Life has not always been easy for the man known as the Friendly Trapper.
"Every New Broom Sweeps Clean: An authorized biography of Harold Bailey" by W. J. Drescher (City Printing Company, $15).
BY REBECCA SLOAN
At one time or another over the years you've probably tuned your radio to Harold E. Bailey, a.k.a. the Friendly Trapper, and listened to him give advice on everything from how to remove skunk odor from your clothes to how to trap a fox that's been raiding your henhouse.
Perhaps as you've listened to the Canfield man's warm-hearted commentary and shrewd solutions to any wildlife predicament, no matter how unusual, you've wondered how this fellow got where he is today and what kind of life he has lived.
Wonder no more.
A new biography about Bailey's life written by Leavittsburg resident Wendy Drescher reveals all about the man Valley folks affectionately call the Friendly Trapper.
In an approach that is simple, sensitive and straightforward, Drescher tells the tale of Bailey's life, a life that many maybe surprised to know has been marred by a great deal of sorrow.
Fatherless: For example, although poverty and childhood illness shadowed Bailey's early years as he grew up in the Brownlee Woods area of Youngstown, the hardest moment of the young boy's life came when his father died suddenly, leaving Bailey's mother to fend for herself and her young children during the height of the Great Depression.
Death shattered Bailey's world again when he was a young man and his first wife died unexpectedly, leaving him alone with two small children to rear. And after many years of happy marriage, Bailey found himself alone once more when his second wife died of Parkinson's disease.
But despite the losses and hard times, Bailey's life story is also one of happy times, humor and hope, due mostly to the 73-year-old's ability to bounce back and use lemons to make lemonade.
Drescher paints a portrait of a man who loves a good joke, has faith in the good lord and always keeps his chin up, falling back on his favorite motto, "Every new broom sweeps clean" when times get tough.
Knowledge: Of course for diehard Trapper fans, the book's appeal may depend more on how this fellow got to be the knowledgeable outdoorsman he is today than on the details of his personal struggles.
For those most interested in Bailey's career, there are plenty of anecdotes on how Bailey got to be such a darn good judge of how to best deal with all those wild critters that wander where they aren't wanted or get themselves into all sorts of sticky situations.
For example, readers will chuckle over the story of how Trapper saved a cow from choking on an apple and marvel over the true tale of how he removed a bee's nest that was seven feet high and 12 feet long.
As the chapters unfold, the reader will realize too that Bailey's unique career as the Friendly Trapper was being formed over many years, from the time he was a small boy who hated school but loved to fish and hunt.
Trapper fans: Although this book may not attract readers who are not familiar with the Friendly Trapper or his talk radio shows, it will most certainly satisfy the curiosity of loyal Trapper fans.
Because Drescher is one of those loyal fans herself, she knows what readers would be most likely to ask Trapper about his life if they had a chance to sit down and chat with him. They happen to be the very same questions that crossed her mind before she met Bailey or interviewed him over coffee at McDonalds.
Recently released, "Every New Broom Sweeps Clean" is available at many local bookstores.