By the time I came along
back in the late nineteen hundreds,
quirky general stores and varieties
were already damn near dead.
I remember Ben Franklins’ down in Morehead
stayed in business for a long time
mostly ‘cause the owner had a real smart parrot
who would follow you around the aisles
talking and squawking up a storm.
I can’t believe I’ve  forgotten his name
but it’s been a long time

and he was pretty rude for a pretty bird.
Over here in Olive Hill the novelty wore off
when the factories closed
and they banned ol’ Tom T. Hall
from raisin’ hell in his own hometown
after a few too many Billy Beers.
And the back streets were lined
with charming storefronts
turned struggling furniture stores
and the kind of junk shops
where everything you try to buy
smells musty enough to get you sneezing.
Ain’t nothing much left here now
but the churches, one brand of Baptist or another,
and the cemetery ghosts of folks
who used to matter.