He’s part of the neighborhood, probably the heart. In this little corner of Ohio where the tourists come all summer and the local sidewalks are rolled up along about October, he and his crew are the source of warmth and news and advice from the neighborhood. Ray’s “Erie Food Market” is a tiny little Delicatessen/General Store, that is a throwback to the General Store’s of old. The place where in the early morning hours you’ll find retired guys swapping stories and telling tall tales to each other and along about dinnertime recipes and family stories are exchanged and laughter and compassion are the key. It truly is a place where everybody knows your name and you’ve managed to step back in time to a place where people and the very landscape seem to welcome you.
Last winter in the worst of it my husband was on bedrest after a hip replacement and I in my cap was walking about very slowly with C.O.P.D. and a touch of a cold when the car broke down, and I called Ray’s and Laurie answered and said sure she could take an order and deliver it later when Jane came in for the afternoon shift. So on her way home on a terrible slippery snowy day that strong little woman got us through that impasse of having no car to transport the groceries and no strength to do so either. She’ll never know how appreciated such kindness are. I didn’t have to worry about food on hand for at least another week because of that beautiful little woman taking her own time to make sure we had our groceries. I can still remember her slogging through the high snow ( she’s just a tiny thing) carrying a multitude of bags with that big smile of hers.
Another time a few years ago, again with a terrific winter snow when the road was plowed the end result was between the drifts and plow piles too high (5 foot) for a neighbor to get out to the market and he called Ray. I can still remember poking my head out to see Ray slinging those Grocery bags up and over to Danny with such grace and humor, I could hear Danny on the other side of the drift saying “got it!” to Ray, our friend, our grocer, and the proud Grandfather of little Mia. Now sometimes I’ll go into the little store that holds everything from soup to nuts to candles to motor oil and find little Mia behind the counter helping out her Grandpa. What a wonderful life.