The new church assignment

March 30, 2011  Because Dustin had been locked in his room the first 10 years of his life when he wasn’t in school, he was curious about everything. We had been taking him to church for a couple years when the leader of our congregation, whom we refer to as the Bishop, asked to speak to us. He said that Dustin was at an age when he should be given some responsibilities. In our church, when a boy turns 12, he is given the duty of sharing sacred sacraments or communion with the congregation. We expressed our concerns about Dustin’s unpredictability.

Friend was a fighter

March 30, 2011 BOSTON — We became friends long after we had known each other as candidate and journalist. Long after the grit that Geraldine Ferraro showed facing down press and politicians had been transformed into the grit she showed facing multiple myeloma.I met Gerry in 1984 when we were being teased by rumors that Fritz Mondale might actually pick “a woman” for his running mate. Maybe even this congresswoman from Queens. I watched weeks later when he introduced her to America and I heard her say, “Vice President, it has such a nice ring to it.”

No-fly guy

March 28, 2011 No one said being president was going to be easy. And no one was right. You get yelled at for doing things, and you get yelled at for not doing things. Often both times by the same people. Which is kind of like saying, “Even when you agree with us, you’re wrong.” That’s a tough hill to climb.

The ‘Layde’ of the house

March 28, 2011 She looked so sure of herself, her right arm resting on the back of the floral-print chair, wearing gold-tone jewelry with a white and fuchsia flower pinned in her hair and lips painted in crimson.For a girl who looked to be in her late teens or early 20s, she looked ahead of her time in the early 1900s.Her photograph, hanging in the foyer of the Magnolia Grove Bed and Breakfast in Hernando, Miss., intrigued me.Who was she? Was she a relative to the couple who owned the beautiful antebellum home where Luke had taken me for Valentine’s Day?

Ledge update

March 28, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  As the Legislature approaches the final hectic days of this year’s regular session, the major issues still unresolved include the approval of state agency budgets, drawing new boundaries for the four Congressional districts in Arkansas and final passage of a highway improvement program.

Secession convention in a border state

March 25, 2011 One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansas found herself in a precarious situation. After having spent a few weeks in heated debate at the secession convention in Little Rock, Arkansawyers decided by a narrow margin not to secede. States surrounding Arkansas had already left the United States, leaving Arkansas technically a border state.

That comic book cost how much?

March 25, 2011 Publicity for upcoming movies starring Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Mighty Thor got me started thinking about the cover prices of the comic books from which such heroes sprang.Readers in the Great Depression got a 64-page comic for one thin dime. When I was the age of my son (that is, 7) my weekly allowance was based on the 12-cent price of a 32-page comic book. As recently as 1988, the average price at the spinner rack was 75 cents.

NFL players, owners are not partners

March 25, 2011 As someone who performs his job quite well, at some point after our busy season concludes, I will sit down with my bosses and attempt to make myself a better deal. I’ll ask for more money, more time off and maybe some perks (one of those paper thin MacBooks would be nice).

Shariah hysteria: Unwanted, unconsitutional

March 25, 2011 In my last column, I sounded an alarm about rise of Islamophobia in the United States, calling attempts in various states to pass anti-Shariah legislation an attack on religious freedom.That inspired a good number of irate readers to sound their own alarm about what they view as my naïve and dangerous dismissal of the threat Shariah (Islamic law) poses to the United States.“This is not a First Amendment issue,” one reader explained. “This is a life and death issue. Muslims have already taken over Europe. They will not succeed here.”

Turkeys were ‘herded’ across country on foot to distant markets

March 24, 2011 OK, this is all for real and for true — despite how gullible you may think certain newspaper writers are.Back before refrigeration and fast trucks, people used to herd turkeys on foot to the nearest market. Sounds like a joke, and a bad one at that, right?But it’s no joke. Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me tell how this subject of walking turkeys to market got on my radar.