Rick Houser
We were granted a gift

I’m sure that today is the same as it was when I was a boy in the late 50’s and early 60’s. For no explainable reason or cause a feeling like a gift would fall upon you. Also no matter how you reasoned why or how and it really just didn’t figure it happened anyway. Well in the early sixties when we were in 6th to 8th grade what I can only explain as a miracle happened.

On a late Tuesday afternoon I was over at Charlie and Herb Marshalls’ doing what we almost always were doing. Hanging out with each other and for the most part being bored. That was when it happened. A truck drove up Bolender Road and turned in front of their house and stopped. This was no ordinary truck. This was a truck from a bakery! The writing on the side said it was OMAR the BAKER! We stood dumbfounded staring at this truck parked in front of their house and looking at each other I’m sure with the same question. Where did this come from? (To be certain the corner of Bolender and Houser Roads was the dead center of nowhere!)

After a few moments of silence the driver of the truck spoke up and ask if we boys would like some fresh pastries? At that we stepped closer as to get a better look at what the man was talking about. On the side of the truck on the passenger side was a counter we could step up to and be waited on by a man who was both friendly and personable. He began by showing us different varieties of cookies. Then small trays of cinnamon rolls and donuts. (Glazed, powered, and chocolate.) He continued to show us more and then with a big smile he said he was saving the best for last. Then he presented to us a box of Cream Puffs or as he called them cream horns.

Charlie asks how much for the box before we could stop drooling. The Omar Man gave him a price and out of what seemed nowhere Charlie whipped out the money and bought them. At this point Herb and I said we would like those also, but the man gave us a disappointed look and said I’m sorry boys as they go quickly and the demand is so great he only had the one box. He explained there would always be a limited supply. So even in this let down we made a second choice and as the truck drove away we tasted what we had bought and were satisfied we got what we wanted for our money. The Omar Man left us a schedule of when he would be back marked on a little calendar. The next time he would be around would be on a Tuesday in the next month.

Now where he came from I don’t really know and how he found us is kind of a mystery also. But he found us and promised he would be back to see us once a month. Herb, Charlie and I now had something that we had on our calendars and by golly it was as important as any appointment on any calendar. Since there were only three of us we felt we had to make sure we bought enough to make it worth this man with a truck load of psalteries to keep coming. In the summer my cousin Walt would be up for the summer and once he heard of this he joined us to shop for bakery made goodies.

One thing always amazed me. Charlie was always first to greet the truck and naturally buy a box of cream horns. After the purchase it seemed that he would vanish just as swiftly as he beat us to the truck. I think that if they put the Omar man and his truck at the end of the hundred yard dash Charlie would set new records. Once I did get to buy some of the cream puffs I understood why they would motivate a person. My gosh they were good. Another thing about a truck full of sweets appearing out of nowhere for a few boys was that our parents weren’t involved in our transactions and we were never told this could cause a stomach ache.

The cookies and cakes etc. weren’t free by any means but the Marshall Brothers and myself would work for farmers in hay and tobacco or any type of work so we had some change in our pockets for the Omar Man. We had found a diversion from buying baseball cards for sure. I might have missed out on getting a Hank Aaron or Mickey Mantle card but I was grinning from ear to ear as I worked on a cinnamon roll. There of course is more to life than some baseball cards and a slab of bubble gum.

As the years passed our sweet dream finally came to an end as the bakery was having financial troubles and the driver told us he was going to have to look for a different line of work. For us we were at the age of driving and hanging out in town where so much more was available for us to experience. So more than likely we would have stopped buying anyway. But when Herb, Charlie and I are together and the subject comes up we still ask each other how did he come to travel out in our neck of the woods? Also we still ask just how lucky were we to have him come to our door.

Who knows maybe it was all a dream. Maybe there wasn’t a bakery named Omar. Maybe we just imagined it all. But we didn’t imagine that we had been gaining weight. Nope it was real.. When you are a kid and something like this occurs it is safe to say we had something extra in our lives growing up. When I think of it I smile and think of all the fun that came with it. There is only one word to summarize all this and that is SWEET!

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