Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey Operation Christmas Child begins Nov. 14 Mental Health levy on tomorrow’s ballot Wanda L. Nixon David Rogers Robert “Bobby” Leonard Keneth Waters Commissioner Worley seeks re-election Republican challenger vies for Commissioner’s seat Charles Cooper Thelma J White Kayleigh L Crothers AEP Ohio employees support Breast Cancer Awareness Month WUHS holds annual Beta Club and Honor Society inductions When Saturday mornings belonged to the kids of the house Senior Profile: Gloria Purdin Green-White Night, OHSAA Meeting at WUHS on Nov. 9
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No more tabs!

Charlie owned and operated “Dodd’s Market”, a small neighborhood grocery store. I started working for Charlie when I was thirteen. I loved working at the store and I loved being around Charlie. Those really were “the good old days” of small family owned businesses and corner markets. Charlie knew most of his customers by first name and many of the “regulars” stopped by just to shoot the breeze.

Charlie was always cutting up, always joking around. He was a strong man with a grip like a vice. Our daily ritual was Charlie stretching out his hand and saying, “Put her there.” My challenge was to shove my hand as far back into Charlie’s as fast as possible, before he got a death grip on my fingers. After clamping down on my hand he would stomp on my foot and push me backwards. It was all I could do not to fall like a tree. He wouldn’t let me go until I cried, “I give!” And Charlie was no respecter of persons, he was more than willing to extend the same challenge to any kid who entered the store and many accepted and many fell.

My first job was carrying out the produce and displaying it outside, at the front of the store. In the morning I’d carry it out, and in the evening I’d carry it back, 50 cents each way. Charlie gradually added responsibilities as I proved myself. I thought I’d arrived when he allowed me to check out customers. In retrospect, I think it was the first time I felt like an adult, like a man.

I can see that old manual cash register with the pop-up numbers and pop-out money drawer, in my mind’s eye. I remember the cardboard box filled with “tabs” that we kept on a shelf under the register. Many of our “regular customers” would place their items on the counter and say, “Put it on my tab.” I’d pull out their tab and enter, by hand, every item they purchased. There were no credit applications to complete, just their word, their promise to pay. On pay days, they’d usually settle up or at least make a partial payment.

Robert Frost, in his famous poem, “The Road Not Taken”, wrote, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, yet knowing how way leads to way, I doubted that I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence.” Life took me down another path. I went away to college, Charlie was forced to sell his store for the construction of a high rise apartment building and he eventually died of cancer.

Several years after Charlie’s death I saw his son, Tom, at a football game. We reminisced about “the good old days” of working together at the store. Tom told me that Charlie had several boxes of “tabs”, thousands of dollars worth of unpaid accounts, when the store closed. Charlie had every legal right to demand payment in full, but Tom told me that Charlie just threw them all away and said, “No more tabs!”

When I think about the mercy and grace that God extended to me, I think of Charlie. I was saddled with a debt of sin and shame that I could never repay. Like Charlie, God had every legal right to demand payment in full. But, Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, paid it for me. Jesus’ last words on the cross were, “It is finished,” an ancient accounting expression meaning “Paid in full.” In other words, “No more tabs!”

Are you saddled with a spiritual debt you can never repay? Well, I have some “good news” for you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-9). No more tabs!

Now, on a practical horizontal plane, is there someone who you’re keeping tabs on? Are you harboring resentment and bitterness? Jesus said that when we refuse to extend mercy and forgiveness to others that we are “delivered to the tormentors” (Matthew 18:34). And bitterness is such a waste of life, a waste of time. So what do you say? Why not “throw away the tabs”, just let it go, and move on?

Loren Hardin is a social worker with Southern Ohio Medical Center – Hospice and can be reached at hardinl@somc.org or 740-356-2525.

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Straight Paths

Loren Hardin

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2016 People's Defender