25 things vanishing in America, part 2: Butcher shops

When was the last time you went to a butcher? Not the person stashed at the back of the grocery store, far from the light of day, but an honest-to-goodness butcher in his own storefront, who shoots the breeze and can gauge with his hand the exact weight of a cut before it hits the scale? If you're living in America, chances are you've never been to one at all. They've become as antiquated as five-and-dimes and general stores.

There's an old-fashioned butcher, Anthony, near my house, and I know full well that I'm lucky to have him. I make a point of patronizing places that I want to see stick around. I know I could get my meat cheaper at the supermarket, but I also know that every dollar I spend with my butcher makes it possible for him to be my butcher.