I grew up in what would nowadays be called 'the country'. It was a 25-acre cattle ranch in the middle of rural Aptos, on the coast of California. My parents rented a house on the property from the rancher and his wife, and when I was about 12 or so, they bought half of the land and the house it stood on. Looking back, I suppose it was an idyllic place to grow up, but to me and my brothers it was just Home. (Or, as some of my friends called it, "The Compound". Perhaps a little more cult-y than I would have gone, but I see their point.)
We were 3 winding miles from the nearest shop, the 'corner store' of its day - nothing as elaborate as a supermarket, but they had a deli counter, a hot meat case, and plenty of staples*. It was in a Redwood grove with several other small shops - a florist, a coffee house, a video store, a beautician. The area was an after-school gathering place for the kids from the Junior High, an early morning stop for the caffeine-addicted teenagers on their way to the High School. The Piggie Market sold sundries, groceries, and chewy gingerbread cookies in the shape of (what else) a pig.
I am reliably informed that Piggie Market is now closed. The downturn in the economy, the rise of internet shopping, the superstores within easy reach have probably all contributed. The Market had its time - and a good one at that. I haven't thought of it in years, but now it all comes flooding back to me, that little shop nestled in the trees. Another piece of my childhood gone (did it ever even exist?), and from 6,000 miles away, I mourn.
* By 'staples' here I mean things that should probably be in one's pantry, not small pointy pieces of metal. I don't think they sold office supplies.