Happy Halloween

I think it’s only fitting that with Halloween this weekend, we light a campfire and tell a few ghost stories, eh?

As it happens, I was hauling some stuff to the back of the office this week to be sent to the dump when one of our circulation people asked if I saw any ghosts back there in the old press room. She said she had heard stories about it.

Well, I hadn’t seen a ghost. Not then, anyway. Here’s where you can officially write me off as a candidate for the funny farm, but this old newspaper building has definitely had its share of strange things. And I don’t just mean the people who have worked here!

Back in the 1980s, when I first worked here, I came in late one night after some government meeting or another to write my story. As I was sitting at my typewriter – yes, typewriter! This was about 1982 – I heard a sound that was familiar enough to not really get my attention. Then I realized that it was the sound of our press running on what we called “inch” mode, or a very, very slow speed controlled manually with . . . → Read More: Happy Halloween

Full Blooded

I think, by the time I leave this world to join my grandfathers, I may be full-blood.

I think that’s what happens to some of us who were born only partially “the people.” When I look back at the road behind me, I see that I have changed. The light-haired child I was born, on a reserve to a chief of the nation, has changed. At Christmas, I got cap pistols and a cowboy hat. I rooted for John Wayne against the Cheyenne, even though my father held my hand as we marched on the capital in Baton Rouge for native rights when I was about five. There is a picture of me somewhere at home, printed in the Advocate. I was wearing feathers and buckskin.

Though my father and grandparents tried to teach me, they also tried to assure I could survive in the world off the Rez. The confusion this fostered was nearly my undoing, and for some two decades of my life, I shunned my heritage and existed in that other world, apart from the one I was born in.  Even though we attended pow-wows across the southeast, cut river cane to make baskets and formed . . . → Read More: Full Blooded

Odd Noise


A discussion turned oddly contentious at Tuesday’s meeting of the Franklin City Council. It was about noise in a residential neighborhood.

Not that public officials aren’t ever combative. But this one struck myself and other members of the media as strange.

Seems a resident complained about noise from a neighbor a couple houses down. Claiming that police didn’t deliver relief from the noise, the resident contacted city council members to visit and actually hear the problem.

Sounds cut and dry. But it wasn’t, oddly.

There was, during the meeting, long diatribes on “protocol.” Most interestingly, when Councilman Dale Rogers protested, this exchange took place:

“If it was any one of us at our house and had to hear this constantly, we’d have a problem with it,” Rogers said. “This wouldn’t be going on in Eastwood or any place like that.”

“I disagree with that,” McGuire objected.

“What are you insinuating?” Harris demanded.

“It’s a problem in that neighborhood,” Rogers said.

“There’s no data to back up that this is a problem in that neighborhood,” Harris said. “It was a problem on that particular day for that particular resident.”

I think what the chief meant was that if, in . . . → Read More: Odd Noise

Coming Back

Monday, back from vacation.

Stopped off at the big blue box for some necessities. Stood behind a woman for 10 minutes in the checkout lane. She was paying for her stuff – which included 20 individual rice treats instead of one or two boxes – with a combination of three different payment methods.

I could have picked up my stuff and gone to another aisle, but I had a lot. I chose to stand there, sigh loudly, and glower.

By the time I got out, slung my stuff in the truck, it was nearly five o’clock. It took me another 10 minutes to turn left toward the Rez. I probably gunned it a little too hard when I got my chance. Good thing there wasn’t a cop around.

Hurtling down the highway, sun in my face, I kept thinking, over and over:

What am I doing here?


We arrived to our cabin nestled in the piney woods some four hours from here on Monday of last week.

The cabin sits on a small lake, and as we unpacked, a duo of white geese rushed up to us, honking loudly for a handout. We decided if we gave them . . . → Read More: Coming Back


Try not to miss me too much next week!

It’s time for my much-needed, long-anticipated fall vacation. The weather is just ideal, and my psyche is desperate. I ain’t got but one nerve left, and I need to get away for a little while before someone gets on it.

My plans are loose, but definitely involve creek season. Imagine it! The nights are cool, the days are cool. The little spotted bass ought to be jumping straight into my shirt pocket, I won’t even need a fly rod. My best friend is taking the week off as well and camping in the hills. He’s been after me to camp with him for years now.

I don’t know. I haven’t camped in dang near a quarter century. I say “quarter century” because it sounds much more impressive than “nearly 25 years.” I want to emphasize the duration since I last slept on the ground rather than in a nice comfy bed.

I like the idea, though I’m not sure how it will pan out in practice. My hesitation kinda makes me feel like a hypocrite, or at worst, an armchair explorer of sorts. For all my pontificating about wildness and . . . → Read More: Immersion


As you might have seen on Monday’s front page of the paper, Bogie was the guest of honor at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals Sunday.

Bogie, my nearly 3-year-old yellow Lab, was supposed to be the guest at last year’s Blessing. But due to a gross misunderstanding (i.e., I forgot), Suzie and I were in Salesville, Arkansas that weekend, perched on the banks of the beautiful Norfork River. The folks at St. Mary’s had to hustle up another guest of honor, for which I humbly apologized!

So they asked again, earlier in the year, and I said we were probably going to be out of town again, but it turns out we weren’t, so I agreed. With reservations.

Bogie, as you’ve probably read, is the most calm, obedient and good-natured dog I have ever known. But all except the good-natured part goes out the window when he is around new people and other animals. At that point, Bogie turns into a 65-pound bulldozer that’ll yank your arm out of the socket just to go sniff another dog’s behind.

I was secretly dreading the whole weekend, but I am a man of my word, at least . . . → Read More: Blessings


All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken. Thomas Wolfe.

October, and the leaves are just beginning to turn. Brisk autumn breezes, cooler temperatures incite friskiness in the dog, and in the skies, birds are passing high above, bound for regions not found on any map.

I love this time of year. Especially October. It’s my favorite season. October is a season in and of itself. It is a time of change, of shifting.

I was born in October, it is my sign and my season. Along the bayou, the cypress needles are falling, and on the creek last weekend the pine needles and maple leaves gathered against snagged tree limbs and rocks in the stream, collected there like microcosms of October, saturated in deep, earthy colors. The air is heavy, laden with change.

This time of year, the old people come ‘round again, whisked through on a breeze, perhaps, riding the leading edge of the season maybe. They swirl through the old house like djin, unthreatening presences that live . . . → Read More: October