Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab

Looking forward to that morning break

When I was growing up on the farm my Dad and family raised a lot of tobacco and hay. To handle the volume properly it was very necessary to hire a lot of help. Along with Web the hired hand there was my brother Ben, sister Peg, Mom and myself that worked with Dad in roles where we could help the best, but at heavy crop times more men were needed.

Just like today, good farm hands are hard to find, if they can be found at all. Dad wouldn’t hire just anyone that came along. He wanted men who tried and gave effort to the task. Along with the prevailing wages at the time, which weren’t that great, Dad used what today would be called a perk. At about ten in the morning he would stop us all and open the truck and say “come on boys let’s take a break.” With that he would reach in the truck and pull out a large thermos of coffee and a two gallon jar of home brewed ice tea and an applesauce cake. The men quickly gathered around and got coffee, tea and a piece of cake and found some shade to rest in.

I have to feel my dad was the first farmer to offer a coffee break to farm field hands. He might not have been, but to this day I have yet to be told of another who offered it. So Dad wins. He had a couple of reasons to do this. First, he hired boys from town. Dad felt that they were raised on pop and potato chips and would run out of steam before lunch. He said it was better to refuel their engines and thought he would be repaid many times over by the regenerated energy they got from a few minutes of rest and some nutrition. Second, our family was not typical in the big bacon and egg type breakfasts. We normally had coffee, cereal or oatmeal. So about 10a.m., Dad always took that break whether we had help there or not.

My Mom prepared the break food. She brewed sweet ice tea that had a tasty unique flavor to it. She made strong coffee that went over well with the men and she would bake a spice cake and add applesauce to it to moisten it. She also would add raisins and if she ran out of those she substituted another ingredient, and in my mom’s case that could be good or very scary since a person never really knew what the substitute was.

If she didn’t bake a cake, we got oatmeal or Toll House cookies. Both of course were homemade. There was one main ingredient she put in all her tea, cakes and cookies, a large helping of sugar. Mom never cut corners when it came to her cooking and anyone who sampled any of her cooking will attest that she did it well. In the 10 to 20 minute break the men got the large intake of sugar that more than re-energized them.

I recall the breaks a lot when we cut tobacco but they were there also for setting tobacco or baling hay and straw. As we were in the stripping room for what seemed like most of the winter, a coffee break definitely was a daily necessity. Imagine my surprise when I became old enough to work for other farmers and learned a morning break didn’t exist except at our farm? I was in shock and quite disappointed. It made working for your Dad much more desirable. This small perk seemed to always get Dad the hired hands he needed when he needed them. Men weren’t afraid of hard work, but being treated with a little concern for them had to help the cause.

Dada always tried to have safe working conditions to prevent injuries. He paid weekly and paid the going rate. He asked that he receive a hard days labor for a decent pay (minimum wage) and added a home cooked lunch and the morning coffee break. Maybe all that sugar kept the men’s minds off of the wages. By the way, if all was not consumed in the morning, we would stop around 3 p.m. and finish off the rest. A two break day on a farm! Unheard of, but enjoyed.

I feel I must mention that there was a by product with the break. That was the conversation. Those could be the latest local or world news. Sometimes it could be a few whopper stories or just some plain old gossip. No matter what the topic I found it to be entertaining to say the least. Today they are just good old stories from a good old time.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and likes to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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Rick Houser

The Good Old Days

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2016 News Democrat