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A gem of a find along with a lesson

October 9, 2011
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Herald-Star community editor , The Herald-Star

You see this picture to the right?

It's a picture of my dad, the late Jay W. "Pidge" Hout, standing with of all things, a horse.

I have to tell you this: When you stumble onto something that you weren't looking for or expecting in the first place, the discovery is really something special.

Article Photos

Finding it gave me a sense of how prospectors of the 1800s must have felt when they came across gold nuggets. What a gem!

I saw this photo for the first time when I stopped at the Richmond Community Historical Society's recent Quaker Day festival. It was in a scrapbook of many photos relative to Henry Crew, who was the original resident of what now is the historical society's Crew House Museum.

It struck me as so ironic to find a photo such as this, given I'm horse crazy and here's a photo I'm coming across all of a sudden of my dad with a horse.

How weird is that, especially since I didn't really realize that my dad had much interest in horses to begin with.

So, here's what I did.

I took a picture of the picture, which was of my dad with two other guys standing with horses. Later that day, I went to a store and had it enlarged, and now it's a framed addition in my western-themed living room.

This is as cool to me as having the saddle in there.

But for as much as I'm enjoying this picture, I'm a little sad, too, and realizing that maybe I'm learning a lesson here or being reminded of one I should have already grasped by now.

I don't know what year the photo was taken. I don't know where it was taken. I don't know the circumstances of it. I don't know the horse's name. I don't even know how old my dad was in it, probably in his early 20s, I'm guessing.

How guilty so many of us are with our photo collections, yours truly included. How many of us have pictures that aren't identified for family members in the present and future to appreciate?

Imagine me right now raising my hand, acknowledging guilt. Big-time guilt.

I have tried probably as many of you have to organize pictures. When our kids were little, for instance, I did my best to date, sort and scrapbook photos but ultimately they got the better of me.

Now, I have tons of through-the-years photos that aren't marked as well as they should be for somebody, some day to come across and know the who, the when, the where and the what of it all.

I've made the dangerous assumption all along that surely I'll remember all this stuff, and it won't ever be an issue.


And so I'm telling myself that I'm turning over a new photo leaf, making the effort to start marking photos on the spot with a little info.

That way, somewhere down the highway of life, when somebody comes across a picture of me with a horse, for instance, they'll know what sunset I was riding off to in Richmond.

And what year it was.

And that the horse's name was Coffee.

And that I was one happy horse person.

And that it must have been in the genes. Giddyup.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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