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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 6, Saturday Shopping Adventure in Oak Springs

Updated on May 18, 2014
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Taking eggs to town to sell

Basket of eggs, ready to sell
Basket of eggs, ready to sell | Source

Saturday was typically a "shop in town" day for the King Family

[Author note: I grew up in a small rural community in western Iowa in the mid-twentieth century where "going shopping in town" on Saturday, or Saturday night, was a long-standing tradition. This story assumes the tradition dated back to at least 1876.]

As soon as the King family had taken care of their morning farm responsibilities (the chores) on Saturday morning, they loaded a full lunch basket, a few eggs and some milk to sell, into the wagon and headed east along the Patton Road into Oak Springs. Even the horses, Dolly and Molly, seemed to feel the excitement of the adventure before them as they rolled down the road. It was a fine late spring day, with just a gentle breeze, and everyone was in fine spirits. The first stop would be the General Merchandise store where they knew they would be able to sell the eggs and milk.

At the store, Karl, Keith and Kent (the boys) took the eggs and milk to the station in the back where produce was purchased. Meanwhile, Katherine and the girls made the obligatory visit to the corner of the store where baby Aden was holding court. Anna had the baby as the girls arrived. They all got caught up on the latest gossip of the Owens and Inman families before they began their shopping.

Meanwhile, the boys were selling their produce and meeting Vickie Wingfield who told them she was now working in the store, regularly, on Saturday's. She was pleased to share that she was 17 years old and that her parents were Abner and Delta Wingfield, who had been on their farm north of town since 1857, except during the war, of course. They had lived with her father's parents, near St. Louis, during the war. As Karl was telling Vickie about the King family, another man approached the station with his produce to sell. He waited patiently, but when there was a break in the conversation, he reached out his hand to Karl and said, "Hello, Karl. My name is Thurkill Dent. I'm your nearest neighbor."

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Have you read about Guy of Warwick?

Guy of Warwick, a legendary English hero of Romance, descended from Thurkill of Warwick
Guy of Warwick, a legendary English hero of Romance, descended from Thurkill of Warwick | Source

Karl King learned more about his neighbor, Thurkill Dent

Thurkill then surprised Karl by adding, "Can we go outside and talk a few minutes, when I get done here. This will only take a moment." Karl replied, "Of course." Karl turned to his sons and suggested they go into the store and browse; he'd join them in a bit. Shortly, the two men were outside, under a big oak tree, on a couple of stumps, for their talk. Thurkill began, "I should have come over to welcome you to the neighborhood sooner, Karl, but I had a burr under my saddle that just wouldn't let me." There was a moment of silence. Karl let the moment pass, to let Thurkill get on with his story.

"Before we came back down here in '69, I had some dealings with your brother up near Jeff City, that really left me with a bad taste in my mouth. When I heard it was you moving in across the road, I feared that you would be like your brother… and I didn't feel good about that. My fault, but I just couldn't help it. He really burned me, in my opinion, and I was holding that against you. Finally, I talked some about it with both Owen and Gideon, and they convinced me I was making a big mistake. Gideon even said he thought he remembered you mentioning it was some problems you had with your brother that may have been behind your moving down here. It finally got through my thick head I was being foolish. When I saw you in there, I just had to clear the air."

"That is very good of you, Thurkill. I've been busy getting things going on the farm, but I honestly had wondered why you hadn't stopped in. Now I do understand. My brother can be a real jerk, and worse. I'm sorry you were the brunt of it earlier. I just couldn't be around him, having to work with him, any more. We just see the world very differently. That is why we moved down here, as Gideon mentioned."

"That is a relief. Thanks," Thurkill replied. "And, since it looks like we can be friends, I'll share with you the answer to the normal first question even friends ask, so you don't have to ask, 'What kind of name is Thurkill?'" They both chuckled, and Karl nodded his head. "It is an old family name. I've been told it comes out of Norse legend, then William the Conqueror times in England, and, the family says that Guy of Warwick, a legendary English hero of Romance popular in England and France from the 13th century, was a descendant of "Thurkill of Warwick" - whoever that might be. It was the last name of some of my ancestors in North Carolina, and my mother thought it would make a special first name, for me. I always hoped I'd get a nickname, but "Thurkill" seemed to stick to me, on its own." He was shaking his head as he said that. Karl thanked him for his candidness, and they moved on to discussion of their farms.

The Kings had their picnic lunch in the park

Would you have a picnic here?
Would you have a picnic here? | Source

Shopping continued around town for the King family

When Karl rejoined the girls and his sons, they had picked out the items they needed. He paid for them, and helped them carry the goods out to the wagon. They then proceeded up Central Avenue to the Dry Goods Store. Ralph and Sally Campbell were both there and they exchanged greetings. Their son, Vic, was also in the store, and Kate went over to talk to him, as they had spent time together at the "Fourth Sunday" gathering. While Katherine and the others looked and shopped, Karl walked next door to the Baldridge Lumber and Grain Store to arrange getting the lumber he would be needing for the house and a couple of other small building projects he had in mind.

Karl met with Simeon Bishop. He was a very young man, it seemed to Karl, but was very professional and had answers for all of Karl's questions. Karl learned that he could get a substantial discount on the lumber he needed if he were willing to go out to the mill and on the return trip bring some items for the store back as well as what he was needing. Simeon said this was a common practice they had developed that worked well for all parties. They also talked about one day harvesting some of the trees on the King farm. They then continued to discuss the details of what Karl needed. Karl was also able to buy some seed and grain that he needed, while he was there, and loaded that into the wagon.

Karl returned to the Dry Goods Store and added his items of interest to those accumulated by the rest of his family. A few of the items were discussed, and a couple were returned to the shelves. They paid for their purchases and took them to the wagon. The next stop was in the Community Park, between the General Merchandise store and the blacksmith shop where they had been on "Fourth Sunday." They ate their lunch while enjoying their surrounding. As they ate, they also discussed their visit to the two stores, who they had met, and soon, returned home.

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Note from the author

This is the sixth episode of a short story series set in the Ozarks Mountain setting of “The Homeplace Saga” family saga of historical fiction. This story begins in 1876, following the time period (1833-1875) of the forthcoming “Founding of the Homeplace” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

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