It seems like just yesterday that we could take a little stroll up to “Parshall-town” and stop in and see Miss Dorothy. Then again—maybe she wouldn’t be there. Her hours were irregular and depended entirely on her family time and bowling schedule. Either way—no one minded. Like Dorothy, the locals who knew where to find her general store, were content with whatever hours she was there. She lived behind the store and when she was home, the store was open. You’d pull open the screen door and step inside a world of soda pop, antiques and candies you could still afford. The only place a candy bar still cost a little bit of change and Miss Dorothy would write down your purchases on a pad of paper and ring it up in an old time cash register. She’d have her sports games or western movies playing on a small tv behind the register and you got the accurate impression that she was simply happy to be there in the store—regardless of whether anyone stopped by or not. But people always did. To see her and catch up on local happenings. We loved to hear her stories and she always let my daughter pick out a piece of candy and a small stuffed animal from her collection on the shelf. There were special memories made inside that store. In the summers, Dorothy’s was a beloved part of the children’s program at the ranch. Saturday morning, the kids mounted their horses and we rode them to '”the candy store” for a special treat. All of us always wondered how she kept that place open. Orphaned in the Great Depression due to her parents passing, Dorothy always made the best out of the little things she had. Her motto, “as long as I have food and can pay my bills, that is all that matters” were words that she lived by. Nothing was ever for sale for more than she could’ve paid for it. She often bought from the local large chain grocery store and resold the same items there at the store for the same price just to offer the locals a close option when they weren’t able to go as far as town. There was even a section for fishermen and hunters. A little bit of everything you’d ever need. Everyone loved Dorothy. That was evident. Sadly, but inevitably, Miss Dorothy passed peacefully one winter evening in her sleep. She was well into her 80s. The general store sat empty that summer and many people placed flowers in front of the doors in memory of that sweet woman and the little general store she loved. And then as if it simply could no longer be without her anymore, the general store itself caught fire the following winter. A faulty heating system was blamed, but somewhere inside one might imagine that little store mourned for Miss Dorothy and her legacy there. Knowing it never wanted to be known as anything less than Miss Dorothy’s General Store, it followed quickly behind her. This winter they finished tearing it down. Filling in the basement and hauling away the old time refrigerator where we all picked out our cream soda pops every week. I had an inclination and rested my hand on the huge machine –the memories were overwhelming as they flooded in. It was hard to drive by those weeks as little by little the pieces were taken away. A small doll on the shelf amidst the rubble brought tears to my eyes. But when it was all gone and the lot was cleared and strikingly empty, we gathered there at the corner and our hearts were filled with love for that sacred piece of ground. And though we couldn’t see the old gas pumps, the screen door, or Dorothy’s face through the glass—it was all still there. And always will be. Thanks for the memories Dorothy. Heaven needed a good little General Store….