John Ward

A glimmer of hope is shining in Becker with a new neighborhood Dollar General store that is filling the gap left by the closing of the two previous convenience stores that once populated the downtown area. Even the former Helen’s Beauty Shop is coming back to life under a new owner.

More than 50 people were recently lined up on a brisk November Saturday morning to take advantage of the door prizes offered after the ribbon was cut at Dollar General.

Before the customers even got into the store, students from Hatley schools were passing around jars for contributions to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Supporter Gayle George told me that close to $200 had been contributed by the time she left the store around 2 p.m., not to mention toy and food donations to boot.

I salute the store’s manager, Angela Parham, and her crew for being willing to share what could have all gone into their cash registers to help people that couldn’t come there to shop. Thanks also to Tony Dill for donning his Santa suit again to add Christmas spirit to the festive occasion. He even asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him that my wife needed another car since hers caught fire and burned up while I drove it a few weeks ago.

Santa was momentarily stunned, but replied, “I’ll have to see what I can do about that! I’m just glad you’re okay!”

My family and I have enjoyed being part of the Becker community since the former Moon’s Grocery was still in operation with Elgin Agee operating a tractor parts business in the back. Any news of the area other than Elgin’s tall tales could be heard by visiting either Helen Sims and crew at her beauty shop or postmaster Geneva Moon at the Post Office.

I remember teasing Geneva that it took as long to get my mail at Becker as it did in the big city where I grew up. The only difference was where I had to wait in line in the big city Post Office periodically hearing “Next” as the postal clerks worked away at serving customers, at Becker the same amount of time would be spent sharing happy news about community and family, which would be of no interest to people living in a metropolis where one barely knows who their neighbor is.

Dollar General will no doubt be the new community meeting place for the neighbors all the way down to Becker Bottoms who are now spared having to make the trip into Amory and wait in lines at stores there.

My friends, Tony and Belinda Ingellis, were first in line at Dollar General that Saturday morning to collect their gift cards and celebrate the grand opening. Tony did miss something from the previous stores in Becker, however.

“I just wish they had a gas pump,” he said.

John Ward is a staff writer for the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

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