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 Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Coal company files to intervene in power plant closings Senior Profile: Jessica Sowards Senior Profile: Dennis Welch Dorothy E Walls Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic

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