As a small-town girl, I never imagined living in a city with more than one zip code. I thought, for some reason, I was destined to live a small-town life tucked away in a rural community. I could do that, you know. Live big in a small town.
But, here I am living in Austin: population 885,400 and growing by 110 each day.
I mentioned to co-workers how nice it would be nice if Austin had a feed store. You know, a local place where I could pick up washers or feed (for the cattle in the back 40, of course) or wander through the aisles like a local.
My mom's KitchenAid stand mixer came from a farm store in Lincoln County, Okla., and mine came from a department store. Hello, rural gone urban.
I long for small-town customs: shopping for décor at the pharmacy, eating at the pizza place located behind the antique store and grabbing the local fare (pizza pockets and/or chicken strips) while I fill up my gas-guzzling SUV.
Once you have your go-to places in an urban jungle (hair salon, grocery store, pharmacy, go-to restaurant), life becomes more manageable. Almost small-town like.
Turns out, Austin has a general store located within city limits. (Psst. Thanks Garrett for bringing this to my attention.)
I rolled up on Saturday and it was a thing, y'all. The parking lot was full — but not too full — and the front porch was lined with local vendors. Homemade doughnuts? Stop, Callahan's. Just stop.
Greeted by a goat and the pickin' of an Appalachian-inspired local bluegrass band, it occurred to me how relatable so many experiences seem. Travel and home addresses in four states have not only given me a unique accent, but also a sweeping ability to make a multitude of moments feel like home.
I mean, didn't we just leave the Appalachians? A central-Texas band pickin' at a general store is just about perfect.
This store is a tad more commercial than my liking. It's clear they have been discovered by masses and made a few changes to elevate their product lines. Good for them.
Along with gardening, livestock and general supplies I found Texas products. Swoon.
Jams, rubs, salsa, sauces....
And then I saw them.
The John Deere tractors - of the living room size.
I carried a John Deere 1:16 S670 combine complete with a grain head around the store for more than 20 minutes. Why am I not an aunt? Why?
I already regret the decision to put it back.
I made it home with roasted red pepper salsa, muscadine grape jelly, a tea towel and a candle wicked in Fredericksburg, Texas. The latter, of course, merely served as a tourism liaison for its Hill Country homestead. A quick google search lead to adventure scouting, friends.
Twenty-fifteen is promising Chickasaw Country type of explorations and I'm already wearing my party pants.
About callahan's general store
Callahan’s General Store opened in 1978. If the bustling Saturday morning crows is any indication it has become not only an Austin legend, but also a destination for many in central Texas.
They're open from 8 - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If you're in town, stop by and say hello. You could tell them I sent you, but they'll have no idea what that means.
501 Bastrop Highway
Austin, Texas 78741
I'm a supporter of shopping small. In a world of national chains and cross-country shipping, the benefits of shopping locally are undeniable. Go Local Austin (similar to Keep it Local OK for you Oklahomans) is a way for people spending money to support local businesses and the Austin community.
Each business has a different perk. For example: 10% discount at Alamo Drafthouse. I picked up my loyalty card at People's RX for $15 - I'm all about those breakfast tacos, man. It's proximately to my office is dangerous.
Fat guy in a little coat
I sang this movie quote no less than 18 times while writing this post. You know the one. Yeah, you do. The one where Chris Farley plays Thomas R. "Tommy" Callahan III. Tommy Boy is one of my all-time favorite movies.