Grocery Store Anniversary, Fire In ‘The Plan’

Thirty years ago this month, our family grocery store celebrated its 30th anniversary.

That was a big day for us, and one of the proudest and happiest times ever for our mother, Laura Mae Buchman.  She put her heart and soul into that business. Farm raised, a teacher nine years and always a horseback rider, Mom still contended, “We
wouldn’t have ever had anything if it hadn’t been for the store.”

Her fondness for farm life came though when she gave in to buy a two-acre tract in the city limits, so we could get a horse when we were eleven. We had hogs to“pay the bills.”

Dad was the grocery store butcher and free twice daily deliveryman at phone 4-1-O. Very few knew Mom was going to have a baby, and she worked all day before we were born. Her apron was back on in just a few days, with us in a baby basket nearby. She did the ordering, dusted and stocked the shelves, took phone orders, waited on customers, figured the books and could run that adding machine and cash register faster than anyone.

We were allowed to ride the broom as a stick horse and always wore a holster with a toy cap pistol, but that didn’t keep us from our job at the store. We went on the delivery wagon with Dad and were carrying groceries into homes and to cars parked on Main Streetbefore we even started kindergarten. The grocery store was our life too; it was really all we knew, other than nagging to get a horse.

As thriving as Buchman’s Grocery was, business started to taper. We didn’t want to admit it, and Mom and Dad never gave the impression of concern. Just a year after the anniversary, we received that call: “The store is on fire.” Structure was saved and remains, but damage was extensive; the grocery was permanently closed.

It was the beginning of the end. Both of our parents were diagnosed with cancer shortly thereafter and had passed away within four years. We’ll always contend their deaths were caused by stress from the store burning. Perhaps there’s more to the story?

An aunt once claimed, “God knows everything that’s going to happen to us already, including the day of our death.” Verification is Job 14:5: “Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with Thee, Thou hast appointed bounds that he cannot pass.”

As horrible as the store fire was, it may have kept our business from being forced to shut the doors, due to declining trade; the case with some other grocers in town. Explanation comes through Ephesians 1:11: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated, according to the purpose of Him who ordered all things after the counsel of his own will.”