By Margaret Thomas – Special to the Navarro County Gazette

In our Eureka community along Highway 287 there were two grocery stores with gas pumps. One was near the Gin, Post Office, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. The other was located in what was called “Lower Eureka” further down highway 287, fairly close to Chambers and Richland Creeks.

Mr. Lewis Bonner, then later his son, Bill Bonner owned the store near the Gin, Churches. Don and wife, Hattie Chandler owned the Chandler Store located in lower Eureka. The location of the Chandler Store was Hwy 287 and CR 3110 (across from ReMax RE Office).

The Chandler Store was more or less the unofficial Eureka Community Center for residents who lived in what was called Lower Eureka. Daily, men in the community gathered there to “shoot the bull” about various subjects. In the winter they sat on benches inside the store in front of the candy case, hovered over a small gas heater.

In the Spring and Summer months, everyone sat on the south side of the building on a long bench. It was very common for four to eight men to be gathered there discussing their crops, talking politics, and pulling pranks on others. I was content to entertain myself watching their pranks, listening to their conversations or inside meddling in the candy case or dipping Velvet ice cream cones for customers.

Saturday afternoons were the busiest times of the week. All the nearby farmers and farm help made their way to the store to purchase their weekly groceries, buy blocks of ice for their home refrigerator, and socialize with others. Most came by foot, while a few had mules and a wagon as transportation.

In those days, there was no daily newspaper delivery and certainly no TV but it was not needed. Any news of the day was quickly distributed to others by those at the Chandler Store or Bonner Store. In addition, on occasion, the news was created there.

My most vivid recollection is on Saturday afternoons when younger men in the Lower Eureka area came to the Chandler Store with their family for ice, groceries. While Miss Hattie and my Auntie gathered the meats and groceries the women ordered, I would man the cold drink box. Without fail, the young men in their twenties would tell me they wanted a Bear Track and a Bloater. Immediately, I filled their order of a Cold RC Cola from the drink box, and a Peanut Pattie from the candy case.

Those Were The Days.

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