For some reason, when I was in middle-school, I loved popcorn to a degree I never had before or have since. I mean, I still like it, but I probably don't have it more than half a dozen times a year now while back then I had it every day. As soon as I got home from school, I would get out the popcorn popper (no microwave then!), the butter-salt, a big glass of ice-tea and a book. I would sit at the kitchen table and eat popcorn with one hand, and turn pages with the other (I was careful not to get my books greasy!).
Popcorn was not a regular purchase item for my mother's shopping trips. She didn't keep a tab on the status of the bag of popping corn or the level of the butter-salt shaker, so unless I remembered to ask her to get some, I ended up having to make supply runs on my own. Fortunately, there was The Pig.
The Piggly Wiggly on Covenant Road near Trenholm Park had been there as long as I could recall, and unlike a trip to Trenholm Plaza, getting to it from our house required crossing no major roads so my parents had been OK for years with me riding my bike there. I would ride down Oakwood to Satchel Ford to Bethel Church to Covenant and park my bike on the left side of the store. (Back then I didn't lock it, now I probably would). The Pig was a small store, nothing special really, in fact my mother rarely shopped there because they packed their produce on trays under cling wrap so you really couldn't see how fresh it was, but aside from the popcorn it had another draw for me: a book "spinner" rack.
Stocking for racks like this was always hit-or-miss, but apparently the distributor/jobber who had responsibility for The Pig's rack in those days had a taste for science fiction (or maybe he got some kind of discount -- who knows?). At any rate, there were usually new DAW paperbacks in the rack -- those were the days of the white page borders and the Kelly Freas covers:
If I had the money (iffy..), I could always come home with a new book to read with my popcorn.
In later years, I moved out of town and lost close track with The Pig, but apparently it had some rather interesting times before it finally closed. If I recall the story my sister or father told me, at one point it was closed for a while and then got a new owner who refused to stock any beer or wine for religious reasons. (I recall thinking that was an odd amount of leeway for a chain to give to an individual store..). In the end, the market changed, and it was really too small and old a building to compete with the new wave of upscale grocers and probably too close to The Pig on Forest Drive to make sense for the chain (and that Pig is noticably upscale itself). Half of the building now houses a Dollar General (they have the best peppermints I've ever found, by the way, at least since altoids changed their recipie) while the other half is empty.
And darn it, it was fun to say "I'm going to hop to the pig".
UPDATE 28 July 2010: Added full street address to post tile, and the fact that this was store "No. 98" as well. Added graphic (and link to) The Lion Game.
UPDATE 4 May 2011: Changed closing date in the post title to February 2005 based on commenter Andrew's research.
UPDATE 17 October 2011 -- Well they have finally found a tenant for some of the vacant space. It appears we will get a new pizza parlor, Milano Pizza:
UPDATE 26 January 2012 -- The pizzeria is open: