Christmas in November

November 16, 2009 Branson, Mo. at Christmas time is a wonderful experience even when it’s the first week of November, sunny and 70 degrees.For the second time in two years my fiancé Luke Stroud and I made the trip to the entertainment capital of the South just as the town kicks off the holiday season.I didn’t know what to think of such spirit so early last year, however, it must have had some effect on me because I couldn’t wait to go back this year around Nov. 6.

Cats are trainable Experts say it just takes patience, right rewards

November 13, 2009 People have low expectations of cats.Sam Connelly tells of the time that she and her cat Storm observed a Canine Good Citizen test while they were waiting for their feline agility class to start.“I’m watching the dogs and I commented to the evaluator, ‘My cat can do all that,’” said Connelly. “At the end she said, ‘Want to take a shot?’ like it was a big joke.”To the evaluator’s surprise, Storm passed the test, successfully performing commands like sit, stay, come, down, and walking on a leash.

Pleased with city

November 13, 2009 Dear editor:A few weeks ago my business brought me to Batesville, Arkansas. I was amazed at the view when I topped the hill looking down into your city. WOW!!Then the main street area was another WOW!! With an injured foot, walking was out of the question. However, I returned the next week and really enjoyed my time. The variety of shops seemed more alive with the historic background. The people were so friendly and actually wanted me to say “Hello” back to them.I am so happy to have taken the time to re-visit Main Street and plan to return with my friends.

Cook County vs. Students

November 13, 2009 A scene in the 1987 movie “The Untouchables” shows Sean Connery as a Chicago beat cop instructing federal agent Kevin Costner on how to play tough in the Windy City. Connery finishes his bare-knuckles-to-handguns lesson with this flourish: “… and that’s the Chicago Way!”

Priceless photos of the past

November 12, 2009 Cameras are valuable for many things, and among the most important is to capture landmarks before they are gone. “Lost America: From the Atlantic to the Mississippi,” a 244-page, 9 1/4- by 11-inch book published by Pyne Press in 1971, demonstrates why.Some of the most gorgeous buildings in the world are pictured in this volume, along with their dates of construction and demolition, if known, and estimated dates if not.

Support needed

November 11, 2009 Ah, Veterans Day. What better time to show our support for our men and women in uniform?But have we really been supporting them?Sure, we thank them when we see them at the airport.We attend parades and Veterans Day events to show our appreciation.And with good reason.According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 42 million American men and women have served during wartime.Nearly 1.2 million died while serving., and 1.5 million were wounded.

Veterans Day is for ordinary people

November 11, 2009 When then-Gov. Ronald Reagan introduced returning POW John McCain at a speaking engagement in 1974, the future president asked, “Where do we find such men?”He was speaking of many veterans when he answered, “We find them in our streets, in the office, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.”In other words, Reagan was referring to ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. And it isn’t just the men.

Table graces

November 10, 2009 Growing up, we never said “grace” in my house. My mom was raised Catholic and my dad a Baptist. Somewhere along the line, they both left their childhood churches, and by the time we came along, religion was no longer part of their daily lives.