This is a response to your interview article of Hey Neighbor [“Come and Knock on Their Door,” Oct. 3]. You referred to Mule Skinner’s Grocery & Grill as a “hole in the wall.” Mule Skinner’s is a special hole in the wall. It was built in the 1940s (a one-room stone building) by Reid Hawkins, now deceased. He was a well-known and respected man in these parts. Many used the building as a grocery store. At one time, a beauty salon was operated by one of Mr. Hawkins’ daughters. Years passed; the store closed [and] fell into disrepair. Eventually the roof fell in.
A few years ago, the roof was rebuilt. My son, David Warren, had a dream of putting in a little neighborhood grocery/grill. The inside of the building was gutted, the stone walls pressure-cleaned, a great kitchen installed. David placed picnic tables under some trees and a place for horseshoe games. Oh, and lest I forget, there is Bessie, the mule in an adjacent pasture. Many folks enjoy seeing her. Lots of work and sweat went into this dream, especially since Mr. Hawkins had built it. My son is very sentimental. Mr. Hawkins was—and this building is—very special to him.
In the spring, the porch is hung with all kinds of flowering plants … . This fall there have been pumpkins, chrysanthemums and corn stalks—and always, fresh produce on the produce stand. Also hanging, you will see halters, harnesses … signs and other memorabilia from yesteryear.
My daughter, Lynn DeLoi, is the owner/manager/cook. Weekday mornings you will find many hardworking men and women stopping in for a country breakfast … [t]here’s even a breakfast club on Fridays. Then, as the rush is over, here come the retirees … eager to enjoy the news and gossip of the day. Many enjoy sitting on the bench outside, soaking up the fresh air and the sunshine.
Some evenings, after a hard day’s work, some folks stop in for milk, bread, cigarettes, perhaps a beer. Some may tarry a while to catch up on the day’s happenings or visit with each other. Many people from different walks of life come through the door of Mule Skinner’s. Sometimes there are impromptu jam sessions—guitars, banjos and singing. There’s lots of musical talent in this neck of the woods. It is an interesting place.
— Yvonne DeLoi Martin