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Chapter 1963 Third Quarter

Lead Summary
Note: Jim Thompson's column will resume in a few months. Meanwhile, The Highland County Press is republishing some of "the best of" his columns. This one was first published in November 2016.

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

We had gotten into a smooth routine living on the farm by the fall of 1963. Dad still worked in Troy, a practice he would continue until 1965. We had lived through our first winter and spring. It was late summer, almost fall.

I had had my first adventure showing my pig (named Julius Caesar) at the Highland County Fair.

Dad had read in the paper about a stock sale at the Producer’s Stock Yard that was going to take place on Friday evening. So, he planned to come home from work in Troy, pick up my brother and me and take us to Hillsboro to the cattle sale.

I don’t remember much else about that evening except the stock sale and what was happening afterward. The stock sale was a great experience, as the feeder cattle came through the ring, one pen after another. What I remember most, however, was the smell.

Of course, there was the smell of cattle, I was used to that. The smell I was not used to was the smell of cigars.

No one smoked in our family, so tobacco smoke in general was strange to me. However, at the stock sale, I would suggest at least half the audience was smoking cigars. Smells and where you smelled them stay with you. So, even to this day, 2016, when I smell cigars, it takes me back to that stock sale at Producers.

I also remember the pie. We each got a piece of pie (I don’t remember which church group was serving that night) and of course it was great – my favorite – apple.

To this day, if I am driving across the country midday and come upon a stock auction operation on the day they are having a sale, and, if I have just a bit of time, I stop. I’ll stop and have lunch and sit in on the auction for a bit. I tell my city-slicker friends the best and cheapest lunches you can find are church women’s auxiliaries serving at a stock sale. Great food, great prices. I have stopped at them all over the country.

After the evening was over, we went out and got in our ’56 Chevy. Dad started it up and turned on the lights – except there were no lights! What to do?

It so happened my grandfather was visiting us at the time, so we walked over to the bowling alley on West Main Street (this was before it burned) and called Mother. She drove Poppy’s 1950 Ford to town to get us. Dad had decided we would come back the next morning when in daylight we could figure out what was wrong with the lights.

Mother and Dad must have talked about it overnight, for the next morning when we got back to the Chevy, the first thing Dad did was stomp on the dimmer switch (they used to be a switch on the floor) after turning on the lights. They worked on high beams.

Apparently, he had been driving around with one low beam light burned out for a while and finally, the second low beam had burned out. It just so happened that when we had gotten in the car in the dark the night before, it was on low beams and he didn’t think to check.

Had he thought of that the night before, we could have saved Mother the trip to town. The ’56 Chevy had other adventures before it left its service with us, but the night the lights went out in Hillsboro was one of the more memorable ones.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.

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