Right Rear Corner of the Cracker Barrel

Last week, in my column in the Lawrence County Press, I revealed a secret about men.  This was the 2nd secret about men I have published to the world.  Here’s a look back at the first one I gave up three and a half years ago.


I’m gonna tell a secret that I shouldn’t tell.  It’s a secret about men that women don’t need to know, but I guess I’ll tell it anyway.  It doesn’t apply to all men, but I’m sure it applies to many; at least quite a few; well, I do know for sure at least one it applies to.  With reluctance, here is the secret:  ladies, if you are ever in a Cracker Barrel store/restaurant and you see your husband or manfriend ease his way to the right rear corner of the store, he’s gone back there to check out the toys.

A few months ago I somehow found myself in that area of the store in the Brookhaven, Mississippi Cracker Barrel.  Since I was already there, I thought I might as well check out the toys myself.  While I was there, there was another kid, I mean, there was a kid there.  He was maybe ten or eleven, and he was dressed immaculately in a grey suit and white shirt with a straight and narrow black tie and black shoes.  If you remember the TV show “Dragnet,” he looked like a blend of Joe Friday and Pee Wee Herman.  He was checking out the toys too, and I nodded my head, smiled, and probably gave him a “hey man,” and went on checking out the toys.

Did you fly a rubber-band-powered balsa wood airplane?
Did you fly a rubber-band-powered balsa wood airplane?

Like most kids would, he must’ve felt a little self-conscious wearing that suit while everybody else in the store was dressed casually, and after a minute or two, out of the blue, as if he needed to explain himself, he said to me “I’m dressed like this because I’ve been to a funeral.”  I told him I was sorry, and asked if it was someone he was close to.  “Well, pretty close, but not really.  He was my daddy’s great uncle.”  I told him again that I was sorry.

I picked up a Slinky and changed the subject:  “Hey, have you ever had a Slinky?  I never much cared for a Slinky; couldn’t do much with them.”

“Yeah, I had a Slinky; I know what you mean, not much you can do with them.”

“Hey, what about an 8-Ball?  You ever have an 8-Ball?”

“No, never had an 8-Ball.  What does it do?”

“It answers questions.  See.”

“Hey, there’s some Silly-Putty.  You ever have any Silly-Putty?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve had plenty of Silly-Putty.”

“You ever mash Silly-Putty down on the funny papers in a newspaper and lift off the picture?”

Looking perplexed, he said “Huh?  No, I never did that.”

“Well, you just put your paper down flat and mash the Silly-Putty down flat on it, and pick it up easy, and your Silly Putty will have the picture on it.”

“Hey, a Super Ball. You ever had a Super Ball?”

“No, what’s a Super Ball do?”

“Bounces real high when you throw it down hard.  I might buy this Super Ball.”

“What about green plastic Army men?  You ever had Army men?”

Yeah, I got lots of Army men.”

“You ever had a top like this?  Except mine was bigger than these.  I liked my top.  And if you got it going fast enough, it would whistle.”

Really?  I never had a top.”

“You ought to get you a top. But you gotta get it going fast.  Oh wow.  Look at this.  You got an Etch-A-Sketch?”

“Oh, yeah, I got an Etch-A-Sketch.  I like ‘em.”

“Yeah, I loved my Etch-A-Sketch.  I must’ve gone through about three or four or them.  But I never could do anything on them but go back and forth over and over again so I could see the thing in there that does the writing. You ever do that?  And I could write words on them; I could write anything.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I could write anything.”  And then I wrote out “U. S. A.” and showed him.

“Wow, that’s cool.  I wish I could do that.”

jacks“You can; you just got to practice a lot.  Hey, I know what you can do; what’s your name?  I will write out your name, and then we can put the Etch-A-Sketch back on the rack here, and you can bring your parents over and say ‘Hey, look at this Etch-A-Sketch,’ and it’ll have your name on it.”

He nodded his head and said, “Martin,” and I wrote his name out on the Etch-A Sketch and put it back on the rack.

About that time my adult, school-man mentality kicked in, and I thought to myself, “This kid’s parents should have checked on him by now. He’s been left with this strange adult (me) too long.”  I turned away from the toy display, and just three or four feet behind Martin and me was a thirty-something woman who looked a lot like Martin, and she was trying to hold back a silent laugh.  I think she’d been listening for a while.

I was satisfied that Martin was well looked after, and I needed to slip out of the right rear corner before my wife caught me checking out the toys.

5 thoughts on “Right Rear Corner of the Cracker Barrel

  1. Loved it Tony, we had 2 story house in Mobile so we had fun with the slinkys,get at the top and let her go, I was really good with the jacks and the paddle ball , kids don’t care for those things anymore, love being your cousin!!!!!!

  2. Isn’t it fun to go in the Cracker Barrel store?????? I, too, love the “old” toys. I’m trying to introduce them to my grand. Some of those toys were really fun. Thank, TD for the memories.

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