Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

Looking forward to that morning break

When I was growing up on the farm my Dad and family raised a lot of tobacco and hay. To handle the volume properly it was very necessary to hire a lot of help. Along with Web the hired hand there was my brother Ben, sister Peg, Mom and myself that worked with Dad in roles where we could help the best, but at heavy crop times more men were needed.

Just like today, good farm hands are hard to find, if they can be found at all. Dad wouldn’t hire just anyone that came along. He wanted men who tried and gave effort to the task. Along with the prevailing wages at the time, which weren’t that great, Dad used what today would be called a perk. At about ten in the morning he would stop us all and open the truck and say “come on boys let’s take a break.” With that he would reach in the truck and pull out a large thermos of coffee and a two gallon jar of home brewed ice tea and an applesauce cake. The men quickly gathered around and got coffee, tea and a piece of cake and found some shade to rest in.

I have to feel my dad was the first farmer to offer a coffee break to farm field hands. He might not have been, but to this day I have yet to be told of another who offered it. So Dad wins. He had a couple of reasons to do this. First, he hired boys from town. Dad felt that they were raised on pop and potato chips and would run out of steam before lunch. He said it was better to refuel their engines and thought he would be repaid many times over by the regenerated energy they got from a few minutes of rest and some nutrition. Second, our family was not typical in the big bacon and egg type breakfasts. We normally had coffee, cereal or oatmeal. So about 10a.m., Dad always took that break whether we had help there or not.

My Mom prepared the break food. She brewed sweet ice tea that had a tasty unique flavor to it. She made strong coffee that went over well with the men and she would bake a spice cake and add applesauce to it to moisten it. She also would add raisins and if she ran out of those she substituted another ingredient, and in my mom’s case that could be good or very scary since a person never really knew what the substitute was.

If she didn’t bake a cake, we got oatmeal or Toll House cookies. Both of course were homemade. There was one main ingredient she put in all her tea, cakes and cookies, a large helping of sugar. Mom never cut corners when it came to her cooking and anyone who sampled any of her cooking will attest that she did it well. In the 10 to 20 minute break the men got the large intake of sugar that more than re-energized them.

I recall the breaks a lot when we cut tobacco but they were there also for setting tobacco or baling hay and straw. As we were in the stripping room for what seemed like most of the winter, a coffee break definitely was a daily necessity. Imagine my surprise when I became old enough to work for other farmers and learned a morning break didn’t exist except at our farm? I was in shock and quite disappointed. It made working for your Dad much more desirable. This small perk seemed to always get Dad the hired hands he needed when he needed them. Men weren’t afraid of hard work, but being treated with a little concern for them had to help the cause.

Dada always tried to have safe working conditions to prevent injuries. He paid weekly and paid the going rate. He asked that he receive a hard days labor for a decent pay (minimum wage) and added a home cooked lunch and the morning coffee break. Maybe all that sugar kept the men’s minds off of the wages. By the way, if all was not consumed in the morning, we would stop around 3 p.m. and finish off the rest. A two break day on a farm! Unheard of, but enjoyed.

I feel I must mention that there was a by product with the break. That was the conversation. Those could be the latest local or world news. Sometimes it could be a few whopper stories or just some plain old gossip. No matter what the topic I found it to be entertaining to say the least. Today they are just good old stories from a good old time.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and likes to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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Rick Houser

The Good Old Days

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