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Monday, January 20, 2020
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  • What was Butch doing when he was 7? Driving without license
    Friday, January 17, 2020 4:00 AM
    My parents always claimed I was a quick learner. I could read by the age of 4, primarily because my mother read to me all the time. There was one book entitled "Teddy Bear of Bumpkin Hollow" that she read so often . . . that I had all of the pages memorized! Sometimes the "quick learning" . . . or "imitation" . . . got me in a heap of trouble.
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  • Reminiscing . . . lots of fun times at the old drug store
    Friday, January 10, 2020 4:00 AM
    Just about every small town in Montgomery County had a drug store. The drug store sold a wide variety of items . . . ice cream, soda pop, candy, snacks, medicine, personal items, school supplies, magazines and literally thousands of other things. But more importantly, the drug store was a popular hangout for kids and adults.
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  • In old house, even mice were cold
    Friday, January 3, 2020 2:41 AM
    Whenever my brother Gary and I recall growing up on the farm southeast of Darlington, we refer to it as the "old green farm." That is because the house had some siding that was a green-colored shingle type. It sat up on a hill some distance from the road, and it seemed like the wind blew constantly. The house had no insulation, and the windows allowed air in through the gaps. My parents and sisters slept downstairs where there was one tiny fuel oil stove in the living room. My brother and I slept upstairs on an old bed with a feather mattress, and the only heat up there was what drifted up through a register in the floor.
    3 comment(s)
  • Still 13 years old on my Farmall tractor
    Friday, December 27, 2019 3:40 AM
    About 19 years ago I made the decision to buy a small utility tractor to use on our farm, primarily to mow and for odd jobs. I drove to the local dealerships and looked over their selection. I found one that suited my needs; however, it was priced at slightly over $17,000. The salesman calculated that my monthly payments would be over $500 . . . certainly not something I was looking forward to.
    As I left one dealership, I noticed an old Farmall Model H, which looked to be late 1940s or early 1950s vintage . . . sitting there looking awfully lonely.
    0 comment(s)
  • Butch shares BEST . . . and WORST Christmas Gifts . . .
    Friday, December 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    Everyone has memories of some of the gifts they received for Christmas when they were growing up . . . gifts that were great . . . and gifts that were not so great. Here are some of the Christmas gifts that I remember.
    1952 (age 4) . . . I received a toy capgun, holster and belt and a cowboy hat, and I wore these every day for months!
    1953 (age 5) . . . I desperately wanted a Captain Hook boat with toy pirates. I was elated when I received it and jumped for joy . . . but I played with it for about an hour and decided it was boring.
    1957 (age 9) . . . I received a pair of white buck shoes just like Pat Boone wore. Instead of shoe polish, I had to put some type of powder on them to keep them looking white . . . what a mess!
    1958 (age 10) . . . I received my first B-B rifle . . . Hooray! It did not take me long to shoot out all of the glass bulbs on the barn lightning rods . . . and the kitchen window.
    1 comment(s)
  • Butch has answers for woes in U.S. politics – turn off TV
    Friday, December 13, 2019 4:00 AM
    I can honestly say that I HATE to listen to the national news anymore . . . it is too depressing. Terrorism, random shootings, groups demanding certain rights, arguments about global warming, rogue nations threatening other countries, attacks on people based on their race or beliefs . . . and on and on . . . but the WORST part of the national news is politics. When the politicians appear on the screen, no matter whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent . . . I turn the TV off.
    Will Rogers, a comedian, actor, and much-loved social commentator from many years ago, had the following quotes concerning national politics . . . 
    "Common sense is not an issue in politics; it's an affliction. Neither is honesty an issue. It's a miracle. Politics and self-preservation must come first, never mind the majority of the people. A legislator's thoughts are naturally on his next term more than on his country."
    "Another trouble with politics, it breeds politics. So that makes it pretty hard to stamp out. We got to get birth control for politicians."
    "You know the platform will always be the same, promise everything, deliver nothing."
    "Politics has got so expensive that it takes a lot of money to even get beat nowadays."
    "Politicians are doing the best they can according to the dictates of no conscience."
    0 comment(s)
  • Butch takes a trip to town with dad in the 1950s
    Friday, December 6, 2019 12:47 AM
    I was 8 years old in 1956. Although I lived on a small farm 2 1/2 miles southeast of Darlington, I was in town just about every day. I would tag along with my dad, who could always find some excuse to drive to town, either to take grain to the elevator, have a cup of coffee at the restaurant, stop in at the drug store for a pack of cigarettes, visit Warren's Hardware, get a haircut at Slim's barber shop, play a game or two of pool at the cigar store, check in at Cox's gas station to hear the latest gossip and jokes, go to the bank, visit the American legion hall for a game of cards . . . well, you get the idea. It was a needed break from the daily grind of working on the farm. I can't even imagine how many miles Dad put on that old Dodge pickup traveling back and forth to Darlington. Sometimes he let me sit on his lap and steer and shift the gears as he pushed in on the clutch. Most of time I rode in the back, and many times I laid on top of the cab as he drove down County Road 400 North at his usual pace of 30 mph.
    It seemed like Main Street was always packed with cars and trucks. Many times Dad had to park on North Franklin as there were no parking spaces on Main. The many businesses were bustling with activity, and there were always people sitting on the numerous benches out front. In the evening, the town was often more crowded than the daytime, as the townsfolk and farm families would head to town for some ice cream, a soft drink, an evening snack . . . or just to shop as several businesses stayed open until 8 or 9 p.m. Many kids would also be downtown after sports or other school functions, often congregating at the drug store or restaurant. Of course, Friday and Saturday nights were always busy. The Sunshine Theater was usually jam-packed for the movie crowd.
    0 comment(s)
  • A life passing in the middle of the curve . . .
    Friday, November 29, 2019 4:00 AM
    It was a warm September afternoon in 1985 when I awoke after having worked the night before as a Deputy Sheriff for the Montgomery County Police department. As I poured a cup of coffee, my wife arrived back home from a trip to Darlington.
    "How was your night?" she asked . . . always worried that I would be involved in some dangerous situation.
    "Nothing too exciting last night, thank God," I responded.
    "Well, I just had something happen that was rather strange . . . When I was coming back from town, I came around the curve by Garry's house, and one of our neighbors and his wife were turning their car around right in the middle of the curve! It's a good thing I was going slow, or I might have struck them. Why would anyone try to turn around like that . . . where other cars can't see them until it is too late?"
    0 comment(s)
  • Butch shares story of Fred . . . the happy little police dog
    Friday, November 22, 2019 4:00 AM
    When I joined the Sheriff's Department in 1977, Glen Sillery was the sheriff. He and his wife Norma, like most county Sheriffs before him, lived at the jail. Norma had a tiny little dog that had the run of the place and kept watch on anyone who entered through the front door. After Glen retired, Charlie Stewart was elected sheriff, and he also had a dog, Bingo, a German Shepherd. Charlie claimed that Bingo was a great tracking dog, but the only tracking I ever witnessed was Bingo tracking down some treats that the jail officers fed him . . . Ha!
    Well, when I took office as Sheriff in 1995, my wife and I decided that we would buy a dog for our youngest son, Brett, who was 6 years old, and we would bring the dog to the jail every day so that the dog wouldn't have to be penned up at home all day, and also for the prisoners to have a dog as their pet. We didn't want a large dog or one that barked all the time, so we decided upon a Boston Terrier. My brother and I had one when we were very young. A nearby farmer raised that breed, and he gave us one that had a crooked tail. His name was Trooper, and he was a very playful and loyal pooch . . . one of the best dogs our family ever had.
    0 comment(s)
  • Butch shares advice from 2 great WWII veterans
    Friday, November 15, 2019 4:00 AM
    Two World War II veterans who had a great influence on my life were my father Bill Dale and his best buddy Damon "Mutt" Warren. They both attended school here in Darlington, played sports together and were lifelong friends. Both served in the Army during WWII, and Mutt also served in the Korean War. They were very glad to make it back alive and in one piece.
    After serving in the military, Mutt ran the Warren Hardware store. Dad farmed and then later on drove a school bus and became the custodian at the school. When Dad had to give up farming, he moved to town and lived just one house away from Mutt, and they spent even more time together in their later years.
    When I was young, I accompanied Dad just about everywhere he went. I learned a great deal of practical information and skills because that is how a farmer survives . . . even today. Common sense values were also drilled into my head through stern lectures. Anything not absorbed in this manner required more severe actions. Nothing too severe, but enough to get my attention! I am glad Dad disciplined me, because when I became a police officer I witnessed the consequences of adults who had no discipline when they were youngsters. I also spent a lot of time with Mutt . . . when he was with Dad, when he worked at his hardware store and when he played golf every Sunday with the Darlington gang.
    2 comment(s)
  • Doc Otten’s physical exam was . . . well, not physical
    Friday, November 8, 2019 4:00 AM
    The Dales . . . at least our Dale family when I was growing up, rarely went to a doctor. It basically had to be an extreme emergency or a life or death situation. When my father passed away at age 66, he had NEVER been to a doctor until his second heart attack. No, he never even told anyone about his first heart attack. Until then, he had also never taken a prescription . . . or even an aspirin!
    1 comment(s)
  • The County Keg . . . We Won . . . and We Lost . . . Oh NO!!!
    Friday, October 25, 2019 4:00 AM
    Recently Bill Boone, local sports historian, related the history of the County Keg, the traveling trophy of the small Montgomery County high schools during basketball season. He noted that Darlington held the record for the longest time . . . and the shortest time . . . for possessing the Keg. Well, I was on the team that had the Keg for the shortest time . . . and here is the story . . . and a little extra.
    In 1965 I was a junior at Darlington High School and the leading scorer on the basketball team. All of the starting five, Joe Mahoy, Phil Mahoy, Ed Gable, Wayne Palmer, and myself, were under 6-feet tall, but we were a scrappy bunch under Coach Galen Smith and played our hearts out each game. When the County Tourney began, we had to go against New Market, an excellent team with a record of 8-3. Jim Slavens was their leading scorer, followed closely behind by Jerry Hester and Dale Conrad. I was assigned to guard Conrad, who was almost a foot taller than me! I had a hot shooting night, and Ed Gable made some clutch free throws near the end . . . and we WON !
    Our confidence was high, but our next opponent was the New Ross Blue Jays, who had the longest unbeaten streak in the state and sported a record of 11-0. Very few people gave us a chance at winning. The Blue Jays were a tough bunch. Gary Harrison, Terry Moore, Ron Haffner, and Bob Williams all scored ten points each, but we held their TALL center, Chuck Grenard, scoreless . . . and by a miracle, we WON 49-43 that Saturday afternoon at the Crawfordsville gym . . . and we WON THE KEG!!!
    0 comment(s)
  • The Lone Ranger and Superman
    Friday, October 18, 2019 4:00 AM
    Back in the 1950's, I would guess that probably nothing changed American life more than that new television set now parked in the corner of the living room. My father bought our first TV in 1952 when I was 4 years old. We did not have an indoor toilet until 1956, so I guess that shows what his priorities were!
    Some of my friends were glued to the TV set and watched everything, but there were certain shows that I liked to watch...Miss Frances's Ding Dong School, Howdy Doody, and I Love Lucy. However, later on the networks were saturated with TV westerns, which I really enjoyed. Some of the best were Wild Bill Hickok, The Cisco Kid, The Gene Autrey Show, Have Gun Will Travel, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, and Hopalong Cassidy, just to name a few. My favorites were The Lone Ranger and Wyatt Earp. My younger brother liked Bat Masterson and Zorro. 
    In looking back on these shows, I think they certainly influenced my way of thinking to a great degree. There was definite line drawn between good and evil, and good always triumphed in the end. The good guys never got killed, and they stood for what was right. Some of the shows were a little far-fetched, but we didn't know that at the time...and how many real lawmen wore an outfit like the Lone Ranger?
    I also was a big fan of the Superman TV show. He was also a "good guy" who fought for truth, justice, and the American way. He always took care of the "bad guys" and won in the end.
    0 comment(s)
  • Butch takes scary visit to the dentist
    Friday, October 11, 2019 4:00 AM
    I would guess that I am like a lot of people who need to see their dentist . . . I tend to put it off until I can't stand the pain any longer. I knew that a tooth needed to be extracted, but I kept hoping that maybe the tooth fairy would sneak in some night while I was sleeping and do it for free . . . and leave a quarter under my pillow. On my last visit, there was very little pain involved; however, counting the X-rays and the "initial examination fee", I ended up writing a check for $362.00 for my one hour visit. That is more than I make in a week.
    That got me to thinking about my very first visit to a dentist . . . good old Doc Southworth. I was 7 or 8 years old and was with my Dad at the Darlington pool room. I had a loose baby tooth, and Dad sent me next door to Doc Southworth's office. As he examined my loose tooth, I smelled something strong on his breath . . . yes, Doc Southworth had been drinking . . . something very strong.
    0 comment(s)
  • Do you have a ‘problem child?’
    Friday, October 4, 2019 4:00 AM
    The boy's parents told me that their first-born son was a breech birth, which may have been an omen of what was to occur thereafter. At nine months of age, their baby boy started walking, which was rather early as far as normal child development. The toddler then began to explore the world around him, and he seemed to be able to imitate many things that he witnessed his parents do.
    0 comment(s)
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