Susie the ‘Guard’ dog

October 5, 2009 Susie Q. could sit on command, jump, roll over in midair and shake hands.She was very much a wonder dog and loved by me for almost a decade. I can’t believe she’s been gone for just as long.My family got Susie when I was in the first grade and I loved her from that moment. She was definitely a part of the family. Susie didn’t have a pedigree and wasn’t purebred, but she was one of the most smartest dogs I have ever known or seen.Sure, I might be a little biased but I’m just stating the facts.

The death of a good man

October 2, 2009 It is startling how much time is being wasted parsing out the motive behind the murder of 51-year-old substitute teacher Bill Sparkman in tones that seem to indicate that some kind of feeble justification exists out there, somewhere.Sparkman was doing his civic duty as a census taker going door-to-door in rural Clay County, Ky., when he disappeared only to be found later hanging from a tree, lynched with the word Fed scrawled into the skin of his chest.

Son honors late Norman Dozier

October 1, 2009 Merle Travis Guitar Thumbpicking Style national champion Danny Dozier of Batesville dedicated his award, won earlier this year, to his father, the late Norman Dozier.“When Danny was 11 years old, he told his Daddy he wanted a guitar. Norman bought him a small amp and guitar, and told him if he really wanted to learn to play he would have to practice, practice ... Every night, if it was 8 o’clock or 1 o’clock (in the morning), you could hear him playing before he went to bed,” Danny’s mother, Rose Kealer Dozier, said. “Danny gives his Daddy credit for all.”

Moms get thumbs up

September 30, 2009 Forget health care and Afghanistan, the big news question is: Who’s going to replace Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America”?Yes, there are bigger life-and-death issues out there in the world, but the person we share our morning coffee with matters, or at least it does to some of us. The person who delivers your news becomes part of your life. Or rather, they become part of your life in that weird TV I-feel-like-I-know-you-and-we’re-pals-even-though-we’ve-never-really-met sort of way.

Walk: Not for today’s kids

September 30, 2009 It was a long walk for a 4-year-old.It happened in 1966. My older sister Krissy, eager to get me out of her hair, gave me a coin she’d made from a piece of cardboard.“You can buy candy with it,” she said.Candy was a rarity in our home, but I knew where to buy some.I slipped out the back door and made my way through the woods and onto Diane Drive. It was another 200 yards to the “little store,” the mom-and-pop shop at the bottom of the hill.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 29, 2009 Stealing from the deadDear editor:My name is Diane McDougal, and I just returned from Egner Cemetery, where my nephew is buried. Monday, Sept. 21st, I took flowers there as I have done for the past 4-1/2 years, with a broken heart over the tragic loss.Today, Tuesday, Sept. 22nd, the flowers were dumped out of the vase and someone had stolen the vase. In my mind, I am trying to figure out what kind of a sick person would steal a vase off a dead child’s tombstone, or anyone else’s stone, for that matter.

Now what?

September 29, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — After years of talk and debate, this is the week that Arkansas flips the switch on its lottery. Now what?Facing a chorus of criticism and questions about the startup of Arkansas’ lottery, the games’ director repeatedly asked for some leeway as he prepared to sell the first tickets.“Here’s what I’m asking folks to give me leave on, let me flip on the switch,” Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue said earlier this year.

Remembering Granddad

September 29, 2009 I was just thinking the other day that Thursday (Oct. 1) would have been my granddad’s 90th birthday.It’s been more than three years since he died, and I miss my granddad so much. The longer he’s gone, the more I think he was the stabilizing force of our whole family. He was the head of the family, but so much more. Granddad was always so level headed, not prone to emotional outbursts. I never saw him lose his temper or have a fit. I only saw him cry once in my life.

‘Fair’ camels are a hit

September 28, 2009 I had no idea camel’s fur could be so soft until Thursday.Mention the word “camel” and thoughts of the Middle East, the hot desert, Arabian traders with silk outfits, tassels and velvet, along with gold “genie” lamps and frankincense all come to my mind. I certainly don’t think of Arkansas or a petting zoo at the district fair in Jonesboro.But there they were, along with a Zedonk (the half Zebra, half donkey), two water buffaloes, alpaca, llama, sheep and several baby goats.