For those who don’t know, Pierce and Company is a store in my home town of Hallsboro, North Carolina. It has been in continuous operation since the late 19th century and still has a wide variety of items for sale, from hardware to toys to screws to garden tools to lumber to groceries— and the best custom meat market to be found anywhere.
If I could see through the woods, the store would be in sight of my house. Since it is so convenient, I often go there to get just one item at a time. So yesterday I went there to get some hamburger meat. I drove around to the back of the store to park next to a warehouse. There is a front door to the store but it is usually locked and the main entrance is a solid metal door on the side.
As I got out of my car I noticed two boys sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck parked near the warehouse. One appeared to be about fifteen years old and the other was younger. I probably wouldn’t have noticed them if one of them had not been blowing on a harmonica. I say blowing rather than “playing” because the sound coming from the musical instrument was not close to music.
I like all kinds of music and I was glad to see that this young man was apparently trying to learn to make music with the harmonica. So I walked over to them and asked, “Y’all from around here?”
“Yep,” was the reply from the older one, the one not blowing on the harmonica.
“Just learning to play the harmonica?” I asked the instrumentalist.
“I cain’t really play it,” he said. “It’s my brother’s,” he indicated with a nod toward his older sibling.
“Can you play it?” I asked the other boy.
“Nope. Cain’t neither one of us play it. We seen this man playin’ it on Hee Haw back before Christmas and told Daddy we wanted one so he got it for Christmas.” (Hee Haw is an old television show now in reruns on RFD-TV.)
“You think you might want to play the harmonica on television?” I continued.
“Naw,” answered the older boy. “Hee Haw ain’t on no more.”
“You just like the music, huh?” I asked.
As the younger boy answered, he handed the harmonica to this brother, “Not really. Jeremy (the older brother) said if we got to where we could play it good, girls’d get up around us like they did that fella on Hee Haw.”
“You think that’ll work?” I asked the older brother.
“Oh, yeah. But we gonna have to go somewhere ‘sides Pierce and Company.”
You can get a lot of things at Pierce and Company but girls are not on the list.