Ive been saying for years that one of these days there will be just one big bank in this country, and I think were almost there.

I spent over 30 years banking with the same old bank in Dayton. I got to know the tellers and the managers and even some of the other customers. Then I leave town for 15 years and when I get back, that bank is gone, along with all of the others for miles around, replaced by new banks with new names and new policies that benefit the new banks and saddle the old customers with higher costs.

Those new banks didnt just replace the old banks that were familiar to me 15 years ago; they replaced the ones that replaced the ones that replaced the original ones that had previously been there forever. Not only that, but the new banks I found here 15 years later have been replaced several times since then.

Furthermore, not all of them were replaced; some just rode off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. I guess thats what progress is all about.

Sadly, its not just banks that are being gobbled up and spit out by bigger ones, its happening with grocery stores too.

Last winter when we were in Florida, one of my favorite places to shop for groceries was Albertsons Supermarket. They had the best specials on fresh meats and a lot of other great bargains to boot. Plus there were a lot of neat thrift shops along the way where we could stop and browse. So this year, were on our merry way to Albertsons, stopping at all the thrift shops, even picking up a few things we couldnt live without. But when we arrived at our destination, the doors were locked up tight and the store was empty. Just gone forever. I could have cried.

And thats not the end of the story. On the other side of town was this little scratch and dent type grocery store where a person could pick up all kinds of edible bargains for just a fraction of the supermarket price like 25-cents for a one pound slightly wrinkled box of pasta every variety you could think of, plus other items too numerous to mention.

I guess you know where Im going with this, dont you? If youre thinking that store had gone out of business, too, youd be right. I cant tell you how disappointed I was when we pulled in that parking lot and found just an empty building with a For Sale sign on the front door.

But my sad story doesnt end there, either. When we got back home this month, I find another old shopping place, Cubs Market is also out of business. That was a heartbreaker, not because I did most of my shopping there, but because of a few items you could get there that you couldnt get anywhere else in town.

I doubt if Ill ever find a replacement for Cubs brand plain old sliced white bread. It was always so fresh and soft and made the best toast youd ever want to slather with butter and dunk into a Sunny-side-up egg and only 57-cents a loaf! In their deli you could get Troyers off-the-bone ham (a brand no other store around here carries) that tastes like you really did cut it right off a fresh baked ham. And when the holidays rolled around, you could stock up on sugar and flour and other such baking needs for even less than Aldis could offer. And now Gone, Baby Gone!

But all is not lost! On the bright side, Kroger (one of two major supermarkets remaining in the entire county) had fresh asparagus on sale this week for 99-cents a pound. I bought two pounds and roasted half of it for the veggie part of our dinner yesterday and today made a Bisquick Impossible Quiche with the rest. It sure brightened up my day.

Hope springs eternal, like asparagus in March.


2 cups ham, chopped 3 Eggs

1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese 3/4 cup Bisquick

1 lb. Asparagus, cooked crisp-tender and cut into 1 pieces2 green onions, sliced (use green tops, too)

1-1/2 cups milkSalt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease quiche dish or 9 pie plate. Spread ham, cheese, asparagus and onions into plate. Beat milk, eggs, baking mix, salt and pepper until smooth and well blended. Pour into plate over asparagus mixture. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 or 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 6-8 servings.