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RONDALL SAT motionless in the rocking chair outside Mr. Merriwether's old store. As he waited for the music to start from the corner record shop, thoughts of many fun-filled summer afternoons spent listening to the rich record rhythms raced through his mind. This day, however, was different. With the sudden chill in the air, the street was quiet and empty. He knew that the unpredicted cold that arrived the night before had sent the people into their cramped homes to prepare for the long, hard winter. To Rondall, something comforting resulted from there being no one on the street. Often sitting in the rocking chair hearing the soulful songs a sense of uneasiness was created in him. He was not sure he wanted his friends to discover his pleasure in the rocking chair. After all, what kind of activity was that for the best stick ball player on the street.

Rondall looked in the direction of the door and saw Mr. Merriwether with bent and uneven movements coming towards him. How afraid he had been of the old man the first time he saw him! That was at the beginning of the summer when the rocker first appeared in front of the store. Rondall thought about the many times that Mr. Merriwether had invited him into the old store. There was no electricity inside and the store was very dark, so he always refused the invitation.

"ei, boy," Mr. Merriwether said, "mite bit cold out here today. Better come and warm yourself by the heater, boy."

Rondall looked inside the store and saw the heater, neatly tucked under an old chair by the door. He also saw that the flames coming from the heater gave the store a brightness, usually not present. Rondall stood up, bent his fingers back and forth, and walked slowly into the store.

The first thing Rondall sensed about the store was its smell. He smiled because he felt that the smell was just right for this store. He didn't think about this long, because he was so busy looking at all the old things that Mr. Merriwether had in the store. Every inch of the store was packed with old furniture and other objects.

"You see that table there under all them chairs?" Mr. Merriwether asked. "Well, Mrs. Johnson over in the projects been tryin' to get it for near over a year. But we can't get it, since all them chairs is in the way. Funny ain't it, how you can see something, touch it and want it, but can't have it. Oh, well." With that, Mr.