Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Half an hour with David Woollis

David Woollis, 81 now, estimates that maybe 100 people lived in Cambria when he went into business here --- about the same number as in 1900, when passenger trains rolled through town.

Today, there are about 50 and things have changed. Some would say not much is left, others would say there's just enough.

Street Trading Post still is in business, and Woollis once was a partner there --- Street and Woollis --- then moved down the street a ways and started Woollis Feed & Gas. Now, he sells mostly fire wood.

I spotted him Monday working his big wood pile on main street, stopped and asked if he'd mind if I took his picture. 

This is a part of the country where a wrong number can lead to a half-hour conversation, so he said, "sure you can," allowing that since he didn't have as much energy as he once did he had just been looking for an excuse to take a break anyway. There's another big wood pile in town and more where this came from out in the country. Woollis delivers widely.

It's not much of a trick to strike up a conversation in Wayne County, where pockets of I'm-not-in-that-much-of-a-hurry remain.

So we fiddled around for a while looking for someone to talk about and finally alighted on my shirt-tail cousin, Warren Lee, because I'd noticed the new house he'd built not that long ago while driving into town from the east. 

The Relphs are johnny-come-latelies at Cambria, having moved into the neighborhood in 1944. The Woollises arrived in 1859.

Since Warren Lee's mother, Louise, started life as a Linville, we moved on to her brother, Richard, late and much lamented after dying with a grandson some years ago in a house fire.

Then, because David had delivered wood not long ago to one of Connie Smith's boys up by Chariton, we talked a little about the Curran boy, badly injured in a farm accident a few weeks ago. He's kin to the lady friend.

And so it went, from topic to topic and person to person. We did not talk politics, or religion.

And after a while I got into the truck and drove away and David got back to work. Half an hour well spent.

1 comment:

Ken said...

I went to elementary school in Cambria. It was always a real treat when we were allowed to cross the tracks and buy something at Street and Woollis's.