Located on the corner approximately eight miles east of Davidson was the very prosperous Senn Cotton Gin and Country Store. Mr. Senn ginned cotton in the southern part of Tillman County for many years. I am not sure how long it operated, but I have vivid memories of it from the early 1950s, when our family lived and worked on a cotton farm three miles west of the cotton gin and store.
I have many fond memories of visiting Senn’s Country Store with my Dad and two older brothers during the fifties. I can almost hear the dull thud of wood on wood as the front screen door closed behind me as I entered this wonderland of a store. I can imagine the soft whap-whap of the ceiling fan as it slowly moved the air inside the store.
I can’t remember the placement of all the furnishings in the store, but it was similar in layout to the general store located in the Tillman County Pioneer Town site museum. I know it had a candy counter with all sorts of delicious candy bar choices. The ones I remember best were Baby Ruth, PayDay and Tom’s Peanut Patties. I know they had Mounds and Almond Joy, but both had coconut, so I crossed them off of my favorite list. Near the rear of the store was a refrigerated counter with a large glass front, which always contained loaves of bologna, liver cheese ( better known to me as a child as “goose liver”), ham, and a couple of horns of cheese.
The clerk would slice whatever amount you wanted off of the appropriate loaf and sell it to you by the pound. One of the highlights of going with Dad was lunchtime, because he would often buy a loaf of bread, along with a few slices of cheese, a few slices of bologna, and a small jar of mayo or mustard, and then fix us a picnic lunch under a tree. Of course, we were allowed to pick our favorite soft drink and a candy bar for dessert.
Somewhere near the center of the store was an amazing fixture which contained cold sodas. This was the most magical place in the store because you could open the lid and see several choices of soft drinks, cooling in the cold water of the soda chest. You could see enough of the bottle to tell if it was Coca Cola, Royal Crown Cola, root beer, or anyone of several fruit flavored sodas, including Nehi in several flavors, Delaware Punch, and my favorite, Grapette. There was no coin slot, you just reached into the cold water and grabbed the soda of your choice, then popped the lid with the bottle opener built into the soda chest.
I remember that there were several shelves which contained everything from bread to cotton work gloves, but the magical part of the store centered on the candy shelves and the soda chest.
As I remember, there were always at least a couple of farmers sitting around and talking about rain and drought and boll weevils, and just swapping stories. Of course, my dad always joined in.
Seven-Eleven and other modern convenience stores advertise that you can get almost anything you want in their store, but they just can’t replicate the magic of the old country stores like Senn’s.
Reach David Barnett by contacting Cheryl Orr at 580-379-0588 or email@example.com.