Notice of death — Jan. 27, 2022

Margaret A. Richardson 
December 1, 1930 – January 26, 2022 
Visitation: 2-3 p.m., Kilpatrick Funeral Home, 209 N. Bonner, Ruston 
Cemetery: Pine Grove Cemetery, 1187 Pine Grove Church Road, Bernice 

William Edward Flournoy, Jr.  
Feb. 15, 1957 – Jan. 22, 2022  
Public Viewing: 3-5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue, Ruston  
Funeral Service: 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue, Ruston  
Interment: Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, Grambling Memorial Garden, Hwy. 80 West, Grambling  

Doris Williams  
April 2, 1948 – Jan. 18, 2022  
Memorial Service: 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue, Ruston  

Jerry Dee Nugent   
September 28, 1949 – January 22, 2022   
Visitation: Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM, First Baptist Church in Farmerville   
Memorial Service: Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, 2:00 PM, First Baptist Church in Farmerville 


Deputies charge male with domestic abuse battery

Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Officers responded to a domestic abuse call in Dubach on Monday and ended up arresting a male at the residence.

Deputies responded to a domestic call and made contact with the female complainant, another female and the suspect, Johnny Niemeyer, 51. The female caller stated that Niemeyer entered the house a little before 6 p.m. and became irate because she was preparing dinner too early. She also said that Niemeyer had been consuming alcoholic beverages, which influenced his aggressive behavior.

Following that initial altercation, Niemeyer left the residence but returned after a few hours and physically pulled the female out of the bed by grabbing her hair and forcing her into the hallway.

Deputies saw a hole in the wall near the bedroom door and saw swelling on the female’s head. The other female stated that when Niemeyer returned home, she was lying in bed and heard the altercation between him and the other woman. She said when she exited her bedroom, she observed the woman lying near the hallway where the hole was.

Niemeyer admitted to committing the battery and was transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and booked for domestic abuse battery.


Rapid COVID at-home test kits to be distributed in parish today

By Jim Wilkerson

A limited number of rapid COVID at-home test kits are now being distributed for free across Lincoln Parish.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday that it was giving out test kits on a first come, first serve basis at the Lincoln Parish Safety Complex on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 9-11 a.m.

Similarly, the City of Grambling is distributing test kits at the same time at Grambling City Hall. Grambling has 100 kits in its possession, while the LPSO has close to 400.

Dr. Joseph Kanter of the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) discussed at-home test kits in a recent press conference.

“The accuracy of your test is related to the quality of your swab,” Kanter said. “It’s not comfortable to get your nose swabbed. But if you just put it up there a fraction of an inch, you’re not going to get enough sample on there to get an accurate test.”

He continued, “It is true that the nasal swabs we do ourselves are not as accurate as, what we call, nasopharyngeal swabs. It’s very uncomfortable. That’s probably the most accurate [test], but people aren’t going to do that to themselves. It’s not practical.”

Ultimately, the at-home test kit is an accuracy-convenience tradeoff. “When you take an at-home test…you more or less accept that it’s a little less accurate than the tests you’re going to get at a hospital by professional administrators,” Kanter said. “But you do add a lot in convenience. It’s a give and take on that.”

Other areas across the state, such as Lafayette, have received kits from the LDH. This comes amid a surge in demand for at-home tests in the wake of the holiday season and after the Biden administration promised each American household four free test kits.

Private chains, such as Walmart and Walgreens, have been having trouble keeping up with the demand for at-home tests.

The United States government is having problems as well. Currently, at-home test kits generally take 7-12 business days to ship after ordering from the COVIDtests.gov website. 


Stabbing leads to arrest

A disturbance call early Monday morning resulted in the arrest of a Ruston woman for allegedly stabbing a man.

Just after midnight Monday morning, Ruston Police responded to a disturbance on Kenwood Drive. Officers found a man with a stab wound to his left shoulder. The victim and another witness said Terroniko Cooper, 35, of Ruston, stabbed the man and fled on foot. 

The victim said he did not have an argument with Cooper and believed she stabbed him because she suffers from mental illness and was angry. 

Cooper returned to the residence while officers were still on the scene. She initially denied stabbing the victim but later admitted she stabbed him with a small pocket knife. She told officers the victim was showing unwanted sexual attention, and this angered her, leading her to stab him. No other party at the residence reported seeing any sexual attention.

Cooper was booked for aggravated battery at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. The victim required stitches to close the wound.


Police seek assistance in locating suspect

The Ruston Police Department is looking for a suspect who attacked a resident on Janice Drive in Ruston.

Around 9 p.m. Jan. 24, Ruston Police officers responded to a residence on Janice Drive in reference to a disturbance call. Once officers arrived, they determined that an unidentified male had entered without permission and attacked the resident. 

The suspect is believed to be a white male, between 25-35 years of age and approximately 5’9″ to 5’10” in height. He was wearing a black jacket and a black ski mask.

Ruston Police investigators are asking anyone with any information about this case to call the department at 318-255-4141 or Crime Stoppers at 318-255-1111. A tip may also be submitted online at www.rustonlincolncrimestoppers.com or by texting “TIP515” to CRIMES (274637).

Tipsters remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward up to $5,000.


Grambling State BSN program accepting applications for fall

It’s a profession that has always been important and in demand. Since the COVID pandemic began in early 2020, nursing has become even more crucial and needed. Those interested in the field have an opportunity to apply for Fall 2022 admission to Grambling State University’s School of Nursing undergraduate program. Due by Feb 21, a completed application must be submitted to nursingapps@gram.edu no later than 5 p.m. (CST). The application for admission to the School of Nursing can be downloaded from link.gram.edu/bsn.

“There has always been a shortage of nurses — it’s hard to imagine there ever being enough,” said Dr. Meg Brown, associate dean for the School of Nursing at GSU. “I’ve been in the profession a long time and there has always been a need for more nurses.”

Admission to GSU’s Nursing program is contingent upon clearance by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) and satisfactory results of a drug screen. Information on both reports will be provided upon acceptance. The LSBN requires all applicants to complete an application for approval to enroll in a clinical nursing course and authorization for a criminal background check.

Admission into the nursing program is not automatic. The Department of Nursing has the discretion to deny acceptance based on information contained in either of these two reports. Applicants who have been charged with, pled guilty, or nolo contendere to, convicted of or committed a criminal offense that involves a crime of violence or distribution of drugs may be denied the right to practice nursing as a student in Louisiana.

Applicants who are not currently enrolled at Grambling State University must first apply and be accepted to the university.  Apply to Grambling State University through the Office of Admissions link at iam.gram.edu. Subsequently, applicants must select pre-nursing as their major. 

“There are many, many opportunities in the nursing field,” Brown said. “And there are so many paths a nursing degree can take a graduate in at the baccalaureate level. And one of the best things about nursing is it’s a profession that will never go away. Sometimes you see a profession kind of fade away as times change. That’s never going to happen in nursing. That need is always going to be there.”

The application for admission to the School of Nursing should be completed accurately and submitted to nursingapps@gram.edu. Interested applicants must provide a first and second date of preference when signing up for the ATI TEAS exam for attempt one and attempt two. Applicants will sign up for ATI TEAS dates through their academic advisors. Applications sent through U.S. mail will not be accepted.

GSU’s School of Nursing will be accepting unofficial transcripts with the nursing application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to have all transcripts, from all colleges/universities attended, forwarded to GSUSON in a timely manner.

If applicants are awaiting grades from additional institutions, they will be able to submit unofficial transcripts to the GSU School of Nursing by May 9. An official transcript from any additional institutions will still need to be submitted to the Office of Admissions and GSU’s School of Nursing.

Brown said that it does take a special type of person to become a nurse.

“What we find is that we sometimes get students who don’t really have a good idea of the profession and what it takes to become a good nurse,” Brown said. “Those kinds of students have a ‘glamorized’ idea of the profession. When they get to nursing school, we can often tell those kinds of students don’t understand what it really takes. They might be the kind of student that can excel in studies for any profession they want to try. But nursing takes more than that.”

And that “more” involves mindset as much as anything.

“Becoming a successful nurse, and thereby, nursing student, takes a certain kind of temperament. The students we’re looking for want to take care of people regardless of who and what they are. We have to take care of everyone whether we agree with their beliefs and values or not,” said Brown. “And that’s a skill you can teach only to a certain degree. Becoming a good and successful nurse takes a caring, nurturing, and understanding temperament.”

Requirements for admission to GSU’s School of Nursing include: completion of all required pre-nursing courses by the end of the semester of application; a grade of “C” or higher and an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 in pre-nursing courses; completion of the ATI TEAS exam and score a 64% or higher on either the first or second attempt; a grade of “C” or higher and a GPA of 2.8 in all science courses: Chemistry 105, Chemistry 107, Biology 207, Biology 207L, Biology 208, Biology 208L, Microbiology 304, Applied Nursing Pathophysiology 225; and a minimum ACT score of 21 or SAT score of 1060 – 1090.

Applicants must submit official ACT/SAT scores to Grambling State University’s Office of Admission and the School of Nursing. The last ACT test date to qualify for fall admission is April 2, 2022. The last SAT test date to qualify for fall admission is March 12, 2022.

For applicants that are deemed eligible for entrance into the fall 2022 nursing cohort, a face-to-face interview will be conducted by the GSUSON admissions committee. Applicants will be provided the date, time, and place for when the interview will take place prior to the application review process by the GSUSON admission committee.

Applicants who have been previously enrolled in or are transferring from another professional school of nursing must secure a letter of good standing from the Dean/Chairperson or Director of that nursing school to be considered for acceptance. Transfer applicants must meet all admission requirements. The letter must be mailed to Grambling State University, School of Nursing BSN Program, P. O. Box 4272, Grambling, LA 71245.

Applicants will receive notification letters through email of their admission status by May 31, 2022. The application for admission to GSU’s School of Nursing can be downloaded from link.gram.edu/bsn.

Graduation from Grambling State University’s BSN program provides eligibility for students seeking licensure through the LSBN as a registered nurse (RN).

For more information, email nursingapps@gram.edu.

GSU announces 2022 gridiron schedule

 Courtesy of Grambling State Athletic Communications

The Hue Jackson era at Grambling State is still more than seven months away from the Tigers taking the field, but fans can start making plans for the 2022 season.

The Tigers will play three home games, three neutral site games, and five true road games.

Jackson and the G-men will open the season with six straight games away from Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium, including the opener at Arkansas State on September 3 in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Season ticket packages for the upcoming season, which will include the three home games, the Northwestern State game in Shreveport, La. and the State Fair Classic in Dallas, Texas, will officially go on sale during the Tigers’ Spring Game on April 2 at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium. 

The Spring Game will be played on April 2, 2022 in Eddie G. Robinson Stadium with a time to be determined at a later date. Tailgating space will be limited and more information with how and when to purchase tailgating spots for the spring game will be released in February.  

Grambling State begins the season on the road to face Arkansas State on Sept. 3 at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, Ark. This will be just the second meeting between the Tigers and Red Wolves, with Arkansas State claiming a 10-7 victory in 1985. 

One week later on Sept. 10, the Tigers visit Independence Bowl Stadium in Shreveport, La. to take on Northwestern State. Grambling State and NWSU last met in 2018, with the Demons picking up a 34-7 victory in Natchitoches, La. This will be the sixth meeting in the series. 

Grambling State will get a good look at the potential SWAC East Division favorites on Sept. 17 when the Tigers visit Jackson State in a non-conference matchup. GSU is 47-22-1 all-time against JSU, but dropped its last decision at home, 33-28, in the spring of 2021. 

The Tigers continue their season-opening road swing and open SWAC play on Sept. 24 in Daytona Beach, Fla. at Bethune-Cookman. This will be the 13th meeting between the two schools and Grambling State will be looking to erase a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats. 

Grambling State heads back onto neutral soil on Oct. 1 with the annual trip to Dallas, Texas for the State Fair Classic and a meeting against Prairie View A&M. Both teams will be coming into this contest with first-year head coaches as the Tigers will be seeking their first victory over the Panthers since the 2017 season.   

The Black and Gold wrap up its first road swing on Oct. 8 with a trip to Huntsville, Ala. to take on Alabama A&M. The Tigers are 21-6 all-time against the Bulldogs and have won five straight in the series. 

Grambling State makes its long-awaited home opener on Oct. 15 when Florida A&M comes to Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium. The Tigers are 10-6 against FAMU in the series, but dropped last season’s contest in Tallahassee, Fla. 

After an open week, Grambling State returns to Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium on Oct. 29 when Alcorn State comes to town. The Tigers and Braves will be meeting for the 73rd time in the series. 

Grambling State wraps up its three-game homestand on Nov. 5 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the 2022 Homecoming Game. The Tigers are 31-13-2 in the series against the Golden Lions and will be looking to avenge last season’s 33-26 setback. 

The Black and Gold take to the road on Nov. 12 and will visit Texas Southern. The two will be meeting for the 69th time in the series and GSU will be coming into the contest riding a seven-game win streak against TSU. 

The Tigers conclude the regular season on Nov. 26 in the 49th Annual Bayou Classic. Grambling State and Southern traded blows in the 2021 game as Garrett Urban booted the game-winning field goal to lift the Tigers to the rivalry win.  

S3        at Arkansas State

S10      vs. Northwestern State (Shreveport)

S17      at Jackson State

S24      at Bethune-Cookman

O1       vs. Prairie View A&M (Dallas)

O8       at Alabama A&M

O15     Florida A&M

O29     Alcorn State

N5       Arkansas-Pine Bluff (HC)

N12     at Texas Southern

N26     vs. Southern (New Orleans)


Equipment, location serve as important choices with wedding photography

This is Part One in a two-part series about wedding photography choices. Check back Monday morning for Part Two about references, professionalism and budget regarding wedding photography. 

Black and white or color, staged or natural, filtered or dramatic, the subject of wedding photography can be as creative as the wedding itself. Finding a photographer is not necessarily the hard part: picking one often is. 

Matthew Cassity, owner of Matthew Cassity Photography, said knowing what to look for in a photographer comes down to presentation, communication and professionalism.  

“A photographer worth your money should have a professional looking website (that is) easy to navigate, have clearly stated ways to get in touch, a portfolio of images that are of high quality in terms of clarity and aesthetic, and I think they should have their rates/packages posted along with clear language describing what is included,” Cassity said. “They should respond with reasonable promptness. A busy photographer is likely a good photographer, but you shouldn’t have to wait very long to get a reply. You want a photographer who speaks professionally and respectfully, they should talk with you about what you are wanting, and work with you to set up whatever vision you might have in mind.” 

Next, Cassity suggested finding out about the camera and film used. 

“Ask them questions about their equipment, even if you don’t know anything about photography equipment,” he said. “An excellent photographer will have a good knowledge of their equipment. Are they using high quality cameras and accessories? Do they shoot film or digital? 35mm equivalent or medium format? They should be able to tell you why they use what they use.” 

Another choice is to determine whether to hire a local or out-of-town photographer. 

“If I were in the market for a professional wedding photographer, I would start by looking locally,” Cassity said. “You’ll save some money by not having to pay a travel fee for an out-of-town photographer. A local photographer will likely know better than an out-of-town photographer the best photo shoot locations in your area. And they’ll likely have networked more local connections/resources.” 

However, Cassity said quality of work would trump locale. 

“I would only pick a local photographer if you like their portfolio the best,” he said. “These are arguably some of the most important photos you’ll ever have taken, so the quality of the photographer supersedes locality. And, if you had a local and an out-of-town choice that you liked equally, then I would default to my early stance on picking the local photographer.” 


LDWF to restock Elmore D. Mayfield Park’s pond with rainbow trout

By Jim Wilkerson

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LWDF) will be restocking rainbow trout at Elmore D. Mayfield Park. This is part of the LDWF’s “Get Out and Fish!” program that occurs every year at various parks and other locations around the state.

The general mission of “Get Out and Fish!” is to recruit new anglers while encouraging former anglers to return to the sport.

To accomplish this goal, the program provides a location close to home where anglers can catch adult size fish without having to use a boat, travel a long time, or plan an expensive fishing trip.

The restocking of rainbow trout generally occurs every winter – weather permitting – around January or February. These fish come from hatcheries where they are grown in a controlled environment until they are released into one of the designated ponds.

The LWDF partners with community organizations and local governments to identify high-quality fishing locations within a short walk or bike ride from a community or town. These locations must be open to the public.

LDWF biologists also assess each potential location for suitability as a healthy fishery. Ideal sites have three-to-ten-acre ponds with amenities such as restrooms, parking, and play areas nearby.

Elmore D. Mayfield Park, located at 1701 Martin Luther King Drive, is certainly an ideal location.  It is the City’s largest park, encompassing 66 acres with a spring-fed lake, and it has a playground, restroom facilities, a basketball court, and a baseball/softball field.

For those planning on fishing there, LDWF suggests doing so with a light line and a small hook, preferably a small spinner lure or rooster tail. Popular trout baits to use are corn kernels and small synthetic baits, often found in jars. These resemble the food pellets the rainbow trout were raised on in hatcheries.

For more information, visit the ”Get Out and Fish!” webpage.


Junior Auxiliary offers scholarships

The Junior Auxiliary of Ruston will award two $500 scholarships to two 2022 graduates of Lincoln Parish high schools.  

Application forms are available through the guidance office at all high schools in Lincoln Parish, or individuals can visit JA’s website at jaofruston.org and look under projects tab.   

Completed applications must be postmarked by Friday, Feb. 25.  

To apply, the recipient must be a Lincoln Parish resident and a senior at a high school in Lincoln Parish, have maintained an overall 2.5 GPA and indicate intent to attend a college or university in Louisiana and enroll in full-time hours. Enrollment verification will need to be provided before the scholarship is awarded.

The recipients will be chosen by an impartial Scholarship Committee.

Completed applications may be emailed to Sharina Hemphill, JA scholarship chair, at pearlsofservicescholarship@jaofruston.org or mailed to JA of Ruston ATTN: Pearls of Service Scholarship, PO Box 1762, Ruston LA 71273.

Recipients will be notified no later than April 30.  


Tech hoop teams play Rice

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Bulldogs Host Owls

RUSTON — Louisiana Tech looks to get back into the win column on Thursday night when they play host to Rice at 6:30 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on 107.5 FM and on the LA Tech Athletics app. It will be streamed on ESPN+.

LA Tech (15-4, 6-1) had its 18-game home winning streak and its seven-game overall winning streak snapped this past Saturday in an 83-76 loss to UAB. 

Amorie Archibald, playing in his program record 141st career game as a Bulldog, had a standout shooting performance, scoring a team-high 27 points while going 7-of-10 from downtown.  For the season, he is averaging 14.1 points per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from long range.

Kenneth Lofton, Jr. registered his 10th double-double in the loss with 24 points and 12 rebounds.  He is tied for eighth in the country in most double-doubles.  It was also his eighth career 20-10 game and his 10th career 20-point scoring effort.  He currently anchors the team in scoring (16.9) and rebounding (10.6). 

LA Tech is tied with UAB and North Texas atop the West Division standings.  In league play only, the Bulldogs rank in the top three in the conference in scoring offense (75.4) and scoring defense (63.7).

Rice (11-7, 4-3) enters the week in fourth in the West Division.  After opening up conference with a loss at North Texas, they have reeled off four victories over Middle Tennessee, UAB, Marshall and Old Dominion.  They did suffer a setback in their last outing, falling 67-64 at home to Charlotte.

The Owls are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country.  Their 39.1 percent shooting from deep ranks first in C-USA and eighth in the country.  They average 10.1 made threes per game, having made 10+ triples in 11 contests this season.

A two-headed scoring monster in Carl Pierre and Travis Evee has led them.  They are each averaging 15 points per game and have combined to make 110 three-pointers this season.

LA Tech leads the all-time series with Rice, 18-7, having won three straight.  Since becoming C-USA opponents, the Bulldogs have won 11 of the 13 matchups, including sweeping both games in Ruston last season by scores of 101-57 and 79-58.  The ‘Dogs have won seven straight meetings over the Owls at home. 

Techsters at Rice

HOUSTON, TexasLouisiana Tech begins a two-game conference road swing through Texas tonight when they face off against the Rice Owls inside Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas at 7 p.m.

This will be the seventh contest on the road for the Lady Techsters in their last nine games.

The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on 97.7 FM and on the LA Tech Athletics app. It will be streamed on CUSA.tv.

Louisiana Tech (10-7, 2-4) comes into Thursday’s matchup having won both of their last two conference USA games after an 0-4 start beating UTSA at home (79-64) and the CUSA West division leader UAB on the road last Saturday (58-52).

Junior Keiunna Walker was recently named the LSWA State College Basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season. Walker netted two game-high 20-point performances against the Roadrunners and Blazers while also pulling down 10 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.

Sophomore Anna Larr Roberson continues to contribute heavily on both ends of the floor averaging 13.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg while also registering a team-high 19 blocks this season (1.2 bpg). She has posted six double-doubles on the year and is just 16 rebounds shy of 500 for her career.

Roberson is also the C-USA leader in free-throw percentage at 85.0 percent and in the last two conference USA seasons has made 59 of her 62 attempts (95.2 percent), including a current streak of 19 in a row.

The Lady Techsters remain one of the top defensive teams in Conference USA across the board ranking in the top five in scoring defense (57.7 ppg), blocked shots (3.7 bpg), turnovers forced (19.6 tfpg) and steals (9.5 spg).

Rice (5-8, 0-5) is coming off a heartbreaking four overtime loss to Charlotte last Saturday (88-83) while playing with only eight eligible players. The Owls erased a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Five players were needed to play 40+ minutes in the first-ever 60-minute game in the program’s history.

The Owls are led by a pair of double-digit scorers in sophomore Ashlee Austin (15.7 ppg) and junior Haylee Swayze (12.1 ppg). Austin has scored in double figures in nine of their 13 games including two 30-point performances.

Louisiana Tech and Rice meet for the 30th time in women’s basketball as the Lady Techsters hold a one game advantage in the all-time series 15-14. The series dates back to the 2000-01 season.


Bill breaks a vow

By Brad Dison

Bill grew up on a dairy farm on a country road outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.  His father and his uncle Clyde inherited a 300-acre dairy farm from Bill’s grandfather.  It was a true family business.  Bill’s father handled the business affairs.  Bill’s mother did the bookkeeping at the kitchen table.  Uncle Clyde tended to the milk-processing house.  From the time he could walk, Bill helped tend the large garden where they grew corn, wheat, rye, barley, and a wide variety of vegetables.  He followed behind the plow mule and spread fertilizer after the seeds had been sown in their rows.  

As soon as Bill was strong enough – not old enough – he was awakened at 2:30 a.m. to begin working on the farm with the rest of the men in the family.  Bill reminisced that “when that Big Ben alarm clock went off at two-thirty in the morning, I wanted to slam it to the floor and burrow back under the covers.”  He understood that hard work was expected and necessary.  He also realized that there would be no breakfast until after his chores were finished so he rushed from the bed and to his work.   

Bill milked twenty cows, a task which usually took about two hours to complete.  Then, he cleaned the fresh cow manure from the barn with a shovel, helped the other hands bring in fresh hay for the cows, helped refill the feed troughs, helped transport the 5-gallon milk cans to the frigid spring to keep them ice cold, and, once he had completed his chores, finally sat down to a mouth-watering country breakfast which consisted of grits and gravy, fresh eggs, ham or bacon, and homemade biscuits.  All of this Bill did every morning before school.  Bill repeated his chores each day after school.   

Bill said that “After all my heavy labor in the fresh air at daybreak, followed by Mother’s good food, I was ready for almost anything—except school.”  By the time he got to school, he was usually tired.  He stayed awake by sheer willpower alone.  Bill assumed that he would one day inherit an interest in the dairy farm, which suited him just fine.  

Bill’s mother always encouraged him to read, which Bill preferred to his other school work.  He read just about everything he could get his hands on including his favorite, the Tarzan book series.  On a memorable visit to his aunt’s home, she, knowing that he enjoyed reading, told him to spend some time reading the Bible.  Within about ten minutes Bill returned and proudly boasted that he had read a whole book in the Bible.  She praised him for his quick reading.  Unbeknownst to her, Bill had located the Epistle of Jude, which was the shortest book in the New Testament.  It consisted of a single page.   

The family’s dairy farm had several hired hands and Bill enjoyed swapping stories with them while they worked.  One of the hired hands who Bill particularly liked to work alongside was a rough but good-natured character named Pedro.  Pedro would often share stories with Bill about his erotic experiences with women.  Even though Bill listened intently to every syllable, he was sure the stories were embellished.  In high school, Bill had multiple opportunities to have his own exotic experiences with women, but he vowed to remain pure until marriage.

In addition to his tall tales of sexual escapades, Pedro took it upon himself to teach Bill to chew tobacco.  One day Bill’s father caught him with a chaw of tobacco in his cheek.  Pedro was fired immediately and Bill received a thrashing he would never forget.  Bill vowed to never chew tobacco again.  Bill’s father wondered what else Pedro had been teaching Bill.  

One day, just after Prohibition had been repealed, Bill’s father brought home some beer.  Bill’s father was a teetotaler, so him bringing home beer was totally out of character.  He called Bill, then about 15-years old, and his sister, Catherine, two years younger, into the kitchen and ordered each of them to drink a full bottle of beer.  They gagged, spat, and winced, but finally finished both bottles.  “When any of your friends try to get you to drink alcohol, just tell them you’ve already tasted it and you don’t like it,” his father told him.  “That’s all the reason you need to give.”  Bill vowed not to drink alcohol again.    

Bill came home from school one day and his mother sensed something was wrong.  Bill explained that he was to portray Uncle Sam in a pageant at his school.  He and his mother rehearsed the speech until he was unable to get it wrong.  On the day of the pageant, his mother was a nervous wreck.  Bill’s costume included the long beard, hat, and tailcoat commonly associated with Uncle Sam.  His knees shook and his hands perspired as he flawlessly recited his speech.  He hated the uncomfortable feeling and vowed to himself that he would never become a public speaker.  Of all of the vows he had made to himself through the years, this was the vow he was destined to break.  You see, Bill became a prominent public speaker.  From the 1940s until his death in 2018, Bill was known as one of the best public speakers in the world.  Bill spoke in front of live audiences totaling approximately 210 million people in more than 185 countries.    He became a spiritual advisor to every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.  He was a friend of Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family who frequently invited him to speak at special events.  In breaking a vow to himself, Bill made another vow.  Bill, the man who vowed not to become a public speaker, vowed to spread the Gospel and became an evangelist.  You know him as Billy Graham.

Source: Billy Graham, Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (San Francisco: HarperCollins Worldwide, 1997), 3-20.


Notice of death — Jan. 26, 2022

Dr. Dallas Denver Lutes 
July 12, 1925 – January 24, 2022 
Visitation: First Baptist Church, 200 S. Trenton St., Ruston, Thursday, January 27, 2022, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm 
Service: First Baptist Church, 200 S. Trenton St., Ruston, Thursday, January 27, 2022, 2:00 pm 
Cemetery: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Hwy. 80, Ruston, Thursday, January 27, 2022 

William Edward Flournoy, Jr. 
Feb. 15, 1957 – Jan. 22, 2022 
Public Viewing: 3-5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue, Ruston 
Funeral Service: 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue, Ruston 
Interment: Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, Grambling Memorial Garden, Hwy. 80 West, Grambling 

Doris Williams 
April 2, 1948 – Jan. 18, 2022 
Memorial Service: 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at King’s Funeral Home, 1511 W. California Avenue, Ruston 

Jerry Dee Nugent  
September 28, 1949 – January 22, 2022  
Visitation: Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM, First Baptist Church in Farmerville  
Memorial Service: Saturday, Jan 29, 2022, 2:00 PM, First Baptist Church in Farmerville 


City celebrates opening of Ruston Sports Complex’s indoor facility

By T. Scott Boatright

It was a celebration of passion and success as officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon to unveil Phase II — the indoor facility -— of the Ruston Sports Complex that is projected to make an economic impact of $1.2 billion for the city over the next 20 years.

The 62,470-square foot facility is part of an 185-acre complex that features:

• Six multi-use courts (ready to host six basketball games, 8-eight volleyball games, 15 pickleball games, six soccer games at a time as well as a host of other events)
• 4,000 square foot multi-purpose room
• State-of-the-art concession area
•  Workstations

“Today marks a first for the city of Ruston,” said Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker. “Our city is over 125 years old, and this is the first time we’ve ever owned our own gymnasium. Everybody thought Bobby James Gym was owned by the city of Ruston. It was not. It was owned by the school board. So this is the first time in the history of our city that we’ve owned a gymnasium — not just one but six.”

Walker then took a moment to thank the Ruston Parks and Recreation staff.

“This past weekend we had 60 volleyball teams in here for a tournament, most from out of town,” Walker said. “Then last night they had 180 kids playing indoor soccer. And then flipped that all around so that we could do this today, So recreation staff, thank you very much for what you do every day.”

Walker went on to explain what he believes the facility will mean to not only Ruston and Lincoln Parish, but also the region as a whole.

“This is the completion of Phase II — our indoor facility,” he said. “Phase I was the outdoor facility. This is a real plus for our city. Just like Phase I, it will bring so many tax dollars into our city every weekend when tournaments are held here just like the outdoor facility.

“We are becoming known as the finest facility in the South and we have labeled this entire complex the ‘Sports Capital of the South.’ So we’re really excited about what’s taking place out here.”

Walker then turned the microphone over to Assistant to the Mayor Haley Perot.

“I’m going to be very up front with you and tell you I’m a very poor substitute for the person who is supposed to be out here, which is our Sports Facility Director Megan Rowe,” Perot said. “She’s incredible at what she does and runs this whole facility. She is phenomenal at getting teams and tournaments, but she has a pretty good excuse for not being here because she is currently having a baby. So with that, I gave her a pass.”

Perot also talked about the facility itself.

“I do want to encourage you to look at this facility as more than what you see,” she said. “Behind me you see volleyball nets, basketball goals, soccer goals. I’m sure you can envision cheer competitions, dance competitions and even gymnastic meets. But I want you to look again if we lift all of this up — if we lift up all the nets and all of this equipment, we have approximately a 50,000-foot blank space. And it’s no longer a sports complex, it’s an events center. An events center that can host trade shows, dog shows, karate matches, expos or art fairs. 

“We know that in the city of Ruston not everyone plays sports, not everybody loves to come out here and do something athletic. But that’s what this facility is — it’s more than just that. (Mayor Walker) will tell you that if you can dream it, we can do it.”

She then pointed out a 4,000-square foot room that can be used to hold banquets.

“It’s a blank canvas made for you to enjoy and made pretty much anything,” Perot said.

 Walker then introduced Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who oversees tourism for the state of Louisiana.

“To lean forward with this type of investment shows the kind of passion and team effort the (Ruston City Council), the mayor, and the community has to back this,” Nungesser said. “Three years ago we decided we needed a team traveling the country promoting sports tourism outside of New Orleans. We’ve had great success with volleyball, Olympic trials, basketball, boxing, golf.

“This facility is going to take us to a new level. This facility is going to give us the opportunity to host those larger events. And I can’t wait for our team to go back to Denver and meet with the Olympic Trials (organizers) and tell them what we have here in Louisiana.” 


Tech officers arrest male on charges of criminal trespass, resisting an officer

Louisiana Tech police officers responded to the university’s Student Center late Tuesday evening in regards to a Shreveport man who they had previous issues with disturbing the peace and trespassing.

When the officers arrived at the Student Center, they observed D’Kyrus Burks, 23, walking out of the building. Burks is not believed to be a Tech student.

The officers made contact with Burks near the red table area outside the Student Center, and Burks attempted to flee on foot. Officers grabbed Burke, who did not comply and kept grabbing officers while they were trying to get control of his hands.

Burks was ordered multiple times to comply or he would be Tazed. He continued to resist commands and wrestle with officers and was Tazed. He continued to resist and was Tazed again. The officers then were able to gain control of his arms and place him in handcuffs.

Burks was evaluated by Ruston Emergency Services as a result of being Tazed and was also transported to Northern Louisiana Medical Center, where he was evaluated due to erratic behavior.

NLMC released Burks back into the officers’ custody, and he was transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and booked with criminal trespass and resisting an officer.


Taser used to safely apprehend suspect

A Ruston Police officer had to resort to discharging a Taser electronic control device to take a local woman who was threatening a man with a knife into custody.

About 9:30 Sunday morning, officers were dispatched to a White Street address regarding a woman attempting to enter the residence while armed with a knife. As officers arrived, Kenzlei Crowe, 18, of Ruston, was observed going into the residence.

As an officer was nearing the house, Crowe was heard to say, “Let me go; I will kill him.” When the officer entered the residence, a woman was observed restraining Kenzlei who was struggling to approach a man with a large knife in her right hand.

The officer deployed a Taser to immobilize Crowe, recover the knife, and take her into custody. 

The man Crowe was attempting to assault stated he had been dating her. 

As Crowe was being transported to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, she allegedly 

stated several times that she would kill the man when released from jail.


LA Tech’s Alford set to compete at Farmers Insurance Open

L to R: Ricky Fowler, Kamaiu Johnson, Ryan Alford and Sam Burns played nine holes Monday in preparation for the Farmers Insurance Open. It will be Alford’s first career PGA event.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Louisiana Tech assistant golf coach Ryan Alford will be spending the week in California … and hopefully the weekend as well.

The former Bulldog golfer is one of two players who received an exemption to play in the 2022 Farmers Insurance Open along with Kamaiu Johnson. The event will run Wednesday through Saturday at Torrey Pines Golf Course. It will be Alford’s first career start on the PGA Tour.

Alford will tee off at 9:50 a.m. on Hole No. 1 with Joshua Creel (US) and Mito Pereira (Chile).

“First PGA Tour start,” said Alford. “It’s a dream come true. It’s surreal right now. Tomorrow I will tee it up. My debut. Very excited. Grateful. Thankful for the opportunity.”

Alford played a practice round on Monday with Johnson, Sam Burns and Ricky Fowler.

“We played nine holes; just a little game,” said Alford. “It’s always good playing with my high school teammate and my childhood friend. Having the opportunity to play with (Sam) and having the confidence that I grew up with him and played a lot of golf with him. I’m just moving forward. It keeps the dream alive. I know I belong out here. That’s the biggest thing for me.”

The exemptions support Farmers® ongoing commitment to the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour and its work to grow diversity in golf. Helping to remove the financial burden associated with the game and providing playing opportunities are top priorities for both Farmers and the APGA.

The organizations are also focused on ensuring players have access to the tools and support they need, allowing them to better focus on their career path and development in the game.

“Both Ryan Alford and Kamaiu Johnson have their own stories of perseverance, and each has shown they can compete and win on the APGA Tour this season,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Farmers Insurance Open. “Ryan has enjoyed tremendous success with two victories on the APGA Tour this season and we felt Johnson deserved his chance to return and finish what he wasn’t able to start in January 2021. Not only are they great golfers on the course, but they also both give back and work to grow the sport in the communities where they learned the game.”  

Alford, 25, grew up learning the game with his father and through First Tee Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport, La., eventually representing the chapter at the Pure Insurance Championship Impacting First Tee in 2011.

He was a standout player for the Bulldogs and on the APGA Tour. During the 2021 season, Alford had back-to-back victories at TPC Scottsdale and Valhalla Golf Club. He also finished runner-up in the final event of the APGA Farmers Insurance Fall Series at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles. Alford was a teammate of PGA TOUR standout Sam Burns at Calvary Baptist Academy where he was part of a string of five consecutive Louisiana state championship titles.

Alford talked about his mindset heading into Thursday’s first round.

“I’m trying to keep it simple,” said Alford. “One shot at a time. Stick to my routine. Stick to what got me here.”

Alford is the second Bulldog to play in a PGA event in the past 12 months after Sam Forgan competed in the British Open last year. He said representing his University is special.

“It’s great,” said Alford. “I’m sure you will hear more from Louisiana Tech golf in the very near future. But for me to be out here is a dream come true, and I am very thankful for it.”


TA Effort: Confessions of a ‘Jeopardy’ deadbeat

“And the answer is: What do you call a person who has no chance of correctly answering more than three questions, tops, on any single episode of Jeopardy!?”

“What is a Jeopardy! Deadbeat?”

“Correct! The judges would have also taken ‘What is Most any Normal Person?’”

No one is in jeopardy of me beating them on Jeopardy!, four decades old and the most-watched TV game show of all-time. The questions — or answers, if you prefer — are cast-iron tough. Harder than an acre of ash.

There is every reason to watch Jeopardy! and one big reason not to. What I hear most is, “It makes me feel stupid.” Legit response. Makes me feel more stupid. I passed feeling stupid a long time ago.

But … to those using that excuse, we offer this:

Consider an attitude adjustment. I know going in I’m not the most mature apple on the tree, so when I watch, it’s with low expectations. Extremely low. Barrel-bottom low. Again, me and millions of other stupid people have made it the most popular game show ever.

That anyone can ever actually win a match, even one, is what makes the current goings-on all that more confounding. The show’s reigning champ isn’t just beating people, she’s destroying them. Sherman through Georgia. She’s the game show equivalent of football’s 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

A historic champ is Amy Schneider, a 41-year-old engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., who after Monday’s just-another-day-at-the-office rout had won 39 consecutive matches and moved into second place all-time and all by her lonesome.

She’d also pocketed $1,319,800. Hello.

She’s still way behind all-time champ Ken Jennings and his 74 straight wins. If she were chasing Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak, she’d be around 30. Lot of pitchers left to face.

That said, Schneider’s got game. Monday alone, she answered questions from the categories of, among others, Government Agencies, Bodies of Water, The Crusades, Rhythm & Blues, Roman Life & Culture — quite the varied array.

As usual, she won by $10,000 — and that was after losing $25,000 in Final Jeopardy. LOST 25 large and still won by 10.

Some of Monday’s answers/questions, with the correct response in parentheses. Good luck:

“Moses’ mom put him in an ark made of this plant?” Me: “Reeds!” (Bulrush.) Dang! I KNEW I had that one …

“The mission of BLM, short for this, is ‘to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands.’” Me: “What is the Big Land Machine?” (Bureau of Land Management)

“Croatia’s border rivers, the Sava & Drava, are both tributaries of this one.” Me: “Uh ….” (The Gulf of Sidra)

“Pope Eugenius III launched the Second Crusade in 1145 with ‘Quantum Praedecessores,’ one of these documents named for its seal.” Me: “No WAY there was a whole other Crusade after the first one. No livin’ WAY!” (The Papal Bull.)

My guess would have been The Mama Bull. So close…

The show airs 4:30 weekdays on ABC. Sometimes I’ll record it and, if I’ve had a good day, I’ll watch maybe 10 minutes, just to be humbled, just to remind myself that while a contestant is winning on Jeopardy! each weekday, I barely know the difference between the Gulf of Sidra and the Gulf gas station down on the corner.

Always felt I had a fightin’-man’s chance back in the day with Match Game. The Price is Right. Even Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. But Jeopardy! is a different animal. It’s always the windshield; I’m always the bug.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


Fleeing suspect caught

A Dubach man was arrested Monday after he fled deputies who were attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

When Lincoln Parish deputies went to a May Road residence Monday to serve a warrant, Louis J. Johnson, 26, fled out the back door. Johnson was wearing a black backpack at the time. He was ordered to stop but continued to flee.

A search was conducted, and a black backpack was found in the woods where Johnson was last seen. The pack contained two large plastic bags of suspected synthetic marijuana and four opened water bottles containing colored liquids mixed with suspected codeine.

Deputies apprehended Johnson nearby. He was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for resisting an officer, possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance.


Louisiana Tech ASCE team wins Road-Eo competition

Louisiana Tech University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers Transportation Leadership Council (ASCE TLC) won first place in the 2021 Asphalt Road-Eo competition held in December.

Civil Engineering juniors Robert Dixon, Charity Durr, Mason Macaluso and Noah Savoie conducted a virtual forensic analysis using data from the rutted pavement on highways in Texas. The team presented their findings to a panel of judges who gave the Louisiana Tech team the top ranking.

Louisiana Tech classes and extracurricular activities prepared the team for the event.

“I was excited to participate in this competition because it was an opportunity to sharpen my leadership, connect with industry professionals, and learn more about my future industry. My team had to come together and research a field completely new to us because none of us had taken the Highways II course, which deals with asphalt failure, yet,” Durr, the ASCE TLC chair, said. “Our TLC chapter won the second competition back in 2019, however, because that was pre-pandemic and in person and this was a virtual competition, it was completely different than this competition. Louisiana Tech has equipped me with the persistence needed to tackle a problem completely unfamiliar to me like this one was. Louisiana Tech has also shown me that there are so many opportunities around for the taking, I just had to have enough confidence in myself to take them.”

“Participating in this competition was amazing,” Dixon added. “I honestly decided to join the team last second, but I am glad I did. The competition gave our team the opportunity to use problem-solving and research skills that we’ve been developing since we got to Tech. It was a learning experience, and I was fortunate to be a part of the team.”

Noah Savoie pointed out that his love for research and concrete design developed through his experiences building working concrete canoes for the Tech student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and in Tech’s Civil Engineering program courses.

“I was excited to get involved in Asphalt Road-Eo because of the interest in concrete design I got as a member of the ASCE Concrete Canoe team, as well as my goal to experience more aspects of ASCE. The potential prize money was also an incentive! My experiences at Louisiana Tech have greatly developed my data analysis and research skills, which proved to be instrumental in winning the competition,” Savoie said.

“I was excited to participate in the competition because I wanted to get more involved with ASCE and put knowledge from our classes to use,” Macaluso added. “My education at Tech helped me through this process by preparing me for problem solving as was required in the competition.”

Louisiana Tech’s Transportation Leadership Council is a subgroup of the ASCE student chapter and is sponsored by the Southern Plains Transportation Center (SPTC). Faculty advisors like professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Technology Dr. Nazimuddin “Wasi” Wasiuddin, encourage students in the TLC to prepare for their careers by participating in activities that include Transportation Month lectures, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Adopt-A-Road Program, and TLC Forums in SPTC universities.

“This is the second time that the Louisiana Tech team has won the competition, which has only been held four times,” Wasiuddin said. “I’m proud of our ASCE TLC students for their outstanding performance! They prepared extremely hard for these competitions.”

The Texas Asphalt Pavement Association and the University of Texas at Austin hosted the event.


LA Tech Softball sets Alumni Weekend

Photo by Matthew Cassity Photography courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

RUSTON – All former Louisiana Tech softball players, managers and coaches are invited back for Alumni Weekend set for April 1-3 at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

The Lady Techsters will host UTSA in a three-game series with game times set for 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

“We are really excited about the opportunity to welcome back as many former softball alums as possible for this weekend,” said Tech head coach Josh Taylor. “Not only will it give our new staff a chance to meet and begin building relationships with them, but it will provide our current players a chance to directly interact with them as well.

“It should be a special weekend, and we are going to do everything possible to make sure our alums feel connected to their program.”

A number of events are scheduled for Saturday, April 2. Prior to the first pitch of the game against UTSA, members of the 2020 Senior Class (Jenny Chapman, Marilyn Rizzato, and Addison Roark) will be honored. The University was unable to honor them on the field in 2020 due to the season being cut short by Covid-19.

Following the contest on Saturday, all former Lady Techster softball players, managers and coaches who are in attendance will be recognized on the field.

An open tour of the new facility – including locker room, team meeting room, players’ lounge, coaches’ offices, sports medicine and the indoor hitting facility with the Origin Bank Soccer and Softball Complex – will be given to all alums following the on-field recognition.

Following the tour, an Alumni Cookout (RSVPs are required) will be held as parents of current Lady Techsters players have volunteered their time to cook food for the former players and alums.

The day will be capped by “Hitting Under the Lights,” an opportunity for all former players to take some swings at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

All former alums will receive up to two free tickets for the weekend while additional tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate ($10) for the entire weekend. 

To RSVP for the weekend, all former players, managers and coaches should email malcolm@latech.edu and include contact cell.


Granddaddy’s Farm…A childhood memory

By Wesley Harris

I take a highway to work past the old homeplace where my father grew up. Memories of visits to my granddaddy and grandma spur a longing for the house and barn and animals and family of my youth. 

It was a real country house. Small, simple. Clapboard painted white, a front porch its one and only amenity.

It possessed running water of a sort—at a spring in the woods behind the house. More conveniently, I could pull up a bucket of water from the well or scoop a glassful from a rain barrel. The barrels sat along the edge of the house to catch rain dripping off the tin roof. Grandma said drink from the well and leave the rain barrels for washing clothes and bathing. It was a long time before I realized we sat in the dark around the fireplace because there was no electricity. 

Since the two-seater outhouse lacked lights or heat, I did not linger. It was a little scary to sit in the dark, foul outhouse on a wooden seat and despite the known horrors below, I couldn’t help but peer down the hole.

With an abundance of tall flowers and oversized shrubs, the yard encouraged jungle adventures. No need to fantasize about dangerous animals. Bees and wasps and dragonflies and nameless insects buzzed and hummed around the flowers. And my head. The thought of painful stings terrified me as much as being attacked by the arrogant rooster patrolling the yard. 

Chickens—red, white, yellow, and speckled—ran loose everywhere. When a chicken flew down out of a tree, I ran like a rabbit evading a hungry hawk. The chickens fought one another, squawking and stirring up dust. I stayed away from them.

The feed store gave Granddaddy a calendar each year. The current calendar and last year’s and the year before adorned the bedroom wall. Each month pictured a different breed of chicken. I studied the calendars and examined the yard chickens to find those matching the pictures. Granddaddy had many chickens, but he did not have all the chickens on the calendars. 

I enjoyed gathering eggs even though the chickens made me nervous. I ventured from tree to bush to wooden box looking for eggs to place in my tin bucket. Just like Easter except all the eggs were brown or white. If a hen sat on her nest guarding her eggs, I left her alone. 

Flowers covered the yard, a colorful display of God’s creation, substituting for the lack of grass picked clean by the chickens. Zinnias, daylilies, daffodils, chrysanthemums, and giant towering sunflowers. Some bloomed in the spring and some in the summer. I liked the four-o’clocks because they worked like a timepiece, opening and closing at different times of the day. It was easy to collect the four-o’clock seeds and replant them at home. 

A huge pear tree commanded one corner of the front yard. Daddy parked our car under the tree so my brother and I could climb up and reach the pears. Even when plenty of pears littered the ground, it was more fun to pick our own off the tree. My brothers and I always ate too many.

Tin lard buckets containing pepper plants stood everywhere. Grandma made pepper sauce to flavor peas and turnip greens and everything else she and Granddaddy ate. Food came from the garden, not a store. I used my share of pepper sauce, too, and acquired a taste for a spicy condiment on most everything I eat. 

The garden was always fun. Rows and rows of corn plants stretched tall toward the sky. Daddy said some of it was sweet corn for eating and some was called field corn. The field corn was for Nell the horse and the cows.

“Wanna go bust a melon?” Dad would ask and off to the garden we trekked. The watermelons covered much of the garden because of their long trailing vines. Dad and I tried growing watermelons in our little garden at home, but they never turned out as good as Granddaddy’s. Dad said the soil was different and our garden was too shady. 

We ate watermelon in the garden. Dad thumped melon after melon with his finger until he found the right one. I thumped them too, but I could not tell one from another. 

Sometimes I spotted jagged holes in the watermelons, right down to the middle, with red juice oozing out. Dad said crows had been eating them.

After Dad found the best watermelon, he snapped it off the vine, lifted it off the ground, and dropped it to break it open. No knives, no spoons, just use your hands to scoop out the red stuff. The heart of the melon, right in the middle, was the best. If we ate all the middle and wanted some more, we broke open another one because there plenty of melons and the heart is the best. When we finished, we left the remainder on the ground, hoping the lazy crows ate the leftovers rather than ruin another on the vine.

Granddaddy almost never went to the garden with us. I guess he spent enough time there as it was. While we explored, he rested in one of his three favorite places. In the winter, he used a rocking chair by the bedroom fireplace. In good weather, he was on the porch in another rocking chair. On lazy summer days, he reclined on a feather bed in the screened-in breezeway running down the middle of the house. 

Throughout my childhood, I thought Granddaddy’s horse was named Nail. What a strange name for a horse, I thought. I had never known anyone named Nell so only the word ‘nail’ was familiar. Nell pulled the plow in Granddaddy’s garden. Dad plowed sometimes while I watched. I could tell it was hard work. For Dad, I mean. He had to keep the plow headed straight and be careful not to plow up the plants. Nell knew when to turn and start down the next row. Now and then Dad bent over and picked up a rock, inspected it a moment, and tossed it out of the garden. He said he found many arrowheads when he plowed as a boy. I followed behind him looking for arrowheads in the freshly turned earth. I never found any, but he gave me some he had found many years earlier.

I wish I had spent more time at the little spring bubbling up at the bottom of a woody hill behind the garden. It was a quiet cool place, even in summer. You could not see the garden, or the pasture, or the barn, or the house from the spring. The water was cold and sweet and more fun to drink than water from the well or the barrel. A little dam had been built around the spring to create a pool. The water rushed out of the ground and spilled over the rocks, running out of sight into the woods. 

The old homeplace belongs to another family now. The only landmarks I recognize as I pass are two towering oaks that once shaded the front yard and daffodils that pop out every spring. The house was torn down in the early 70s, and Dad salvaged wood to build a barn for my 4-H livestock projects. The door to the only closet in the house was added to the barn. Now the door serves as a rustic coffee table in my den, reminding me of that simple old house, loving grandparents, and childhood memories.