A tale of the stripmall store and the people within

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Photo: cardomain.com
Photo: cardomain.com

Like many Kentuckians, my friend Glenn is very generous.  He gave me a car.  His silver Chevy Cavalier belonged to me every time I came to town.  The same was true for other visitors but for the two weeks I was in Lexington every year, it was all mine. 

How to repay such generosity?  I thought hard. 

Sidenote:  Where I live, such acts of kindness must be reciprocated.  It’s actually a law: one must not offer nor receive a gift or gesture without repayment in kind within a certain time to be determined by the giver.  Should that time be exceeded, the recipient will be advised by The Silent Treatment. 

Using my best “I-pretend-to-be-from-Kentucky-even-though-I’m-not” thinking, I came up with the perfect thing – I would repair the trunk!  

Lately, as you were driving along, the latch had taken to randomly releasing the rear hood causing it to catapult forward and threaten to smash the rear window.  In my case, I was often so startled I would slam on the brake causing the trunk lid to stop bolt upright completely obscuring the rear view. Alternately, it would latch so securely that the only way to retrieve one’s belongings was to crawl thru a tiny rear seat opening into a pitch black trunk with a flashlight and screwdriver to search out the offending clasp. Being in the latter position in dressy clothes more than once, I decided that fixing the trunk would be perfect repayment.

Discovering the culprit to be a plastic mechanism that had dislodged from the trunk hood, I headed where anyone living in Versailles would: to Terry’s 5 & 10 cent store.  I was pretty sure I’d find plastic cement, or “see ment” as its sometimes called, among the penny candy, 1950’s housewares and way in the back, my personal favorite, live fish and turtles.  The promise of being greeted by the aroma of roasting cashews alongside the 25 cent mechanical horse with a Western saddle had me on my way. 

From Terry's Facebook page
From Terry’s Facebook page

Now if you have ever been to Terry’s in Versailles, you know it’s a shopping experience like no other, particularly if Terry is in the house.  Wandering the aisles can be like hypnotically clicking link after link of Facebook pages where u find things you were unprepared to come upon.  Over the years, I had stumbled upon everything from a music box that plays My Old Kentucky Home topped with a model of Ashland to every kind of party and Christmas decoration to pink flamingos, ruffled lace by the yard and something resembling saran wrap that was labeled “Adult rain bonnet with visor.”  Young family members were delighted with purchases I could not resist such as the Volcano Making Kit, ant farm, bow and arrow, pirate patch, chattering teeth and a “96 Shot” package for cowboy guns.  Honestly, you can get lost in the place.

From Terry’s Facebook page


But Terry’s is unique in one very important way: the people who work there KNOW WHERE ALL THE STUFF IS!  I was led directly to the shelf of adhesives where I began reading labels.  After the 4th one I was completely confused until I heard a voice close to my ear say ” What’re you lookin’ to fix?”  And from that point on, Terry was in charge.  

I explained about the trunk.  He said “Well let’s see what we’re talking about” and the next thing I know, We’re outside with the rear hood open directly into 90 degree sunshine and Terry is climbing INSIDE the trunk so he can “get a better look”.  Once in there, he sat facing the rear, flashlight in hand.  As he began to lower the lid from inside to get that better look, I had a panicky image of it closing all the way leaving his lower legs dangling outside like those Halloween body-in-the-trunk gags. Luckily that was avoided by the arrival of another smaller man who climbed in next to Terry and turned out to be his son-in-law. 

Between the two of them, they figured out that super glue offered the fastest fix but agreed it probably wouldn’t last.  I followed Terry back inside where he encouraged me to take a 3 tube package that was better AND cheaper than the one I had picked up.  “If I was you,” he said, “I’d head over to the auto parts store for a new latch.  Then you can return this glue.  Good luck and you have yourself a nice day now.”

From Terry's Facebook page
From Terry’s Facebook page

As he walked away, I wasn’t sure what amazed me more: Terry’s willingness to diagnose and repair my car problem himself or his desire to do so with the least possible cost to me.  He all but GAVE me the glue.

And by the way, it did the trick.  

I never had to go anywhere else. 

Now that’s service.  

Editor’s note: On a recent Friday, this sign appeared in Terry’s door. Word is, it won’t be coming down. We wish the best to this good man and his family.