Always ready for an adventure

From Ron and Dottie Durham: October 5, 2010

Several great families stuck out in our minds when we thought of our first years at Erlanger Christian. Doc and Lucille Houston, Charlie and Barbara Ransler, Millie Riffe, and Oscar and Mary Jane Smith.

Kyle Durham making the "West Pinnacle Jump" at Indian Fort Mountain

Oscar has always loved the youth at our church. I remember fondly the laughs and good stories Oscar shared as he helped drive the youth to Danville, Illinois to begin their long bike trip back to Erlanger during one of the hottest weeks ever recorded in July many years ago. He was also always ready to join the youth in their mountain climbing escapades on Indian Fort Mountain in Berea.

We could always count on Oscar to use his handyman skills around church. Ron and I called him many years ago to help install a new front door at our house. We had no idea what we were doing, and Oscar was kind enough to help us, and not to laugh at our mistakes.

A few years ago I invited Oscar to speak to my 5th grade class about growing up in Erlanger. My students were enthralled by his stories of cranking a car to start it, and the dirt roads where busy streets are today. He really is living history.

There are not too many genuinely happy people in the world today. Oscar is one of those people. He supported Ron in the pulpit, and directing the choirs at church and at Lloyd High School. Oscar’s grandchildren performed in several musicals at Lloyd. Oscar has attended Lloyd’s musicals for over 16 years in a row. My favorite story about Oscar involves one of those performances. You see, Oscar has a sensitivity to sudden loud noises. Each year he would ask Ron if there were any gun shots. “No, Oscar, not this year.” But that wasn’t true. There was always a loud noise, and then Oscar would shout, “OH” and pop up in his seat. The year they performed “Anything Goes” Jason Moore decided to add a prat fall not in the script. Oscar saw it coming and let out a long “ooooOOOOOOHHHHH” which got the audience’s attention. When Jason hit the deck, the laughter lasted nearly a full minute. Thanks, Oscar. That was one of the funniest moments ever.


About Keith Knapp

I am a driven innovator with an entrepreneurial mind, and I have a passion for helping people succeed. As a high-energy optimist I have a mind for action and a desire to stimulate personal, professional, and community development.
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2 Responses to Always ready for an adventure

  1. Lucy Riffle says:

    I was always amazed at what Oscar could do. I remember listening to his stories about growing up in Erlanger, and listening to Mom talk about him and Mary Jane “Davis” as they grew up together. I always knew the choir was good on Sunday when Oscar and Mom would cry. Later, Oscar cried every time we sang so we couldn’t let that be the judge of our quality!! I also remember how caring Oscar was to Mary Jane during her last days.

  2. Brenda Hamilton says:

    And if Marjory and Oscar cried the choir had done an exceptional job!

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