By Lnn Moncus
The conversations at the coffee tables and almost anywhere the natives of our county have met this week have been devoted to discussion of that major fire at the Sands-Dorsey Building and of the memories we have of that large area of our history.
We have all felt a major loss because we have known that building and many of its inhabitants all our lives. Some drank their first sodas at Sands-Dorsey Drug. Others received their childhood shots from the doctors upstairs. Still others had their first teeth pulled by the dentists on that floor or received their first permanent at the beauty salon. Many girls bought their first formals from Mrs. Elder or Miss Bess. Ranchers had their boots made by Curly Fuqua, and some received their first telegrams from the Western Union.
We have listed the many clerks we knew who worked at Sands and have recalled numerous experiences we had in that drug store.
For instance, Jo Priddy recalled that her young son, Brian, had purchased a gift at the dime store next door only to learn they didn’t offer gift wrapping. He merely took the present to Sands and had it gift wrapped for free. It never occurred to him that his wishes wouldn’t be granted by the clerk who waited on him.
When Dad was sheriff, he and some of the other officers, including J. Bronson Moore, arrested a murderer and rescued a kidnap victim in the Sands. That event was much in the news, and a number of people who had been present were relieved that the incident was handled quietly and no one was hurt although a number of guns were in evidence. I feel sure Dad’s gun was still in its holster because he didn’t believe in aiming guns in all directions. He used to tell me to aim a gun at a person only in the event I intended to shoot him; otherwise, I could hurt someone unintentionally simply because I had an itchy trigger finger.
Many of us wished we could go into that drug store on a warm day and order a real ice cream soda, even a real coke, or an ice cream cone packed with real ice cream. We sipped our coffee and realized it was probably just as good as that served at the fountain, but we knew that we couldn’t begin to find anything that really resembled those wonderful treats we could purchase at the fountain.
Although we lost much of our history as the building burned, we have our memories and we have people who have been writing and interviewing to capture some of those memories for posterity.
Our old buildings are our old friends, and we mourn their loss.