Defender columnist publishes book of short essays

HouserCoverGood natured stories about life on the farm –

By Patricia Beech –

Fans of Rick Houser’s weekly column in the People’s Defender can now access an anthology of his work. A collection of his homespun tales of rural life in southern Ohio during the 1950’s and 60’s has been published by the Xlibris Publishing Company and titled “There Are Places I Remember.”

For Houser the book is about preserving memories for his family.

“I grew up listening to older people tell stories, and when they passed away their stories went with them,” he says. “I decided I didn’t want that to happen. My kids wanted to hear the stories, and now, if my grandchildren want to know the stories they can open a book and read them. They’ll be here for them forever.”

The book features 124 columns arranged in eight sections according to subject matter including family life, school days, farming, friends, seasons and holidays, and life in a small town. Houser’s chatty, conversational style is a nice fit for his coming-of-age stories set on his family’s farm on Fruit Ridge Road near Felicity, Ohio. He writes with good-natured humor about the life he shared with family, neighbors, and friends in settings ranging from farm to town to school.

“As time has moved forward, the number of memories continues to grow, and I write more memories to keep,” says Houser. “I hope that reading this collection of short stories will give people the opportunity to have a laugh or two.”

Houser lives in Bethel with his wife Sharon. They have two children, Meghan and Brendan.