Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak

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