Skip to main content

The life of Buttons

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

(Continued from last week.)

Buttons’ life, like the rest of the family, fell into a routine. We all spent late Sunday afternoon until Friday evening in Troy with weekends on the McNary Farm in eastern Highland County. This went on year around, with the possible exception of a few winter weekends when it was too cold or the roads were too hazardous to make the trip.

Friday night, we were all ready to go to the farm as soon as Dad arrived home from work. Once the car was packed (a 1956 Chevy four-door), the last task in Troy was to get Buttons from his pen. He was always so excited, it was as if he was doing laps inside the car, licking everyone, furiously wagging his stub tail. He was ready.

In the early years, my brother was small, so he sat up front with Mother and Dad with Buttons and me in the back seat. Later, my brother John would join us in the back seat.
About the time we started making these journeys was about the time the interstate system was started, so there were few fast highways to take. Now, if I were in Troy, I would head to Dayton, then take U.S. 35 to Xenia, which gets one around most of the congested areas. Back in the day, we drove east from Troy and came down through the countryside, missing most towns.

We usually entered Highland County through the village of Highland, came over to Leesburg, then down through Bridges, New Petersburg and Rainsboro. We crossed Rocky Fork Creek on the old covered bridge at Barrett’s Mill then took Briar Hill Road to the north end of McNary Road. When we got along to about where Fred Martin lives today on McNary Road, we would let Buttons out of the car. He would run ahead of us to the lane, then run down the lane to the house.

We probably let him do this nine months out of 12 each year. You could see him in the headlights, running his heart out, as Dad drove slowly along. If there was ever a picture of the joy of freedom, this was it.

By Sunday afternoon, we were all tired, including Buttons. We would pile in the car back to Troy, with Buttons sleeping on my lap or next to me. In the McNary Farm years, which lasted until January 1963, the routine was pretty much the same.

I can only think of one incident that involved Buttons in those years. One summer, Buttons had crawled under a farm gate and put a deep scratch in his back. It scabbed over. He was lying in the farm yard, sleeping. I was, for some reason, lying in the grass in front of him. Then, for some inexplicable reason, my brother slapped Buttons on the back and, reflexively, he jumped and bit me on the lip. I was not happy.

But, mostly, those were happy, bucolic days for a boy and his dog.

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. He may be reached at

Add new comment

This is not for publication.
This is not for publication.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it. Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.