A Cowboy’s Faith: Remembering Mom’s unsurpassed generosity to everyone

buchmanhead“Farm folks often parked in front of ‘Laura Mae’s’ on Saturday afternoon and evening.”

Somebody reminded that recently, reminiscing years long gone.

Mom was Laura Mae; frequently synonymous for Buchman’s Grocery.

A family business with one-handed-dad Clarence the butcher, Aunt Lu filling phone orders, Frankie carryout-delivery-boy, and always-dedicated-coworkers, Laura Mae greeted everybody coming in the door.

Generally-seeming-loud, always-outgoing-friendly acknowledgement from a broad-toothy, bright-red-lipstick-rimmed grin, shadowed with flamboyant-earrings, was welcome of the cologne-accented, robust, white-aproned grocery store operator.

Laura Mae knew everyone, or soon would. Never shy, forever interested in all others.

Growing up with very little material-wise, Mom was ambitious, hardworking, envisioning. Strong affection for the land, but moreover its people.

Riding a horse to school as a student and nine years as a teacher were fond reflections.

Dad’s combine accident forced our parents from the farm into town to operate a tiny café before the grocery store.

Fortunately, most of their farm neighbors and many of the rural community appreciated the down-to-earth, above-and-beyond, friendly-service making business thrive. Such, despite country roots, Mom’s contention: “We wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for the grocery store and all of our friendly customers.”

Love for the grocery business was surpassed only by Laura Mae’s love for common-folk, customers, employees and family.

In 35 years at the grocery store checkout, Laura Mae helped lots of people. Everybody was Laura Mae’s heartfelt friend, despite some sadly misunderstanding her open-handed forthrightness.

When anybody’s loved one passed, Mom was the first offering food and sympathy.

Whoever lifted a hand, Laura Mae reciprocated. Nickel for youth carryout, pack of cigarettes for snow scooper, even bologna for the bum, and always a free cup of coffee and cookies for everyone.

The snotty-nosed, dirty-fingered, shirtless-kids who’d steal a pop bottle from the unlocked-behind-the-store warehouse to redeem for two cents, Laura Mae set straight with a penny candy, and swat out the door.

Foremost were employees. From grade-schoolers, through married-moms, dads, and in-between, they didn’t just work for Laura Mae. Each was family, appreciatively treated as such.

Laura Mae’s customers never went hungry. Upon early passing, incomprehensible unpaid-charge-accounts were still owed the store, which destroying-fire closed years earlier.

Truly, Mom, best remembered as Laura Mae, was the most generous ever.

Reminds us of Proverbs 11:25: “The generous shall be enriched. One who helps another reaps generosity shown.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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