels and washcloths from the line were not a favorite of mine. They were a little too rough for my liking. We used the line mostly for sheets anyways.

My dad eventually took the old chestnut trees down and made way for some new backyard landscaping as I got older. The clothesline was used less frequently as we got older.

But that clothesline was a constant in my backyard during my childhood. Things change as do people. I will always cherish those good memories of times spent together at the clothesline, soaking up the fresh outdoor air & sunshine.

Supper vs. Dinner

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Sometimes in conversation as I remember talking to my Granny at the end of the day, I would ask her what they both had for dinner. As she began to talk about her meal, I soon realized that she was referring to her mid-day meal, not her evening meal. My vocabulary was not the same as hers. I quickly learned that her view of supper/dinner was different from mine. Does it matter? Well, I guess it is all about perspective.

A major NC magazine in our state just recently published an article about Sunday Suppers. It was well done. I’m not going to rehash the intent of that article. But, it did bring back up all those supper/dinner conversations that I had with my granny came to my mind when I read the article.

So upon reflection, I began to ponder my usage of “dinner”. I use the term “dinner” all the time to gather my family to the table, but the reality is that we really are seated for “supper” instead.

Why supper??? The word supper is less formal. Dinner can be a full fledged event with fancy dinner napkins, china, etc. But, when we gather at home, it is not a formal affair. Our family is blessed to have passed down to us, the antique farm table that was in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. The table is definitely not formal by any means, and it is the only table around which we gather to eat. At this farm table we engage in the conversations about the day, hold discussions about local events/news, and let the puns roll. (Our form of making our son roll his eyes 👀 at us.). Supper at our house is a time to simply gather, eat together & unwind from the day.

This was modeled well in my family as a young child growing up. All four of us always ate together at the table in the kitchen. As they say, “old habits die hard”. Meals gathered as our family unit or shared with friends are a strong part of my memories of home.

Now in present day, the weekends are probably the most relaxing suppers we get to have as a family unit. Saturday evening supper is probably one of my favorite times. This tends to be the meal when we can relax, kick back at the end of the day. Saturday supper tends to be one of our Traeger nights- smoking a good piece of meat, or grilling up fish, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store! Do you guys do that too???

Saturday supper doesn’t have to be all fancy, high dollar meals that breaks your budget 💵. Sometimes supper is quite simple at our house–homemade chili beans, or biscuits in a Lodge skillet & country ham, maybe even soup and Traeger grilled cheese sandwich, or lastly, a crockpot meal that we all love.

So I guess when I call my family to say, “dinner is ready”, I really mean supper because that equates to family time. 😊

Happy Supper Saturday y’all !!!

Nailing Things Down

Six years ago we began our journey into hardware store ownership. It was an exciting time, a plan was emerging from our minds on what we envisioned happening in our new business.

Wilkes County Hardware store front

Our official name became Wilkes County Hardware. Many folks still refer to us as Wilkes Hardware and wonder where Harvey is… lol he hasn’t owned the hardware store for many years. Gerald Lankford owned the store for 10 years before selling it to us. Harvey was the owner before Gerald.

Gerald Lankford, the former owner and dear friend

Gerald stayed with Richard for the first year so that he could learn all aspects of the business, including the pools.

Richard became a quick study of how to care and do maintenance on pools

The first year is still pretty much a blur… we decided to add a point of sale computer system instead of a basic cash register so that inventory could be monitored closely, & new fixtures went in. A major highlight of year one was the filming of our hardware store on NC Public TV.

Richard completely set up all these fixtures and began to move merchandise, key desk was also moved closer to back door

In the next few years, we added staff, continued to add new products into our lineup. One neat find inside our walls … when we opened up a space near the front entrance and found two doors that had been covered up for many years with pegboard. The captions that follow along with the pictures will chronicle the rest of our story.

These double doors had been covered in pegboard for many years!!!
Lawn & Garden items were dramatically expanded into the next few years of business ownership
Apple Festival… new hours for us we are open all day during the festival. The store used to close early on Apple Festival Day.
Logo gear was added to our hardware store… it all started with this original design
Added new locally based products into our store… these are best sellers around holiday time
The wood stove is always going strong on cold winter days… and folks love to stop by and warm on snowy days
The largest snowfall we have had since store ownership has been 16inches !!! Richard’s news clip from WXII made it onto the Today show
Need a great grill??? We are sold on Traeger grills
Dog friendly hardware store
Our customers love this potting soil
Keegan’s first pieces arrived at Wilkes County Hardware
Amazing new line of bird seed was added that our customers keep coming back for more and more..,
Here’s our first Meyers display… customers come from all over in order to purchase from our vast selection
Straight shot from back to front door… it took several years to get there but we are getting there as we still work on organizing
Always & everyday..,
A list of our hometown hardware store services
We love you always 💕
This small display is no longer found at our front door… the entire front is open now and wow!!! What a difference it makes!!!
Expansive selection of fasteners
Our hours were updated and changed to close each day at 5:30, so our customers could swing by and shop as they are on way home & still pick up essentials. We still currently close at 2pm on Saturday
Last day of school… retirement as a teacher begins and a new role as a full time hardware store owner begins…
The same view of the store captured in a series of two pictures
Ceiling fans installed
Harry’s Hot Dogs Event was an amazing success
Wayne is truly a key master… folks still come into the store just to have keys made by him
Keegan’s work has progressed into bigger and fabulous designs
Made in McGrady is an multi-talented husband & wife team, we keep their pieces in our store.
A favorite local WCH hat… deeply rooted into our store history
Wilkes County Honey, locally sourced!!!
COVID created an interesting time for small businesses to operate under. We are appreciative of your support
Teamwork with Cooks, the #wilcostrong initiative raised money for our community-Samaritan Kitchen
Locally sourced granola
The most devastating day in our ownership so far…
Customer rewards have been a huge success and the checkout process is easy & safe
A unique variety of locally sourced products
A paint line was added in early 2021
We continue to add to our logo gear… short sleeve, long sleeve, and sweatshirts
BBQ sauce that is absolutely delicious!!!
In 2021, Wilkes County Hardware launched a booth inside Carolina Treasures Antique Mall
We sell local pottery, each piece is handmade & unique
Locally sourced soaps!!!
Our drop off flag box is consistently full now that our customers realize what it is for.
We are so excited to begin another year of service in our community. Thank you for shopping with us at your favorite hometown hardware store, Wilkes County Hardware.

A Flood of Memories

This past week marks a year of the flooding of our hardware store, August 13, 2020. I just realized that I never shared any pictures or stories on my blog about that day.

The afternoon had proved to be uneventful. We had a sudden downpour of rain. It lasted for several minutes. What we didn’t realize was that the drains in the back parking lot couldn’t keep up with the tremendous amount of rain that was coming down.

Our neighbors at Wilkes Lock Service were gone on a service call, which was not unusual. Their building was locked up. As the water continued to rise, the back door was pushed open by the flowing water.

The water was rising quickly and was knee high inside the lock shop before we were able to get through the heavy metal door that separates our businesses. It was blocked with debris and we were not able to keep the water from flooding into our business.

Water came up to the bottom of the fixtures, any higher and we would have lost significantly more merchandise

Panic set in. Water was everywhere. What could be moved easily and salvage??? In a stroke of luck I grabbed Richard’s computer bag. He had dropped it earlier in the day and left it behind the checkout counter before the water hit hard in that area.

We were extremely lucky that the water didn’t impact our technology, we pushed water away from here first
Water… everywhere!!!
Our wooden ladder wall took some time to dry out, luckily that the water level wasn’t too high

Our staff was few… Richard had left to run an errand. One quick phone call brought him back instantly. I’m very thankful for Luke… he came in from his day off and began dealing with the lock shop front door to release the rising water.

Check out the water line on the lock shop front door… the white line marks the water line 😬

The next few hours are still a blur. Friends rallied to help us. We all worked late into the night pushing water outside our doors, running a buckets from the empty elevator shaft to the front door. Fans & dehumidifiers were set up strategically in order to efficiently dry our floors and everything else.

We opened our doors to our customers the next day. It wasn’t a normal day, but our customers were kind and gracious.

The storms of this past week brought a lot of anxiety about this past experience. But there are some things we don’t have control over… flooding, tornadoes, etc. It is a hard reality when it is your livelihood & business.

So in closing, I’ll share an update on progress… Usually during every major rain storm, the town street department swings by to check on the drains. Thankfully, we have been very blessed without any breakthrough water issues. And this past May, the town has completed a major project at our back door to help the flow of water.

I’m deeply humbled. Our friends rallied to help us in a dire situation. We receive phone calls from a very kind individual every time it rains for an extended period of time. Our customers drop by to check to see if our store is ok after a hard rain.

The flood of emotions are real… it is still close to our memory… every heavy rain storm we worry still …but the kindness of our community has been an amazing gift.