Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Candidate Profile: Phil Smith

Phil Smith
Married 43 years to Carletta
1 Daughter and 2 Grandsons
Retired Business Analyst
Born in Depauw in 1945
North Central Graduate, Class of 1963
Served 4 Years in Air Force
Vietnam Veteran
Co-Owner of the Watchful Eye of Harrison County website

A Bit about Me

I was born where I currently reside in 1945. My parents had a small farm of 40 acres. I have one brother and two sisters. As everyone in the area did in those days, we raised most of our food. We had a couple of milk cows, raised our own beef, chickens for meat and eggs, and a pig or two. For those who are older, remember when you butchered a pig and would render the lard, that great by-product “cracklins”; you just can’t find those anymore.

Of course, we also had a very large garden and a grape arbor; nothing beats that homemade grape jelly. Many hours were spent putting food away for the winter and eating in the summer. I can remember hundred of jars filled with tomato juice, green beans, cabbage, dill pickles, beets, grape jelly, blackberry jelly (I must have gotten a million chiggers picking blackberries); and, of course, a tater bin full of potatoes.

Our garden provided a lot of food and required many hours of work. When I was a child one of my chores was to weed the garden. I must confess it wasn’t one of my favorites. However, that early childhood chore has now turned into a love.

We currently have a large garden and continue canning vegetables. You just can’t beat that taste of fresh vegetables out of the garden. My daughter, Michele, and my grandsons, Zachary and Jacob, are continuing the tradition of gardening. As a matter of fact, the grandsons won the largest potato trophy at the Harrison County Fair for 2007 and 2008.

Other chores included mowing and trimming the yard, as well as white washing the trees. White washing the trees involved taking wood ashes (saved over from the winter wood-burning stove), mixed with lime and water to form a paste applied to the bottom four feet of the trees in the yard. When dry, the white wash looked like you had painted the bottom portion a bright white. Mom always wanted the yard to look neat and trimmed.

The mowing of the yard started in the spring with the arrival of the Purple Martin birds. Dad had a twelve-room Purple Martin box in the yard, and we all looked forward to their arrival and hearing their beautiful song. I now have about 100 nest boxes erected:

My Purple Martin Boxes
Speaking of having the yard look neat and trimmed, this also included having many flowers and flowering shrubs. Yes, weeding was again involved. We had flowers like Iris, Burning Bush, Daffodil, Tiger Lilies, Zinnias, and Sunflowers. There were also a couple of Spice Bushes. This bush had small purple blooms that created a Spice aroma. (This bush also served to provide a quick source for “switches” for any time that I misbehaved.) Again this childhood exposure has lingered, and my wife Carletta and I have flowers spaced throughout the yard:

Looking at flowers in the yard with Carletta
I started grade school at the old Depauw school. Many years were spent in the old school house with the coal stove keeping us warm in the winter. I then went to North Central School (North Harrison now). I played lead trumpet in the high school band, and played basketball.

Speaking of basketball, for the first game of the season I was picked for the starting five as a forward position. We had one play where the guard would pass the ball to the forward and set a block so the forward could drive to the basket. All went as planned, the guard passed the ball, set up a block and I drove to the basket. However, upon going for the lay-up a huge center decided this was his territory, and I was not to enter. The result was a decisive blow to the center of my forehead which resulted in two black eyes. So much for being considered for the starting lineup from then on.

Carletta and I started dating and that required money. Money was always short at home, so if I wanted to take her out on date I had to earn my own. At night I loaded chickens for Martin’s Hatchery in Ramsey. Daytime jobs included mowing neighbors’ yards and neighborhood farm help.

I graduated from North Harrison in 1963. I then joined the Air Force and served until 1967. I am a Vietnam veteran.

Carletta and I got married on April 15, 1967. I got out of the Air Force in June 1967 and started looking for a job. I was hired by Brown & Williamson Tobacco in July 1967.

All of the jobs I held were in Data Processing (today called “IT”). They included computer operator, programmer, and business analyst.

Michele, our daughter, was born in February 1970. Our grandsons Zachary and Jacob were born in December 1997 and November 2000 (respectively).

I retired in 1996 and the company retained me as a consultant. I finally retired for good at the end of June 2007. Yes, I am now on Social Security and Medicare.

In addition to spending time gardening and yard work, I attend each County Commissioner and Council meeting. Each meeting is video taped and placed on a website, the Watchful Eye of Harrison County, for people to view who are unable to attend the meetings. You can check out the website at

I am also an avid hunter. Deer, squirrel and wild turkey are my favorites, but a good mess of frog legs is always welcome. When I was young (many years ago), a neighbor (Mr. Adams) would let me hunt frogs on his farm, and I can still remember Mom frying the legs in a cast iron skillet.

I have been a member of the NRA for many years. Carletta is very supportive of me hunting. (Actually, I think she just wants me out from under her feet.)

Speaking of Carletta, she spends a lot of her time babysitting the grandsons, playing in the Corydon Dulcimer Club, and of course shopping. Here is a photo of Carletta with her musical instrument the “dulci-bro”:

Carletta with her instrument.
We also have another member of the family, Trixie. She is a Jack Russell, and will be three years old in October. She keeps the yard free of moles and keeps the rabbits out of the garden:

In summary, I am running for County Council District 1. In the coming weeks and months, I will be laying out some ideas I have for improving our government here in Harrison County.

Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions on where I stand on issues. My phone number is 347-2253.

I look forward to talking to you on the campaign trail.

I would appreciate your vote in November.

Thank You,
Phil Smith