On the short ride home I decided to stop at McDonald's Newsstand on Main Street, about two blocks from the dentist's office. This is a little hole in the wall, a narrow, one-room newspaper, magazine, and cigar shop with a storage room in the back that for years has contained a Joker Poker machine. It has been around all my life. I remember stopping in there countless times with my father in his orange 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle after I served the sparsely-attended 7:00 AM daily Mass. I would look around for new comic books and he would pick up the latest copies of the New York Daily News and the New York Post. I remember seeing a copy of Roger Zelazny's My Name Is Legion there. The cover image by the Brothers Hildebrandt stuck with me so much that I instantly recognized it when I finally read Home Is The Hangman some ten years later. I bought most of my Star Wars comics and Heavy Metal Magazines there. I stopped in a few weeks ago to conirm that they carry the Allentown Morning Call. I'll be needing a copy July 28, and maybe September 3 as well.
As I pulled up I was surprised to see the number of cars parked in front of the place. Usually there is a spot open directly in front, but today I had to park down the street a bit.
I approached the store and noticed that one of the windows, instead of being covered with the usual notices of upcoming school plays and bus trips to Atlantic City, was covered with a single sign with words in foot-high letters: THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING HERE.
That's odd, I thought. I thought much the same when I noticed that the door was closed and it was dark inside the store. A single piece of paper was taped to the door. It said, simply, "Closed."
I focused through the glass into the darkness beyond. The daylight was casting some illumination within. I saw an empty counter. Empty racks. Empty store.
Oh, I can find the newspaper somewhere else, I'm sure. But another piece of Nanticoke, another piece of America, another piece of my life is gone.