Candy Shop Story, and Too Hot to Race!
Chairman Fox was entered to race today (August 7) but Woodbine Entertainment cancelled racing because of the heat. (We are part-owners of this racehorse).
Yes, we were disappointed, but the welfare of the horses and the jockeys is the most important thing. We're pleased that Woodbine took this action.
We expect that Woodbine will reschedule the race for next week-end. But I'm sure it will be a challenge to fit all the races in!
It's possible that I'm Dashing (our homebred) will be racing that week-end too.
Here's a story about a candy shop that I wrote for an Uxbridge Writers' Circle word challenge. The words I had to use are in italics.
(PS Don't forget to let your friends and families know that they can access these free stories. If they wish to get notifications of new stories, they can email me at: email@example.com and I will add their names to my email list.)
Mrs. Brigit’s candy shop is the only one in town. And now it’s going. And I’ve been assigned to write an article about its demise, to be printed in the local newspaper.
Things are changing too quickly for me. This candy shop was the centre of my life while I was growing up, and is still part of my routine as I buy candy each Friday from Mrs. Brigit’s daughter for my grandchildren. I confess I buy toffee for myself, too. She makes it herself and stores it in a big glass jar with an enormous screw-top lid, which I couldn’t get my hand around even if I was desperate.
The newspaper’s going down the tubes as well. That’s not quite true I suppose, but it’s only going to be on-line, or off-print, which is a shame. We’re being educated on how to use on-line media. The articles are shorter and there’s less interest in the sort of investigative journalism I like to do. You know, finding out why the Bank Manager left town suddenly, or why the train crashed at the railway crossing just outside town. I’m glad I wasn’t one of the poor souls who was aboard. I love digging into that sort of event, peering under every stone, and finding out the true story behind it. I’m sure it helps somehow.
I watch Gertie stock candy jars with the same quick, fluid movements of her hands and wrists that her mother used as she grabs handfuls of the sweet treats and drops them into the large, glass containers.
“I hope this isn’t the last time you’ll be doing that,” I say as I move closer to the counter.
“’Fraid it probably is.” She doesn’t look up.
“I’m sorry to hear that your shop is closing. I’m here to write a brief article for the paper.”
“There’s nothing to say. I’m closing. That’s about it.”
“Rumour has it that the business is bankrupt and you’re about to liquidate everything.”
“Hah. That’s the rumour, is it?” Gertie looks up, her pale face punctuated by dark eyes and a small nose.
“So, that isn’t true, then?”
“Can you tell me what’s really happening? This shop means a lot to many people. It’s sure sad to see it go. And you’ve been so supportive of the community.”
“I like to think so, but it didn’t do me any good.”
“What do you mean?”
Gertie slams one of the screw-top lids down on the dark wooden counter and stares at me for three long seconds. I suppose she’s deciding whether to tell me what’s going on.
“That new fancy convenience store at Main and Brook Streets is determined to capture the market. They want it all.”
“But why would you leave because of them?”
“I can’t tell you any more. You can’t print anything. Sorry.” She turns her back to me. I’m sure she’s crying as she unpacks boxes of brightly-coloured suckers.
“So, why are you stocking the jars?” I can’t leave without trying to get the whole story.
“Because I want to leave the shop in perfect order.” She sniffs, but doesn’t turn around. Her rounded shoulders are hunched over the boxes, but she’s barely moving.
“I don’t understand.”
“I don’t want to remember the shop as an empty shell. And I owe it to my mother.” She turns to face me with red eyes and tears running down her cheeks. I scramble to think of the right thing to say, and it doesn’t come. I walk behind the counter and take her into my arms. She feels warm and soft, and smells of strawberries and toffee.
I step back and look at her.
“What’s happening to the shop, then?”
“They found some legal thing. I don’t understand it, but they said I can’t operate here any more. They bought it for peanuts.” She wipes her face with the sleeve of her sweater. “I couldn’t fight it. I don’t have what it takes, the money or the strength to deal with people like them.”
“I get it. I have an idea, though. It’s crazy, but it might be better than nothing.”
“Anything would be better than this. They say they’re going to bulldoze this place and build a parking lot. What am I going to do with myself?”
“I’ve got space at my farm. It’s a heated and air-conditioned workshop that I never use. What if you went on-line? I could deliver once a day in town as a start. You could do more of your gift baskets and more of your specialty candies, like your home-made toffee. It would be small at first, but I’m sure it would grow.”
“That’s good of you, but I’ve no idea how to go on-line, as you put it. And why would you want to help?”
“Because I like your toffee.”
Just a few weeks' later, we've sown the seeds for gertiescandies.ca and we're already reaping some success.
And, yes, there is some irony in the fact that I've resigned from the newspaper to help Gertie set up and manage this on-line business!
Copyright Vicky Earle 2022