Gas, Grub & Gossip: Every Day but Sunday

Country stores are good places to get what you need and to see everything from friendly faces to ghosts.

By: Drew Bratcher

Raymond Poole’s family at Poole’s General Store in Seneca, Maryland: wife Frances “Billie” Poole, daughters Jo Ann and Marilyn, and son Jack.

Since 1948, Raymond Poole has spent nearly every day except Sunday in the crowded aisles of Poole’s General Store in Seneca, Maryland. The store, he says, might be “the only thing in Seneca except the water in the creek,” but for more than a hundred years, locals—many of them horse farmers—have flocked there for tools and supplies. Inside, they sink their hands into open bins of grain and order ham sandwiches from the deli. Out back, Poole’s son shovels feed into wide truck beds. “If I had a diary from the first day I worked here till the last, it’d be worth some money,” Poole says. “But I don’t remember much.”

Photograph by David Deal