Cooley’s Drug Store


A walk down Main Street on a cool April day,

Just like we’d done mor’n 45 years ago today,

Peered in shuttered windows of stores long ago,

Each began to open and memories started to flow.


“Remember when…” we’d often be sayin’,

And relate some moment of teen-aged playin’,

About the merchant or cobbler or the five ‘n ten,

And the tricks and fun we had back then.


We came to Harold Cooley’s Rexall Drug Store,

And pressed our noses on the pane of the door,

It was dark inside and little we could see,

As we peeked into that quaint old pharmacy.


Came behind us a voice ‘neath the orange Rexall sign,

“Would you fellas like to go inside?” he said quiet and kind,

“Oh man, you bet!” we together did say,

As the caretaker unlocked that old door of yesterday.


He opened the door and beckoned us in,

We stepped across the old threshold worn and thin,

And to the right we were instinctively drawn,

To magazines and cards dusted by years long gone.


We browsed in amazement, my how time does fly,

As we strolled past memories and dreams did glide,

On this special tour we looked all around,

My goodness! There’s Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.


I picked up a card that I dusted and blew,

And suddenly – Presto! It was 1962,

From the back “hi ya kids,” Harold shouted,

Everyone liked Harold and that was not doubted.


With that kindly smile, handshake or pat on the back,

He made customers his friends, he had that knack,

A retired colonel with no obvious military bearing,

Coming to the drug store was always a social fairing.


We rounded the aisle to the neighborhood roost,

There it was, the soda fountain with delectable sluice,

Shirley serving up cherry cokes, banana splits, and shakes,

Along with butterscotch sundaes and cherry phosphates.


We sat on the stools all lined in a row,

With our friends this was our afternoon depot,

I splurged fifteen cents for a sundae so sweet,

Robert sprang for a quarter for his milkshake treat.


Talking and flirting with the cute soda jerk,

She smiled back but was dedicated to her work,

Who else at the counter enjoying an afternoon pause? 

A smoke and coffee break was some locals’ cause.


Filled with the sweets that we so eagerly slurped,

We slipped off our stools and shamelessly burped,

Boy was it good to visit Cooley’s drug store again,

Waiving good-bye, passing the watches, combs, and pens.


We opened the door with its familiar sound,

Stepping outside with memories abound,

Looking back, why the old store was all dark and quieted,

No people, no Harold, just dusty and requited.


Does a soul good, these trips to yesteryear,  

To youthful times and people simple and dear,

As our minds are free our thoughts can roam,

Who says you really can’t go back home?  


   by Larry Troxel