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

Born and raised “free range”

By Rick Houser –

Growing up on a farm in rural Ohio had it advantages and disadvantages to say the least. To get to walk over the land and experience a large portion of what God had made our part of the earth was more than a pleasure, but truly a privilege to do first hand. I will say that as a boy I walked all over the farms that were ours and all of the ones around us as far as I could possibly travel. The countryside might look the same but one never knew if just one more step in the right direction and something new and unusual might be there just for your finding.
I loved growing up country and will never regret it as long as I live. The way I traveled and visited our neighborhood it might be safe to say I was raised “free range”. This is not to say my parents didn’t have restrictions on me or my whereabouts but it is safe to say that the words “strict” and “my parents” were never used in the same sentence. Along with concern for me, they also showed trust in me and my judgement.
The first thing I was not to do was to travel on the road. It was a county road and in those days there might be a car an hour passing by and with that much heavy traffic it wasn’t safe for a little boy to be near a road. Secondly, I had a time when I could be out away from the house. This was from sunrise until dusk or at least it felt like I was given that much leeway. Third was to tell one of my parents where I was off to. Three pretty easy rules to go by don’t you think? I thought them to be fair rules. Especially the way they were dealt with.
Since I couldn’t walk on the road I would walk through the fields. They could be a little muddy but they got me to where I was headed. Whether it be to Grandma’s place or Vive Winston’s’, Ed and Louise Maus’s or to Cousin Tom Houser’s’ home just up the road, where my cousin Walter would be there to play with.  I would walk through a briar patch to see Walt. All of the other mentioned places were places of interest to say the least.
Vive had a parakeet and it was the only one I knew of in captivity. It would sing its little head off. Ed and Louise would feed me and let me look at whatever they were working on. Louise might be sewing or Ed would be working out around the barn. My Grandma’s house was just a place where I got food, flowers and spoiling.
To get to and return from all these places took time and when you are little, short legs carry you slowly and would take longer. (I never really did outgrow those short legs.) The third rule was telling them where I was going. On this one I hedged a little. If I thought the trip might be in question, I would tell the one who I thought wasn’t listening the closest or maybe I just wasn’t as clear as I should have been.
A sunny day was like a call to me to come out and look Mother Nature over some more. I walked several miles of farmland and saw what I felt was of interest to me and some new thingd too. In the spring I would walk around all of our ponds and listen to the frogs and look for tadpoles along the backwaters.  In the summer I would walk through a hay field that had just been raked into windrows and follow their paths and smell the newly mowed hay all the time seeing the field in a different view than when it might have been say corn or wheat.
In the fall it could be interesting to gather a bunch of milk weed pods and pull them apart and study their inside fibers. There were so many days when I would just start off in some direction and look at the wonders our world gave us. They probably sound trivial to you all now but when I was out there looking at them usually for the first time, these wonders could and would marvel a little boy.
Some days I was just lonely I guess and wanted to visit the neighbors and listen to new conversations other than those at home and I knew just how glad they would be to see me. I know one summer afternoon I walked over to Ed and Louise Maus’s home and somehow I arrived right at lunchtime. Coincidence? Louise was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known in my life and generous to a fault. When I knocked on the kitchen door she brought me in and sat me at the table and began dipping up a grand meal of roast beef mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob.
Her husband Ed, who most folks called “Dutch” as he was exactly that, was a man of few words and when he spoke he almost would bark out the words and to a stranger this might startle them. But to me, Ed was anything but a stranger. He was my very close friend and was always great to me. He cranked the old wall phone and said the following, “Madeline, Ricky is here. Gonna feed him and then send him home!” Then abruptly he hung up the phone, came back to the table, and began buttering my ear of corn and offered me a piece of pie. Definitely not a bad person at all.
This was one of the examples of what I found while walking the countryside. It really didn’t matter if I found milkweeds, tadpoles, a parakeet that could sing loudly, or neighbors who were good, kind and hospitable. Being a “free range” little boy granted me the thrill of these experiences and memories that will always be mine.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont and enjoys sharing stories of his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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