Bob Hale
15 Sept 09

Today, I tell a tale of history that is not so long ago. As most of you, that know me will

testify, I am a man of many words and am always into something. When Pat and I first

came to Monroe 10 years ago, we started visiting the Monroe Methodist Church. There,

we met several people who became very influential in my life in this town. Alice and

George Frazee started the ball rolling, with Alice finding out that I had such a vivid

imagination and absolutely loved history. I am a Butler County kid (from Shandon)

and have been an avid genealogist for forty years, so this town, with its past, present, and

future, is just a perfect fit for a busybody like me to become involved. In time, Alice

and George got us to join the local Historical Society, the Methodist Church, and George

conned me into becoming a part of the new (second time around) Optimist Club. I

think I got snookered into doing many things that I hadn’t really planned to do since it

would interfere with my fishing time. Within a couple of years, Joyce Tannreuther and

Boyd Smith cajoled me into becoming the Historical Society treasurer, since Boyd

wanted somebody else to feel the pain. We became active in many local adventures and

that is what I wish to share with you, dear reader……….what do we do and why in the

world would you want to be involved??? As the months rolled on, I was invited to share

in the making of “homemade apple butter”, peeled, cored, and sliced at the Museum…

then, on Saturday morning, Elbert Tannreuther, Marshall Mehl, George Frazee, Smitty

Majors, Bob Youtsler, Gene Benninghof, and a couple

of men whose names that I don’t remember, and the incomparable, very outspoken Bob

Hale, would meet at the Cabin in Monroe Park, build a fire next to the Cabin, and they

would proceed to tell tall tales of yesterday while cooking down the apples, sugar, and

all of the fixins that go into the making of that most delicious apple butter. Of course, I

was the youngest there, so they had a lot that they had to teach me, especially about

listening and learning how to stir the pot, stoke the fire, and all of the other intricate parts

of making “real apple butter”. After we got the apple butter cooked down, the women

would show up with lunch (barbecue sandwiches and chips) and show us the error of our

ways, as they proceeded to properly prepare the glass jars in the boiling hot water, so

that we could put up the jars of apple butter and let them rest in the cabin until they were

ready for sale, as a fundraiser for the Historical Society. MAN, that apple butter was

good!! We are hoping to repeat the adventure again this fall, so I am begging for pint

canning jars, rings, and lids that can be used for this endeavor again. I said goodbye to

George and Alice last year, one in the spring and one in the fall, but I go visit them

across the street every once in a while up on the Mound. Three weeks ago, I said

goodbye to my buddy, Bob Hale, who took it upon himself to teach me about the cabin,

its history, and many of the tall tales of this glorious little town in the middle of Butler

County. At his funeral, many stories were told about Bob and some of the shenanigans

that he was part of over the years. As many of you know, I work in the meat department

at Krogers. Bob and Anna are regular shoppers there. Each week, I would wait on Bob

and get his order, which usually consisted of several pieces of Ocean Perch. Personally, I

think Ocean Perch has a very distinctive odor which most people do not like. Neither

Annie nor I like perch, but Bob did. Loving wife that she is, Annie always fixed it for him,

but that didn’t mean that she had to like it. Now to the meat of this story. Bob would roll

in on his motorized store “go-cart” to the fish counter, holler at me to get him some

perch and then demand that I throw it at him, across the counter. Then, with that twinkle

in his eye, he would say that now he could tell everyone that he had caught the fish he

was eating. Due to Bob’s love of that Cabin in Monroe Park, the Historical Society has

established a Memorial Fund, in Bob Hale’s name, so that any who wish, may contribute

to the ongoing preservation and growth of the Cabin. Many of the local school kids will

remember Bob Hale as the man who greeted them at the cabin, to tell of the history of

Monroe, and the Cabin, over the last several decades.

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