Longtime resident of Leetonia Mick Freed passed away on New Years Eve. Mick was the true Mountain Man in Leetonia and honorary Mayor. He loved this woods and everything in it. Mick’s favorite snack was always ice cream before bed at 8pm. In fact, it was the one thing he would drive through a blizzard to get. I think much of his freezer held this precious commodity he bought on sale during 2 for 1 special.
Winter was one of Mick’s favorite times. Before the road got plowed other than snowmobilers few people came back here. It was time he could take a break from mowing lawns and taking care of cabins to catch up on reading, mostly his westerns. His favorite actor, was John Wayne, whom he had a large poster of on the wall in his cabin.
Mick was a master of being alone in the woods. His wood stacked with care on his porch in such a fashion he could tell you what day of winter it was by looking at what he had used. He snowmobiled in and out dragging a transport sled behind his snowmoble to get groceries. No fancy snowmobile outfit for Mick he wore brown overalls and a winter coat and his helmet or should I say leather cap looked like an old leather football cap. The only time I heard him complain was when his eggs had all broken because of the rough ride.
He helped us a lot the first few years getting to know our way around. After our first winter here, I saw Mick driving down the road.
He yelled at me, “Time’s wasting better start getting firewood!”
After ten years, I realize how right he was. There are two seasons up here: firewood burning season and firewood gathering season and no time in between.
One time when Lee was gone for several weeks and I was alone up here, I thought I would go visit Mick. I snowmobiled down to his house hoping for a conversation. Mick always had his place cooking with a hot fire and something on top the stove cooking. Well, ended up I was the only person talking. All of his answers were one word usually nope or yep. So soon I drove my snowmobile back home and realized he was much better at this hermit stuff than I would ever be.
During the summer months Micky was busy fixing things at cabins and mowing grass. The grass mowing could be an almost constant job if it rained a lot. Mick drove his John Deere lawn mower to most his jobs. It wasn’t uncommon to have to give a little tap on the horn to get around him driving his lawn mower through Leetonia.
As we drove home tonight with the snow falling, I thought of Micky loving this time of year at his cabin reading, sitting by the fire, eating ice cream. We all will miss you Mick, you were one of a kind. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.