by Daniel Taylor
“BUMPERS CROSSROADS: two old fart vaudevillians sitting around telling jokes that Grover Cleveland used to laugh at, as a child.” –Thomas E Fuller’s original concept, in its entirety.
“Home” is a state of mind. You either have it, with you, wherever you are, or you don’t. It’s not a place you go; it’s a thing you make.
But, if you are lucky, you occasionally find a place that reminds you of the Home you want. Here, for instance, is a small community, on a country road that doesn’t see much traffic since the interstate came through. It’s a place where everybody knows everybody else — pretty well.
And they like each other anyway.
At its center is a sleepy island of commerce that scarcely disturbs the lush, green countryside. A diner, a service station — that’s a real service station — and a store. A store so “general” that the word is inadequate. It is not a grocery store, nor a clothing store, nor a hardware store, although you will find all of those things within. According to its badly weathered sign, it is simply the Mercantile.
There is a weathered man, in somewhat better shape than the sign, planted in a rocking chair on the front porch. His name is Woody Woodrow, and he and his wife Helen run the Mercantile. He is also the only man for miles around who is not, somehow, related to the man in the rocker next to him. His name is Fred Bumper, but everyone calls him Grandpa; and this is Bumper’s Crossroads.