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delta Fall 2016

Artist Cheryl Moore Peebles Farm & Corn Maze Pasquale’s Tamales Rex Nelson’s Delta Centenarians on Life and Love

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6|Fall 2016

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© 2016, Delta Crossroads

Fall 2016|


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Fall editor’s letter

Opportunities abound for fall fun in the Arkansas Delta


he approach of autumn always takes the excitement level up several notches in our household. It’s the season when our calendars fill up quickly (far too quickly!) because there are so many wonderful things to do – football games and tailgating, our annual RV adventures which take us to many of the most amazing places in Arkansas, smalltown festivals all over the Delta, pumpkin patches and a pioneer homestead with the granddaughters and, for me, the annual mountaintop retreat with my precious Bible study friends. My heart always seems lighter when the I hear the songs of the katydids and cicadas, cooler temperatures arrive and the sun sinks lower in the sky casting deep shadows. It’s time for pumpkins and mums, campfires, sweatshirts and falling leaves. This year autumn also means a visit with my brother and sister-inlaw, who are coming from Florida in early October to meet us for Helena’s 31st annual King Biscuit Blues Festival. It’s been on their bucket list for some time, but they moved it to the top after we raved about how much we enjoyed our first KBBF experience last year. It’s impossible to adequately describe the atmosphere, music and food, so be sure to mark your calendars and see for yourself what all of the hype

is about. It’s a world-class event which brings people to our neck of the woods from all over the globe. While you’re there, you must have some Pasquale’s Tamales. It will be a memorable taste experience! To read about the history of these incredible tamales, read Kevin Smith’s wonderful story about Helena’s St. Columbia family and their journey from Sicily to the Arkansas Delta. I grew especially impatient for autumn this year on a recent visit to Peebles Farm and Corn Maze near Augusta, where preparations were underway for the 12th season of family fun in the pumpkin, sunflower and cotton fields. I felt like a kid again thinking of the joys of a hayride, a challenging path through the corn maze, squealing mini-pigs and cute cutouts for crazy photos. In my interview with owner Katie Peebles, I could tell that, while the farm is a tremendous amount of work for her, the pleasure it brings her far outweighs the pain of long days and tired muscles. You will enjoy reading about Katie and her husband, Dallas, and I hope you will be among the thousands who make their way

to Peebles Farm this year. One of the most amazing things about the Delta is the resilience of its people, and Mississippi County’s Khris Goble is a shining example of folks who “keep on keeping on” despite adversity. Talya Tate Boerner writes in this issue about Khris’s beautiful cypress woodwork and the rehabilitation and new lease on life it gave him after he suffered a debilitating stroke. The magnificent pieces he creates from scraps of reclaimed wood are the mark of a true artisan. You will enjoy his inspiring story.

My heart always seems lighter when the I hear the songs of the katydids and cicadas, cooler temperatures arrive and the sun sinks lower in the sky casting deep shadows.

Fall 2016|


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A very special treat in this issue is a Q&A with well-known Arkansan Rex Nelson, who, though raised in southern Arkansas, is widely recognized for his knowledge of the Delta, both from his previous position as an executive with the Delta Regional Authority and from frequent visits to the area he has grown to love. Interviewed by my husband, Ron, a lifelong friend of the Nelson family, Rex provides a unique perspective of Delta history and its most fascinating people and places. Great food is a signature of the Delta, and Mike’s Family Restaurant at Colt has been doing it right for 24 years – and still packs the house daily. Down-to-earth and genuine, owner Mike Linam tells some of the secrets of the establishment’s success. Linam also helped define the magic which has brought his parents, Hughey and Mary, through more than 78 years of marriage. Now at ages 102 and 103, respectively, they are the only couple I’ve personally known who both passed the century mark – and they’ve done it with a remarkable energy, optimism and zest for life rarely found in folks much younger. We are happy to share the wonderful story of this dynamic duo and the work ethic they say brought them to this incredible place in life. The contagious smile and playful spirit of Elaine artist Cheryl Moore are reflected in a unique artistic style which recently brought her to the spotlight as winner (for the third time) of the King Biscuit Blues Festival poster contest. Cheryl’s story of newfound confidence, cheerfulness and a determination to follow her dreams should lead us all to “just do it” rather than ever giving up. Similarly, Revis Blaylock writes about young singer Cory Jackson, who held on to a steady resolve which took him from Jonesboro to Lebanon, Tenn., in August to open for the legendary Oak Ridge Boys. Oh these Delta folks. They do seem to possess rare qualities which make them uncommon, just like the area where we live. It’s a special place. It’s a glorious time of the year. Happy Fall y’all!

Editor, Delta Crossroads

10|Fall 2016

Features 15



Peebles Farm & Corn Maze


Beneath the surface


They like them hot

No need to look any further for festive fall fun, this friendly farm has it all 24

Artist Cheryl Moore dives deep into her emotions to bring forth a treasure trove of talents 43

Paquale’s Tamales are soaked in family history and bountiful flavor 59 | Arkansas journalist talks Delta Rex Nelson, popular columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, shares his seasoned perspective 75




Mike’s Family Restaurant



Hughey and Mary Linam still share their days living independently 81

Delectable down-home cooking makes this Colt, Ark., eating establishment an area favorite 97

Artisan Khris Goble reclaims life in the process of reclaiming old wood 108


Cory Jackson


Before breast cancer

Jonesboro singer/songwriter remains humble with growing success 115

Dr. Reza Hakkak of UAMS shares thoughts on the possibility of prevention

Photos by Cheryl Moore, whose art is featured on page 24

Fall 2016|


Photo by Cheryl Moore



Harvest craft Etching pumpkins on the vine produces rich results


The perfect meal of the season Julia Case shares recipes for two of autumn’s most-loved comfort foods


Arkansongs: Chuck Berry


Along the blue roads Jane Gatewood expounds on the state highways of the Delta


The Garden Spot: It’s clean up time


Soup’s on: Four exquisite recipes to warm you this fall


Triology adventure awaits

Cover photo by Nancy Kemp


Online Access A complete flip book of Delta Crossroads is now available online at Use the QR code below to go to the website. Visit us on facebook: Delta Crossroads.


Pet Column: Testing for health

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12|Fall 2016

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Peebles Farm & Corn Maze


Checking out the sunflowers

he sunny, crisp days of autumn lead thousands of families each year to Peebles Farm and Corn Maze, where many of the season’s greatest joys can be found in one happy place. Pumpkins galore, bright sunflowers and billowing fields of cotton welcome visitors to this fall paradise, located just off Highway 64 between McCrory and Augusta, in Woodruff County. Owners Dallas and Katie Peebles have continually expanded the opportunities for fun since they cut their first corn maze and invited the public to visit in 2005. Extremely popular with visitors are the farm’s hayride, corn cannon (which challenges children to hit the center of a target with an ear of corn), horse and wagon rides through the pumpkin patch and sunflower fields, tire serpent, duck races, tire swings, unique slides made from large metal culverts, huge corn maze (and a haunted corn maze experience during October weekends), and, of course, the animals, which include six goats, an alpaca or two, a llama, miniature pigs, Henrietta the chicken, Krystal, a gentle Great Pyrenees, and lots of cats and kittens. There are small wagons available for parents to pull their little ones through the fields (and of course pick the perfect pumpkin), lots of cute cutouts for photos (all painted by Katie), a general store filled with all sorts of products and a concession stand with Peebles barbecue and lots more.

fall brings out the best of us

Welcome to the harvest 16|Fall 2016

Text by Nancy Kemp | Photos courtesy of Peebles Farm & Corn Maze unless noted

Photo by Leslie Collins

Lots of color and lots of fun at Peebles Farm

Fall 2016|


Giant prize-winning pumpkins are in a 60-acre patch

Happy people

The Corn Cannon offers a challenge

18|Fall 2016

Children love the Duck Races

Talk to Katie and you can tell the wheels are still turning in her mind. She admits the operation is a tremendous amount of work, but as she speaks of the new ideas she is putting into place, her delight is obvious. A metal gazebo she found is being transformed into a magical house made of pumpkins, and more Arkansas-made food products are being added to an already-impressive list of items available in the farm’s general store, where recently-acquired cable spools are finding new life as unique display tables. It’s hard to imagine that a Vermont girl can find such bliss in the fields of the Arkansas Delta – and the months of preparation in the hot humid weeks of summer – but Katie insists she doesn’t mind the heat and prefers living in the South. “I was actually born in Maine,” she said. “My dad was in the Navy and we moved a lot, living up and down the east coast and in Texas, Virginia and Florida.” Katie spent the summer with her grandparents in Vermont and graduated from high school there, but after two years in the Air Force, again living in Texas and Virginia, she knew she preferred the South to the cold of the North. After landing in Arkansas, she studied nursing and eventually met Dallas. They made their home on the Peebles family farm where Dallas grew up (and they still live today). For years he continued to grow row crops as his dad had.

a time of thanks

Earth connection

Fall 2016|


the Peebles were certified this year as organic growers.

It’is pumpkin time! 20|Fall 2016

“We bought this place in 1996 and starting growing watermelons and pumpkins, which we sold wholesale and shipped,” Katie said. She worked as a registered nurse at St. Bernards Regional Medical Center in Jonesboro until 2005, when she quit to dedicate all of her time to the farm. The couple’s 45 acres of beautiful large wholesale watermelons keep them busy all summer, with truck after truck rolling through to pick up loads that supply a large number of vendors. “The melons normally are ready by June 24, but after a cold and wet May, this year it was July 6,” Dallas said. The addition of several new vendors meant the fields were empty in mid-August this year, when the melon season previously stretched to Labor Day, but there will be no idle hours on the Peebles farm. The corn maze has grown to 20 acres and there are 60 acres of pumpkins (some u-pick), six acres of sunflowers and four acres of cotton. “We have 720 acres,” Katie said. “What we don’t farm with agritourism is now organic. We initially had to diversify from row crops due to low prices, but got out of row crops altogether three years ago.” After allowing much of their land to be dormant for three years, the Peebles were certified this year as organic growers. A son grows organic edamame and organic pumpkins for baby food on a portion of their land and, on another farm, raises organic sweet potatoes and green beans for a canning company. It is exhausting just to think about the work involved in all they do, but Katie, Dallas and crew are up to the task. Thankfully the couple’s five children and seven grandchildren live close by, otherwise they would rarely see them. The first 11 years the farm was in operation, Katie cut out the corn maze herself with a garden hoe, using a drawing on graph paper provided by their young Wisconsin designer. But after suffering a back problem in recent months, she decided that task would be too risky and hired a company to cut the path using GPS technology.

A Different K I N D O F BA N K visit

Fall 2016|


The 2016 corn maze The Haunted Corn Maze includes a bonfire and hot chocolate

The Peebles 2016 corn maze was cut by tractor using a GPS system. The design speaks to the Delta farm culture.

“I, for one, will not miss those eight days each year spent in the sweltering heat of July,” she laughed. “And another advantage is that the mower will have a mulcher on the back to create a mulch path for the maze.” The 2016 maze design theme “Farmers Feed the World” features a corn field, barn with silo, windmill, farm truck and, of course, pumpkins. The 2016 season opens Thursday, Sept. 22, and ends Monday, Oct. 31. Jam packed into those six weeks will be bus loads of school children and lots and lots of families.

22|Fall 2016

“The school children come during weekdays, so we encourage families to visit on weekends,” Katie said. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 noon to dusk on Sunday. A discount is available for groups of 25 or more, but organizers should call ahead. Wagon rides, provided by Romance Carriages of Rose Bud, in nearby White County, are available only on weekends. The haunted corn maze experience includes a bonfire and hot chocolate. The general store features a number of Peebles Farm products, including their popular honey, which sells out each year, along with jams, jellies, relishes, salsa, cheese straws, cookies, barbecue sauces and rubs, other sauces and marinades and dip, soup, dessert and drink mixes, all provided by Arkansas companies such as J&M Foods, Resident Chef, Food Commander, Harvest Fresh Farms and Batesville Herbs. Also available are cleverly-designed t-shirts and caps for both children and adults. In addition to the barbecue, the concession stand offers hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos. Peebles Farm provides security day and night on weekends and at various locations throughout the corn maze, Katie said, so there have been no incidents over the years – only fun.

34th Annual

Oct. 7-8

Trumann Sports Complex — Pecan Grove Rd

Oct. 8

Family Fu n-Carnival Entertainm ent Food midway


sponsored by St. Francis Lake Assn. and located at the Trumann Sports Complex, Pecan Grove Rd.

Com e on down and enjoy yourself! Fall 2016|



Cheryl Moore: Delta painter and photographer surrenders to the spiritual to find new confidence and great success

‘Exhuberance’ 24|Fall 2016

‘Delta Phoenix’ Text by Nancy Kemp | Photos courtesy of Cheryl Moore unless noted

‘Surrender to Mystery’


t was there all along, that artistic talent. Her grandmother saw it when she was a child, and she received affirmation from others along the way. But even though she was confident enough in her abilities to study art education in college and work almost three decades as a public school art teacher, Elaine artist Cheryl Moore says that, for years, fear held her back. “I encouraged my students to do their best, but never attempted to express myself through my own art,” she said. “Teaching was my art.” In 1998, two very different events caused her to stop and listen to her inner voice. After asking each of her students at Elaine Public Schools to design a youth division poster for Helena’s internationally-known King Biscuit Blues Festival, she decided to submit a design herself in the adult division – and, much to her surprise, she won. “The winning was awesome,” she said. “The experience of bringing something new into the world and people liking it left me wanting more.” But the elation changed to sorrow when her father died a few weeks later. “When you lose a parent, you realize your mortality,” she said. “I thought ‘it’s time – time to do something different.’” So began a spiritual journey.


Fall 2016|


A man sitting with his legs crossed inspired the first of 100 angels Moore drew, the beginnings of her “Women With Wings” project, which she hopes to publish someday.

With fresh affirmation of her talent and a new resolve to find herself, she decided to see if she had the skills and tools to find her art voice. She gave up the classroom for a time, working to “let go and let spirit,” to surrender, open her mind and heart, allow herself to create. Drawing and writing were her early outlets, and while she discovered her drawing skills were much stronger than her ability to express herself with words, she put long-told stories on paper and had fun creating illustrations. Some reflections emerged in the form of poetry, which came amazingly easy to her, and combined with her illustrations, became the inspiration for a book, “Why Do I Dream?” about her vision to live the life of an artist. She has yet to have the book published, but holds onto that dream as her body of art continues to grow. In those early years of new-found confidence and continued searching, Moore said she took along a sketchbook almost everywhere she went, drawing her surroundings. “One day I was at a country auction in Cord, Arkansas, and as the auctioneer worked, I drew the buyers.” A man sitting with his legs crossed was the inspiration for the first of 100 angels she drew. “That was the only male angel I drew,” she laughed. The others are distinctly feminine and became her “Women With Wings” project, which she also hopes to publish someday. “Just like the poem ‘Why Do I Dream,’ the angels seemed to come easy,” she said. “I think both the poems and the angels were telling me I could have the creative life I desired.” As her journey continued, Moore gathered a number of self-help books, and in her favorite, Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way, she found a quote she reproduced and hung outside her studio: “I will produce the quantity and God will produce the quality.”

26|Fall 2016

“I turned my music on and began painting acrylic abstracts,” she said. Filled with bright colors and lots of pattern, Moore says her abstracts are “like a meditation practice.” “I created abstracts because I didn’t know at first what I wanted to paint,” she said. She decided to feel the music, let go and try not to analyze what she was doing. “I began to put bright acrylic colors on a 2’x4’ canvas. I really enjoy painting large – the bigger the better.” Then she started painting people, flowers, landscapes and animals, often adding patterns to the backgrounds. Her unique style quickly emerged. While she was having fun, she soon realized she missed the classroom. She taught in the gifted and talented program for a year at the school she grew up in at Barton and took another free year before working five years at the Great Rivers Educational Coop. She happily ended up back in the classroom at Barton, teaching elementary art until she retired in 2014.

“When I was teaching in the classroom I tried to show my students that something that looked hard at first could be achieved when broken down in a simple way,” she said. “Art teaches how to problem solve, an we are living in a very creative age that requires those skills. I think people make a big mistake when they dismiss art education as unimportant and frivolous. I always believed I had an important job.” A broken femur left her sidelined for a while, but she has now recovered and her bright smile and her love for life have returned. Not one to be happy with one amazing talent, Moore was inspired by her friend Jane Woodie of Helena to develop skills in wildlife photography. “Jane started taking photos with a point-and-shoot camera,” Moore said. “We were on a backroad on our way to Little Rock when she asked me to stop so she could photograph a flower on the side of the road. That was right down my alley, so we stopped. We have been photographing wildlife together now for at least six or seven years.”

Fall 2016|


Both Woodie and Moore soon acquired highquality cameras with 300mm lenses. Since that time, Moore also has purchased a 600mm lens, which has allowed her to capture incredible images as she and her husband, David, frequently drive the levees of the Mississippi and White Rivers, both near their home. Though she admits she still struggles at times with fear, the joy she finds in her work, along with the praise and recognition she has received from others, keep pushing her forward. She was honored Aug. 11 as the 2016 winner of the King Biscuit Blues Festival poster contest with a brilliant design, “Blues Stars,” which beat out some tough competition. The big reveal marked the third time for this honor, which she also received in 2008. Moore’s art has been displayed at the Delta Cultural Center and several other locations in Helena, at the Grand Prairie Art Festival in Stuttgart, where she took first place in abstracts in 2010, and at the Hot Springs Fine Arts Center. Two of her abstracts hang in the new cancer wing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. She also has found a huge number of fans who enjoy the work she posts on her Facebook page, Cheryl Moore’s Artwork.

28|Fall 2016

Fall 2016|


Photo by Bill Branch

‘Blues Stars’ 2016 winner of the King Biscuit Blues Festival poster contest

“Looking at a blank canvas can sometimes be fearful, but when I start smearing paint that seems to go away,” she said. “My biggest fear is that I won’t have enough time in my life to create a worthy body of art. I want to create something my two children will have pride in. I don’t have to be famous – that’s not important. What is important is showing my children they can live the life they dream.” Moore grew up in Lexa, greatly influenced by her parents, Horace and Sylvia Griffin. “They were both hard-working and creative people,” she said. “I would call them do-it-yourselfers. Instead of going out and buying something, they would make it if they could. For years they did it to save money. They, along with my dad’s brothers and father, built the house I grew up in. I have seen my parents lay floors, paint walls, lay a roof, tear down walls and add more rooms to their home. Mother could upholster furniture, make draperies, create flower arrangements, decorate wedding cakes, sew our clothes (not daddy’s), paint pictures and decorate our home. She often made extra money from these skills which helped pay for my college education.

“My father could build things, but that wasn’t his strong interest. He was an outdoorsman. He and his brothers built a cabin at Indian Bay sometime in the 1960’s and our family spent many days there enjoying wildlife activities such as fishing and swimming. Daddy loved hunting, fishing, his horses, dogs and any activity that had to do with being around wildlife and the outdoors. My parents’ do-it-yourself attitude and love of being in nature have, I think, influenced by life and art.” She laughs that she is married to a person who is “not a big art person.” “I married a farmer and country boy, David Moore, in 1982,” she said. “He does support my artistic efforts and once posted on Facebook that he doesn’t love art but he does love an artist! He makes me laugh every day.” The couple’s son, Cody, and daughter, Sara, both grew up at the family home in Elaine and attended Barton High School. Cody received a degree in sociology in 2008 from Delta State University at Cleveland, Miss., and now works for Helena Chemical Company in Helena. Sara graduated in 2013 from the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a degree in social work. She teaches pre-school in a Head Start program at Gregory, near Corpus Christi, Texas. Looking back on the last few years of her life, Moore often reflects on the shifts which have brought her to where she is. “I believe the way we change the world is by changing ourselves,” she said. “I love the Gandhi quote, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ I want joy and happiness to be in my world, so that’s what I try to create and share.

“I believe the way we change the world is by changing ourselves” - Cheryl Moore

‘Southern Breeze’ 30|Fall 2016

Discover Blytheville


DOWNTOWN BLYTHEVILLE SHOPPING Downtown Blytheville offers a wide variety of quality merchants, including women’s clothing, men’s clothing, shoes, cosmetics, books, furniture, hardware, gifts, antiques, sporting goods, and candy, as well as places to eat, drink coffee & enjoy a beer

History & Culture


The Blytheville Bus Station was constructed in 1937 by the Greyhound Line. The bus station is the most photographed building in Arkansas and listed on National Register of Historic Places.


Located in the Historic Kress Building in the heart of the downtown historic district. The

Explore Blytheville HISTORIC BUS STATION B l y t h e v i l l e ’s V i s i t o r C e n t e r

The most photographed building in Arkansas Tuesday-Saturday | 9am-4pm

THE DELTA GATEWAY MUSEUM Explore the History and Culture of the Great North Delta

Tuesday-Friday | 1pm-5pm

Saturday | 10am-4pm

RITZ CIVIC CENTER & Art Gallery Featuring different local artists every month Monday - Friday | 9am-5pm

Saturday | Special Saturdays

THE MAIN STREET HISTORY WALK Walk through two National Historic Districts Tuesday-Friday | 10am

Saturday | Noon


A wide variety of quality merchants Women’s Clothing | Men’s Clothing | Shoes | Gifts Toys | Books | Furniture | Hardware | Antiques Sporting Goods | Groceries | Candy | and More Along with places to dine, drink coffee & enjoy a beer

Discover Blytheville There’s so much more

Located on Historic US Highway 61 The Great River Road National Scenic Byway One hour north of Memphis on Interstate 55

Downtown Blytheville Historic Districts

Listed on the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places Fall 2016|


Moore especially enjoys painting “plein air”

‘The River Inside’

‘Green Amusement’ 32|Fall 2016

“This art journey has been both exciting and sometimes disappointing, but never one which I regret. Each experience of creative exploring moves me forward and takes me in directions I never dreamed possible. Each day I find that I have grown spiritually, as well as artistically, through photography, writing, drawing and painting. My wildlife photography helps me see farther than just with my eyes. It enables my heart to see and understand nature like I have never seen it before. My writing and sketching help me hear and see my inner voice and visions clearer. My painting is a way of surrendering to the mystery of the universe. “My victories and failures have always taught me something about my authentic self,” she said. “The end product of all these imaginative outlets communicates how I am an Arkansas woman, how I perceive my Delta roots and my environment. The quiet beauty of the Mississippi River Delta can’t help but be a valuable part of my daily inward growth, which has brought into existence the artist I am today. Through my art and actions, I hope I can encourage others to find their creative path, wherever they are planted on this earth.”

Do not miss out on these exciting arts events. For more information to join the Clay County Arts Council, Inc. P.O. Box 3, Rector, AR 72461. Contact Tracy Cole, 901-496-5000

2017 Night of Chocolate/ Murder Mystery Theatre February 18

CCAC Visual Arts Show March 11


Celebration of the Arts June 3

Mid-South Fair Preliminary Talent Review June 24


2016 Clay County Fair Best of Show Awards September 17


Harvest Hoedown (Dinner/Entertainment) October 29

CCAC Members Open House December 10

Traveling Puppet Show: Alice In Wonderland April 25

Scholarship Awards Clay County Arts Council, Inc. is a nonprofit 501C3 status organization.

May Graduations


Worship Ministry: Sunday Morning Worship, 11:00 AM (Nursery care and Toddler ministry available) Sunday School, 10:00 AM (All Ages) Sunday Evening Worship, 5:30 PM Sunday Mission Teams, 5:30 PM

Wednesday Evening Bible Study, 7:00 PM Youth Meeting, 7:00 PM Patch Kids Club, 7:00 PM

Food Pantry:

Open to anyone with a need for canned and dry goods by appointment. Contact the church office and leave a message. 870-598-2595




34|Fall 2016

870-598-2595 End of North 4th Street | Piggott, AR Charles Richardson, lead pastor |

Fall crafter’s mark

Text and presentation by Julia Case

Scarring Pumpkins Simple details make the most impression


he process of scarring pumpkins is super simple. First, look for pumpkins or gourds that are almost ready. Don’t start with a really small pumpkin because as it grows, the lettering will grow a little with it.

Find a pumpkin that is almost full size, though it is totally okay if it is still green. Scarring time needs to be about 4 weeks, so early to late September is a great time to start this project in Arkansas. Only two tools are required – a pen or fine marker and a very tiny (1/4-inch) flat head screwdriver. That’s it!




Using the ballpoint pen or fine marker, draw out your design onto the best face of the pumpkin. Be sure to leave it on the vine. It is crucial that the pumpkin is still maturing. This Blue Hubbard squash has very tender skin, so the ball point pen makes more of an indentation. It is easier to write on harder shelled pumpkins.


Using the little screw driver, trace over the lines. Make sure you are taking off a layer of rind. The deeper you go, the more raised the scarring will be. An indentation of about 1/4 inch is preferred. This gets a little messy, and you will need to wipe the surface clean, clean pulp off the screwdriver and then continue on.

Make sure you have exposed the flesh of the gourd. Sometimes this means going over a line a few times to get a clean cut. If you want really heavy scarring, just etch a little deeper. Some folks can “eyeball” the drawing, but if you need a template, just print the lettering onto paper, place the paper on the pumpkin and press over the wording lines onto the pumpkin for a rough pattern. In about 4 weeks you will have a beautiful pumpkin or gourd to display for Fall! Fall 2016|


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715 East Ninth Street


36|Fall 2016

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Fall season’s recipes

(I use organic ingredients)

Chicken Pot Pie With Buttermilk Biscuit Crust *You can make your own buttermilk by combining 1 tsp. white vinegar with milk. Filling: 4 Tbsp. butter 1 onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup all purpose flour 2 cups chicken broth 2 cups milk Salt and pepper to taste 2 tsp. basil (dried) 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded 1 cup chopped carrots 1 cup frozen peas 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 1/2 cups cooked Russet potatoes, diced small or... frozen hash browns Buttermilk Topping: 2 cups flour 4 Tbsp. butter 2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. sugar 4 oz. cold cream cheese 1 cup buttermilk Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook onions and garlic until soft. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour to form a rue. It should be like a loose paste. Slowly whisk in broth and milk. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil while constantly stirring. Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened. This should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add basil. Fold in chicken, potatoes, carrots, celery and peas. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, make the biscuit topping! Mix together 2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and a good pinch of salt in a bowl. Cut in butter and cream cheese and use your fingers to mix until crumbly. It should look like coarse sand. Gently stir in buttermilk and mix to form dough... don’t overwork it! Roll dough into a circle that fits the Dutch oven. Cut into triangles like you are slicing a pie. Place dough on top of hot pie filling. Put top on and bake for about 20 minutes, until biscuits are golden and filling is nice and bubbly. Serves 8.

Recipes and presentation by Julia Case Fall 2016|


(I use organic ingredients)

Nutmeg Apple Pie 2 pastry crusts Filling: 2/3 cup white flour 1 cup white sugar 1/8 tsp. salt 1 tsp. cornstarch 2 tsp. cinnamon 2 tsp. nutmeg 6 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced thin 4 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes Pie Crust: (Original from Martha Stewart) 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 Tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1 1/2 sticks butter, but into small pieces, plus more for pan 1 large egg, lightly beaten 2 Tbsp. water 1 tsp. vanilla

Oh I love thee! This apple dessert perfectly combines the sweetness of apples with decadent laces of nutmeg. Yum. Stir together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub it in with your fingers until small bits remain. I use my food processor... it works great! Stir in egg, water and vanilla until you can form a ball with the dough. Form 2/3 of the ball into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate until firm... about an hour. Do the same with the remaining 1/3 and refrigerate for one hour also. To Assemble Pie... Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together, add apples. Turn with a wooden spoon until apples are covered. Grease a 9-inch pie plate and line bottom with one pie crust. Pour filling in and evenly distribute butter in filling. Top with remaining pie crust and either flute the edges or use a fork to make a pretty design. Optional: top with a little sanding sugar. Cover edges with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

*This is a large and generous pie! Place a cookie sheet below in oven for a possible drip or two of juicy filling. 40|Fall 2016


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The Tale of Pasquale and His Delta Hot Tamale – a Living Blues Legacy

Photo by Drew Smith


Yet only the Delta hot tamale has its very own marker among the panf the Delta Blues were a food, it would be a Delta hot tamale. You thought it theon of Blues legends lining the Delta Blues Highway. It is the humble hot tamale that has its own trail of some 20 stops along the backroads of was barbecue, didn’t you? Mississippi. And it is the Delta hot tamale that was the subject of so many famous Blues songs.

Text by Kevin Smith | Photos courtesy of Pasquale’s Tamales unless noted

Fall 2016|


Photo by Drew Smith

Photo by Drew Smith

Joe St. Columbia and his tamale trailer

44|Fall 2016

The Arkansas Delta Tamale There are many good tamales from Little Rock to Lake Village, but there is one Arkansas Delta tamale referenced on that same Delta Blues Highway Marker #138 in Rosedale, Mississippi. There is only one Arkansas tamale that, for over ten years, has the distinction of a star listed on the official Delta Hot Tamale Trail. All the other places are in Mississippi – except this one. That place is Pasquale’s Tamales, owned and operated by the St. Columbia family of Helena, Arkansas, and offering a tamale with the same secret family recipe of sauces going back a century. The story of this special tamale is a Delta ballad of hard times and immigrant dreams, of voyages and determination, of loss and reunion, of cultural cross-pollination in the cotton fields. It is a tale of friendship, family, and faith, and of Pasquale and his Delta hot tamale.

Sicilian Immigrants “In 1892, due to hard economic times in Cefalu, Sicily, my grandfather, Peter, made the hard decision to leave his wife and newborn son – my future father, whose full name was Filippo Pasquale Santa Columbia – in the care of his parents as he boarded a ship for New Orleans, in search of the American dream and to better support his young family,” said Joe St. Columbia, Sr., sitting down for an interview among a dozen magazine and newspaper clippings compiled over the years. Amy Evans, the researcher who headed the original project for the Southern Foodways Alliance and led the effort behind the Blues Trail marker, says the Pasquale Tamale is rare because the family can “trace their connection to the Delta hot tamale tradition back into the late 19th century – the farthest-reaching tamale story I’ve documented. “Their story also speaks to the Sicilian influence on Delta tamales, which I don’t think a lot of people know or consider,” she said. “I always reference them when talking about Delta tamales.” Peter got off the steamboat at Helena and decided to stay due to the strong immigrant community and because it had a local Catholic church. By 1897, he saved enough to send for his wife and five-year old son, whose first memory of his dad was the day he got off the train at the Helena depot. Peter St. Columbia was by then a thriving local merchant, and in the following years, he and his son Pasquale – later nicknamed “Sam” – would build a thriving family enterprise that included a taxi business, a grocery and the selling of wares as they traveled the countryside.

peter st. columbia and sam, circa 1897


sam st. columbia, circa 1920

Fall 2016|


Cultural Cross Pollination in a Cotton Field At least since the 1890s, and especially after each of the world wars, Mexican migrant workers began to work the Delta’s cotton fields to replace the many African Americans migrating North. The Mexicans packed a favorite peasant food, known as a tamale, because they were portable and easy to eat in the fields. “My father could speak a Sicilian dialect that was very close to Spanish,” said St. Columbia. “One day, when taking food to the Mexicans in the fields, they asked my father and grandfather if they would bring tamales if they taught them how they were made. In exchange, my father and grandfather taught the Mexicans how to make an authentic spaghetti sauce. So they formed a good friendship and learned the art of making the tamale… it was an international exchange of cultures.”

The Special Recipe What makes the Pasquale Tamale different from the traditional Mexican tamale? “My people, being Italian, didn’t like using chicken, goat, bull or the meats the Mexicans used,” said St. Columbia. “My people liked veal and the better cuts of beef, and being from Sicily were excellent cooks and had a keen understanding of how to blend together a batch of different spices so

“G e t Y o u r D e lta H o t Ta m a l e s H e r e ” & M o r e T o d ay Joe St. Columbia, Jr. has joined the family tradition and is the keeper of the secret recipe. You can get your Pasquale’s Tamales by stopping at their food truck every Friday and Saturday on US HWY 49 in West Helena, Arkansas. They are also sold at J.W. Hall’s Marketplace Grocer in Helena and selected restaurants in the Memphis area. For more information, call them at 870-338-3991. To learn more about the tamale, see our links below.

Pasquale’s Tamales: J.W. Halls Marketplace: Delta Tamale Trail: Amy Evans: KBBF “The Biscuit”: Southern Foodways Alliance:

that one didn’t overpower the other and would be presented on the palate as one taste.” So they began to experiment until they had more of an Italian version with a perfect blend of spices for the sauce and meats. They soaked the tamales inside the corn husks for hours in the special sauce and cooked them there instead of the more customary steaming process.

“The recipe we have today is the exact same recipe that my father and grandfather put together all those years ago.” - Joe St. Columbia

The same process still is used, and the St. Columbias continue to use the traditional corn “shuck” to encase the tamale the way they were taught by the Mexicans, instead of paper cylinders or aluminum foil common today. In short, the Pasquale Tamale is a higher quality Sicilian-influenced version of a tamale – more rich, moist and succulent. “The recipe we have today is the exact same recipe that my father and grandfather put together all those years ago,” St. Columbia added. “It is all natural, with no preservatives or additives. Someone once made the remark that we have the oldest tamale recipe in the state.”

Fall 2016|


This Rosedale, Miss., marker tells the connection between Delta tamales and the Blues

The Elm Street Tamale Shop & Tamale Cart

The President & the Comeback Tamale

By the 1930s, St. Columbia’s grandparents had passed away, leaving the successful family enterprises to their son Pasquale, or “Sam”. “Maggie and Eugene Brown, a young black couple, came to my father without any money but wanting to start a little soul food cafe in our Elm Street Building,” St. Columbia said. “Being an astute businessman, he agreed on condition they form a partnership and sell the family’s famous tamales. So they named it The Elm Street Tamale Shop and it became very successful during the Depression and long after World War II. “It was a very popular food, especially during hard times, because it was inexpensive and was a comfort food. My father helped them build the push cart stand and the salesmen would stroll it up and down the streets singing ‘Two for a nickel, three for a dime, would give you more but they just ain’t mine.’”

Pasquale, or Sam, passed away in 1959. Eventually, The Elm Street Tamale Shop would also close after the Browns died. The recipe stayed in family hands but would go dormant. In the 1980s, after selling the family beer distributorship, St. Columbia’s wife, Joyce, and Mamie Davis, who as a girl worked at the Elm Street shop, began a restaurant and named it in honor of Pasquale. Using the very same recipe, Pasquale’s Tamales made a comeback. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton, the original “Comeback Kid,” visited Helena during a tour of the Delta. He held a private briefing in the local train depot that, as governor, he had done much to save and convert into the Delta Cultural Center.

President Bill Clinton with Mamie Davis and the St. Columbia family.

48|Fall 2016

At the private lunch afterwards, being a fan of the Delta hot tamale, President Clinton requested and was served a plate of Pasquale’s Tamales by the family and Mamie. “In 1999, a hundred years after my father reunited with his father, getting off the train in Helena and speaking no English, we were asked to serve our tamales – created by my father and later named in his honor – to the President of the United States. This happened at the train depot where my father would sit awaiting passengers for his taxi service – one of his first businesses,” St. Columbia added proudly. “He would have been so proud. For him and my grandfather the American dream had been fulfilled.”


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Fall 2016|


Delta Blues, “The Biscuit” & Tamales Family members and health professionals alike can learn the skills needed to care for relatives and other individuals with dementia through free workshops offered by UAMS Schmieding Home Caregiver Training program.

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Creating a Compassionate Atmosphere When caring for a person with dementia, it is helpful to know ways to create a safe, compassionate environment for them. “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel,” a quote by Author Maya Angelou, is never more true than in this situation. Helpful tips:  Keep it calm, simple and well-lit – quiet places away from distractions ease

anxiety and confusion. Use music to soothe and relax. Add their favorite photos, books or plants to their room.  Give them meaningful things to do – safe and easy “work” helps restore a

person’s sense of self-worth and purpose. Keep activities simple and enjoyable. Use their former career or hobbies to get ideas for activities.  Communicate on their terms – Good communication, with patience and

understanding, is key to enjoying each day. Speak loudly, but do not shout or yell. Hold hands or hug to show caring. UAMS Schmieding Home Caregiver Training in Jonesboro along with the Center on Aging – Northeast offers a wide-array of programs for family members, home care workers, health professionals, first responders and community groups. These programs are designed to assist the participant in understanding the types of dementia, behaviors, and ways to help the person maintain respect, dignity and quality of life. Other UAMS locations around the state offer these programs as well.

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50|Fall 2016

Evans, the Southern Foodways Alliance tamale researcher, says the Delta hot tamale and the Blues make sense together and the tamale deserves its own marker on the Delta Blues Trail. “I worked hard to make that happen, as the two are inextricably linked,” she added. Indeed, many Delta Blues legends frequently sang about the humble tamale. There was 1925’s “Hot Tamale Molly,” by Lucille Hegamin, and 1928’s recording of “Molly Man,” by Moses “Old Man Mose” Mason. In 1936, Mr. Robert Johnson himself recorded “They’re Red Hot,” alluding to a woman and the frequent yelp of the hot tamale salesman pitching his tamales from a cart. Today, there is one place in the Arkansas Delta where you might just hear a few of these tunes. Every autumn, tens of thousands from all over the world will leave their predictable lives of cubicles and cul de sacs, strip malls and virtual reality, and go in search of authenticity. Following the “V” shaped geese formations flying overhead like directional arrows on their GPS, they will cross the white cotton fields of the Arkansas Delta and to one particular place in it, the King Biscuit Blues Festival – or simply “the Biscuit” – in downtown Helena. Considered for over 31 years to be one of the top Blues festivals in the world, they most definitely will come. If you are a true Delta Blues purist, you will meander down Cherry Street, engulfed in smells of barbecue in the crisp October air, through thick crowds, past street artists and vendors and towards the levee. You will eventually take your seat on the levee, with Charlie Musselwhite howling from the Main Stage at the engorged harvest moon rising slowly over the Mississippi behind you, and the setting sun ablaze in orange to your front overlooking the old town. But before you do, you will make your first stop. You will join a long line in front of a white food truck with a tri-color flag and a logo synonymous with the most authentic Delta hot tamale for a century: “Pasquale’s Tamales… so good you’ll suck the shucks!” And you will be happy to wait, because it is here that you will find the pure, authentic Delta tamale – a Delta Blues ballad for the palate. Kevin Smith is a freelance writer from Helena, Arkansas, who writes when the spirit moves him.

The kids are back in school and temperatures are slowly falling. It’s harvest time in Northeast Arkansas. At First Commercial Bank, we know how exciting this time of year is for all of us. So many rich traditions take off with harvest, be it rice or cotton or even a hay field. We’ll soon be watching our children play high school football and getting ready for trick-or-treaters. Before you know it the family will be coming home for Thanksgiving and it will be time to buy our Christmas presents. Along the way, our lives are enriched through these traditions and a sense of community grows that we enjoy with our customers. Our five locations are run by folks who call you by name and know your family. We like to think of ourselves as “an old fashioned bank,” but are proud to offer modern conveniences. If you’re looking for a more personal banking experience, stop in today and let us talk to you about your needs.

Brinkley • Blytheville • Jonesboro • Manila • Osceola

Fall musician’s notes

‘It’s another song of Arkansas’:

Chuck Berry Riff By Stephen Koch


he signature Chuck Berry guitar intro is simply put, five seconds that exemplify the creation of the genre of rock n roll. Deeply familiar, yet still full of the promise of excitement, the musical figure is so associated with Berry, it’s known as the Chuck Berry riff. But as credited by Chuck Berry himself, the riff’s origins actually lie with Brinkley, Arkansas, native Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five – especially the band’s electric guitarist Carl Hogan and their 1946 number one song, “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman.”


“Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” - Louis Jordan, Chuck Berry “Roll Over Beethoven” -Chuck Berry, The Beatles “Johnny B. Goode” - Chuck Berry, Peter Tosh “Carol” - Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones “Surfin’ USA” - The Beach Boys Arkansawyer Stephen Koch is a musician and author of Louis Jordan: Son of Arkansas, Father of R&B (History Press). Koch’s weekly “Arkansongs” radio program is syndicated on National Public Radio affiliates across the state. Visit the “Arkansongs” Facebook page for show details

chuck berry

Berry described the first time he heard the riff that would be named after him “was in one of Carl Hogan’s riffs in Louis Jordan’s band.” While Chuck Berry described rhythm and blues pioneer Louis Jordan as an “idol,” it was the guitarist in Jordan’s band, Hogan, who seemed to really capture Berry’s imagination. Carl Hogan was born in 1918 and reportedly lived in Conway in Faulkner County for a period. But like Berry, Hogan is associated with St. Louis, Missouri. Hogan was the first electric guitarist in Jordan’s Tympany Five, long before the instrument became ubiquitous in popular American music. Hogan played with the band for five innovative years beginning in the mid-1940s. Once Berry made the riff his own, he ran with it. The guitar figure can be heard with variations or in different keys in many of his songs, beginning with his first recordings in 1955. “He had something like this in the

Carl hogan

center of a solo – and I opened my songs with it,” Berry explained. “‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ after it hit; later on, ‘Johnny B. Goode’ hit, ‘Carol’ hit, with the same solo. A little difference in the figure, but the same principles.” The instantly recognizable riff has become ubiquitous in pop culture. After Chuck Berry laid claim to it in so many of his classic songs, many artists have gone on to record them. The Beatles have recorded five Berry songs; the Rolling Stones more than a dozen.

Fall 2016|


louis jordan

The Beach Boys liked the guitar bit enough to use it for some of their own tales of teen adventures. In fact, Berry successfully sued the Beach Boys over authorship of the band’s 1963 song, “Surfin’ USA.” Recorded in 1958, Berry’s semiautobiographical number 2 hit “Johnny B. Goode” is probably the best-known of all the Berry songs featuring this famous guitar intro. It’s also the song that adheres most closely to its 1946 “Ain’t that Just Like A Woman” antecedent. “Johnny B. Goode” has long been recognized as one of rock music’s top handful of true anthems. The song is a Grammy Hall of Fame song, and was named the number one greatest guitar song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Recorded by literally hundreds and hundreds of popular artists, a delightfully diverse group of performers have had later chart hits with the song after Berry,

54|Fall 2016

including Judas Priest, Buck Owens, Jimi Hendrix and Peter Tosh. Berry’s original version of “Johnny B. Goode” was even one of four songs included on the Voyager space probes, launched during the Carter administration, bringing this incredible guitar riff to interstellar space. Indeed, Chuck Berry and so many others following him did a lot more with the “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” guitar figure than Louie Jordan. Still, Jordan’s number one 1946 hit song has been covered by Gatemouth Brown, B.B. King and Fats Domino – and Arkansas artists such as Ronnie Hawkins of Huntsville. And finally, in 1965 – some twenty years after “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” revealed the Chuck Berry riff to Berry – the song with the riff was recorded by the man with the riff, Chuck Berry himself, bringing “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman’s” story full circle.

chuck berry

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Fall traveler’s path

the simple life Text by Jane Gatewood

It depends on the purpose of your journey – which road you choose, that is. Old-timey road maps are color-coded to assist in navigation and decision-making. William Least Heat-Moon, born William Trogdon, chose the Blue Highways and it made all the difference in his life. He journeyed along the back roads of America to rediscover his own grass roots. The choice could be the same for Arkansas travelers, especially if the drive follows the Delta Byways. Being in a rush will not open any reflective doors. “Hurry up; we’re running late,” does not translate into enjoyment or rediscovery. Paper road maps, those soon to be extinct versions of a GPS navigation system, were designed to open the world to travelers. Choosing

As fall approaches and cooler days

such a relic would be the best tool

suggest refreshment after sweltering,

for safe travels should the blue highway route

suffocating summer,

be preferred:

consider a meandering trip

state highways are blue;

along the highlands of the Delta:

U.S. highways are red; interstate highways

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway.

are double-lined and often green.

The parkway, which begins at Piggott,

It’s travel by the blue highways

has morphed into a picturesque national and

that reveals the true meaning of Southern hospitality.

state scenic byway.

Take the time and make the trip.

While the parkway ends at Helena,

Trace the Delta’s blue roads. Talk to the locals and sample

the ultimate destination would be Lake Chicot,

town square fare.

the oxbow lake, and Lakeport Plantation near the town of Lake Village. Plan to lolly-gag and piddle around this fall. A quest for peace may well be found in east Arkansas’s Delta with a road map and a picnic lunch.

Fall 2016|


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237 hwy 463 n Trumann Ar 72472 — 870-418-0143|Fall 2016

Rex Nelson: An esteemed Arkansas journalist explores the history and unique culture of the Delta


ex Nelson has shared stories and documented the history of the Arkansas Delta through his popular columns in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and his blog Southern Fried. His love of the Delta comes through clearly as he continues visiting its fascinating locations and meeting its unique people. He exhibits a depth of understanding of our region refined through extensive experience in journalism, politics, sports, business and community development. Rex’s knowledge of the Delta and his insightful manner of communicating comes through as we posed a variety of questions we felt would be interesting to our readers.

My own relationship with Rex goes back many years through family connections. Our mothers were roommates at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and our fathers played football and basketball at OBU, both earning membership in the college’s Sports Hall of Fame. Rex also graduated from Ouachita and began a career that has involved many disciplines. Of particular interest in the context of this article was his service with the Delta Regional Authority, which focuses on economic development in an eight-state region out of its headquarters in Clarksdale, Miss. A broader review of his career can be found at the conclusion of our question-and-answer exchange.

rex nelson

Delta reflections

RK: You grew up in South Arkansas, but obviously have developed a strong affinity for and appreciation of the Arkansas Delta over the years. No doubt some of that springs from your experience with the Delta Regional Authority, but what other factors have contributed to your obvious interest in this region of the state? My mother was from east Arkansas. I would spend part of each summer and holidays in Des Arc with my grandparents. I became fascinated with the unique culture of the lower White River. There’s so much history in the Delta, and I’m a history buff. So the region has always intrigued me, and it still does. Some of my best days are the days I spend driving the backroads of the Arkansas Delta.

Text by Ron Kemp | Photos provided courtesy

Fall 2016|


RK: You have written numerous articles about the fascinating history of the Arkansas Delta. In your view, what are some of the critical events or trends that have made the region what it is today, even going back to very early history? East Arkansas was largely a swamp until the years after the Civil War. One of the great stories in American history is how enterprising men and women came into the Arkansas Delta, harvested the timber, drained the swamps, built levees to keep the floods out and turned what used to be a bottomland hardwood forest into one of the world’s great row-crop agricultural areas. These were men like R.E.L. Wilson. They were colorful characters, larger than life. With the mechanization of agriculture, however, tens of thousands of sharecroppers and tenant farmers were left with no work in the years following World War II. Arkansas lost a higher percentage of its population between 1940 and 1960 than any other state. That in itself is quite a story. We’ve spent the 55 years or so since then trying to recover from the outmigration.

One of the things our small Delta communities are going to have to get past is this idea that only “bigger is better.” That’s the old 1950s and 1960s style of economic development when all of our time was spent chasing manufacturing plants.

RK: The sheer will and human endurance it took to convert the vast swamplands of the Delta to the modern agricultural landscape of today are a source of amazement. What would you say about that process based upon your historical reading and understanding of what was involved? One of the greatest engineering feats in world history is the effort to contain the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Most of that work has occurred since the Great Flood of 1927. Things such as the Marked Tree Siphons are marvels of modern engineering. When I worked for the DRA, I carried a copy of John Barry’s “Rising Tide” with me at all times so I could quote from it in my speeches. You can’t really understand the Delta if you don’t understand the political and economic consequences of the Great Flood of 1927 and the steps taken after the flood to prevent anything like that from happening again. The water was as high or higher in many places in 2011 than it had been in 1927. Yet no acres were flooded that weren’t supposed to flood. In that sense, man’s efforts since 1927 proved fruitful. RK: There are cultural and historical factors unique to every place. How do you think the Arkansas Delta remains different from other parts of the state, particularly in the nature of its people. The Delta is a world unto itself. Some of the best food and the best music in the country has come from this region. The Arkansas Delta is larger geographically than the Mississippi Delta but has never received the kind of national attention that those counties east of the Mississippi River receive. One of the goals of my writing through the years has been to put the Arkansas Delta on the map. The friendliest people I’ve ever met – and the best storytellers – are residents of the Arkansas Delta. I was spending the night at a 1921 home in Holly Grove recently that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. I was with two leading Delta citizens, Judge Raymond Abramson and Ritter Arnold. We were eating barbecued ribs and talking Delta history. I remember thinking to myself: “It just doesn’t get much better than this.”

60|Fall 2016

the great mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed america

“You can’t really understand the Delta if you don’t understand the political and economic consequences of the Great Flood of 1927...” - Rex Nelson

RK: What will it take to make the smaller communities of the Delta region more prosperous and viable? One of the things our small Delta communities are going to have to get past is this idea that only “bigger is better.” That’s the old 1950s and 1960s style of economic development when all of our time was spent chasing manufacturing plants. Well, landing a manufacturing plant is becoming more rare in the informationbased economy of the 21st century. What we need to get into our heads is that “bigger is not necessarily better, better is better.” You can make your schools better without them being bigger. You can clean up the roads leading into town without becoming bigger. You can focus on your downtown without becoming bigger. We must get out of this old industrial development mindset and start thinking about a more holistic approach to community development.

Parkin Archeological State Park

RK: What do you think people’s misperceptions are about the Arkansas Delta and what can we do to increase knowledge about the many positives of this area? Due to the population losses brought on by the mechanization of agriculture, a lot of people in other parts of the state view the Delta as an area in perpetual decline. What they don’t realize is that the land is worth more than it has ever been worth, and agriculture is as important to the Arkansas economy as it has ever been. The reason for population losses is efficiency. In other words, our Arkansas Delta farmers are the best in the world at what they do. I’m an optimist and here’s why: We have a rapidly growing world population. In places like China, more and more people are moving into the middle class. That means they can afford to buy meat and other products they could never afford in the past. And those animals will have to be fed, often with the soybeans and corn we grow. So in the decades ahead, Delta agricultural products are going to be in more demand than ever before. The glass is half full, believe me. The world population trends are on our side.

Cash home at Dyess

Lakeport Plantation

RK: What are some of your favorite places to visit in the Arkansas Delta, from an historical or cultural perspective? From a historical perspective, my favorite place in the Delta is the Louisiana Purchase State Park near Marvell. The surveys of the Louisiana Purchase can all be traced back to here. Yet this nationally significant spot is hidden in an east Arkansas swamp that few Arkansans have ever visited. I love what Arkansas State University has done with the Cash home at Dyess, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum at Piggott, the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at Tyronza and the Lakeport Plantation at Lake Village. Ruth Hawkins of ASU has done wonderful work on these projects. Then there’s the Parkin Archeological State Park, where they think they might have found de Soto’s cross. That’s another special place that not enough people visit.

Louisiana Purchase State Park

Fall 2016|




eh R l a t To


en i r e p Ex

Uncle John’s and its special bread pudding

ical Phys



ech • Spe

py Thera


• Oc

33904 Highway 63 Marked Tree, AR 72365


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62|Fall 2016



al T ation

RK: Are there some little-known destination jewels you would recommend to our readers? There’s the country store at Dalton in Randolph County, where I can get types of meat, bread and cheese that I can’t even find in Little Rock. There are the barbecue pits behind Jones Bar-B-Que in Marianna, which are like something out of a PBS documentary. There’s a reason that place won a James Beard American Classics Award. There’s the chance to watch them harvest freshwater caviar from paddlefish at George’s Fish Market at Marvell. And, of course, I’ve declared Blytheville the barbecue capital of Arkansas. There are at least six good places there to buy barbecue. I also love the many things going on at Wilson right now. Wilson is a jewel of the Delta that’s getting better by the day. Text continues on page 117

Superintendent Office

Riverside JR/ SR High School 2007 Hwy 18 — Lake City Ph: (870) 237-4328

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Riverside West Elementary

Riverside East Elementary 502 West State St. — Caraway Ph: (870) 482-3351

2001 Hwy 18 — Lake City Ph: (870) 237-8222


Article by State Point

Top 3 Reasons Not to Waste Food

Environmental Concerns The majority of wasted food ends up in landfills and then breaks down to produce methane and carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. Food in landfills contributes to nearly one-quarter of all methane emissions in the United States. Composting food and diverting it from entering landfills helps prevent the creation of global greenhouse gas emissions and protects the environment.

Economic Concerns Wasted food is not only detrimental to the environment but also costs consumers, businesses and taxpayers substantial amounts of money. An American family of four throws out an average $1,484 worth of edible food a year, while nationally, the costs associated with food waste exceeds $1 billion annually in local tax funds.

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Pixavril |


ore than one-third of all food produced in the United States goes uneaten, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This waste contributes to problems ranging from hunger and malnutrition to environmental and economic concerns. “From the farm, through the production and distribution process, to the grocery store, to the home – wherever there is food, there is unfortunately food waste,” says Lauri Wright, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson. “In a world of limited resources and growing populations, wasting food is a luxury we can’t afford.” Reducing, reusing, and recycling wasted food can assist with feeding the estimated 49 million Americans who are food-insecure, reduce agricultural pressures on the environment and increase business efficiencies for those producing and selling food.

Social Concerns While millions of Americans worry how they will feed their children, the amount of safe edible food wasted in the United States continues to soar. If Americans wasted just 15 percent less food, it would be enough to feed 25 million people. Instead of throwing away untouched food, support the food-insecure by donating it to food banks.

Reduce Food Waste at Home Consumers are responsible for the majority of food waste in the United States and can play a major role in its reduction. “Reduce food waste by being a smarter shopper. Only buy the amount of perishable foods that you will be able to eat in a week,” Wright says. “If you do have leftovers, and they are still safe to eat, donate them. If they are not safe to eat, compost them. While not all wasted food is edible, much of it can be recovered and repurposed.” Registered dietitian nutritionists are uniquely qualified to help reduce food loss and waste by educating individuals, families, communities, business and industry. For more information on reducing food waste, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation’s Future of Food initiative and the Foundation’s “2016 State of America’s Wasted Food Report.” Food waste is a global problem with solutions at the local and even individual level. Get the entire family involved in taking steps to reduce waste in your home.

General Baptist Nursing Home of Piggott Rehab to Home Program:

The place to be before you go home Our facility has experienced therapists that offer Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy. Our therapists can use modalities such as Paraffin bath, TENS, NMES/FES that they can use based on a patients diagnosis. Speech therapist is certified in Vital Stim. Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy work together on a daily basis to restrain for activities of daily living with appropriate use of adaptive equipment, strengthening, balance, endurance, and functional mobility. Whether a patient is here for rehab to home or staying long term, each patients plan of care is individualized based on their needs and improving them to reach their highest level of functioning.

Sean Lebo, Physical Therapist Assistant and Michelle Currie, Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant

450 South 9th Avenue Piggott, Arkansas

870 598-2291

Jessica McKenney, Director of Rehab, Physical Therapist Assistant and Courtney Carrens-Landrum, Speech Language Pathologist

William Straw, Administrator


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Fall Grower’s corner

the garden spot

Fall Clean-up and Gardening Tips


t’s the end of September! You have been working in your garden since late last Winter, throughout Spring and Summer, and it’s time to sleep late, go fishing, work on your hobbies, or many other fun things. Not so fast! Almost all of us get tired of the gardening chore by Fall, but quitting may not be the best option. Or your garden may look like my garden! (...) the grass and weeds have overgrown my vegetables! While you could stop all of the work in your garden, you will likely discover a little work in the cool Fall weather will pay huge dividends when you get ready to begin gardening next year. The topics I will discuss in this article are not inclusive, but they do cover a number of topics that will give you a head-start next year.

The first question is when do you start cleaning up your garden and getting it ready for the winter months? If you search the Internet for an answer, you will likely find most articles recommend you start cleaning up your garden after the first frost. However, here in Northeast Arkansas, I recommend beginning your clean-up as soon as your vegetables come to the end of their production time. This allows you to do your clean-up on a piecemeal basis and makes the whole process appear to be less burdensome. I like to begin my clean-up by removing all of the support-type materials from my garden. For example, remove, clean, and store tomato cages and stakes, poles from your climbing beans, the fence used for climbing vegetables, and all other non-plant objects.

Column and photos by Ralph Seay

Next, I remove the plants, weeds, and any other plant debris that has accumulated during the growing season. If your plants are diseased or infested by insects, it is recommended that you burn them or bag then for trash pick-up. If your plants were healthy, you can always compost them to add nutrients back into you soil or you can do like I do. I “recycle” all of my plants by feeding them to my neighbor’s goats! Fall 2016|


His goats will eat any plant material including weeds and grass. I use well-composted sheep manure as fertilizer on my garden next year, so it really is recycling! After you have cleaned up and removed all of the plant material, till your garden plot to a depth of about six inches. While tilling will make your garden look much better for the winter months, this tilling will serve two more beneficial purposes. Some insects will be brought to the surface and killed, while some soil-borne diseases and fungal root rot may be suffocated. Once your soil is exposed by tilling, add a three to four inch layer of organic matter, such as well-composted manure, straw, or shredded leaves. Some people like to lightly till the organic matter into the soil to provide a nice medium for planting their vegetables next year. This is

68|Fall 2016

also the time you could add lime to your garden if it is needed. Now that your garden has been “put to bed for the winter,” you will have time to think about the lessons you have learned from the previous years’ gardening experience. Which vegetables did your family like best? Which vegetables were more labor intensive during the growing season? Which vegetables just did not grow well in my garden? For example, my neighbors all have more squash than they can use; however, my squash plants always die before they produce one squash! I won’t even waste my time and limited space planting squash in my garden anymore. Questions like these will help you decide how to make your gardening experience more enjoyable. You won’t waste your time and resources on vegetables that either take too much effort or are not

good producers in your garden. This is a good time to take a soil sample to determine your soil’s fertility and pH level. The results will tell you the proper amount of lime you need to add this fall to balance your pH. Plus, you will also learn what fertilizer you will need to add next spring to produce the vegetables you plan to plant next year. If you don’t know how to sample your soil, see my article in the Delta Crossroads, Spring 2015, “Time to Sample Your Soil.”

Happy Gardening!


If you have any questions about gardening or suggestions for potential Delta Crossroads gardening articles, please send them to Ralph Seay via email: Or send them by regular mail to: 513 Magnolia Road Jonesboro, AR 72401


Caring for Women’s Health


About Anthony Daniels, M.D. Dr. Daniels is a graduate from University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He completed his internship in family and community medicine and completed his residency in OB/ GYN all at University of Mississippi Medical Center program. He is board certificated by the American board of obstetrics and gynecology.


Contact Information

It is recommended you see us by appointment. If you have an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

1100 Medical Drive Blytheville, Arkansas 72315 (870) 838-7277

Practice Hours Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ; Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Quality care from an experienced physician

Bright Harvest

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo by Julia Case

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo byArkansas Parks and Tourism

70|Fall 2016

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo by Bret Palmer

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo by Nancy Kemp

Photo by Julia Case Fall 2016|


Eastern Arkansas

Community Calendar September 17-October 31 24th Annual Pumpkin Hollow Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, near St. Francis; also includes Friendly Forest, first annual Zombie Zipline and (starting Sept. 30) Forest of Fright, Bubba’s Butcher Barn, Zombie Paintball Patrol and Frightmare Farmhouse. September 22-October 31 12th Annual Peebles Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, near Augusta; a haunted corn maze experience includes a bonfire and hot chocolate September 24 Annual Delta Cotton Pickin’ Jubilee, all day at Cypress Park in Marked Tree; activities for the entire family including food, games, music, BBQ contest, school reunion and Marked Tree Rotary Club’s Peggy Bankston Walk for Breast Cancer. 17th Annual Lost Cane, Whistleville, Little River and Roseland Community Reunion, starting at 9 a.m., Manila Airport Community Center; a potluck luncheon will be served; for more information contact Boyd Estes at (870) 966-4012. September 24-October 2 Annual Ding Dong Days, historic downtown Dumas.

September 26 Annual Native American Day, 12 noon to 3 p.m., Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center, Piggott; features demonstrations of Native American regalia, crafts, dancers and flint knapping, games, pinchpot crafts, free hot dogs and beverages; take your lawn chairs. Bluegrass Monday concert featuring “The Farm Hands,” 7 p.m., Collins Theatre in downtown Paragould. October 1 86th Annual Terrapin Derby, all day in downtown Lepanto; food, music, arts and crafts, turtle race, street dance, family reunions, parade and Terrapin Queen crowning. October 5-8 31st Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival, featuring Sonny Landreth with special guest Roy Rogers, John Mayall, Charlie Musselwhite and many, many others filling four days of the world’s best blues music, Cherry Street Pavilion on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi in Helena. October 7 Mobius Trio guitar ensemble, the first of the 2016-17 Riceland Distinguished Performance Series, 7:30 p.m., Fowler Center on the campus of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.

October 7-8 34th Annual Wild Duck Festival, all day at Trumann Sports Complex in Trumann; food, games, rides, crafts, music and parade. October 7-9 The Addams Family, presented by the Greene County Fine Arts Council, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and 8, and 2 p.m. Oct. 9, Collins Theatre in downtown Paragould October 8 Annual Big Lake Chili Cook-off, with chili booths, craft booths, games and more, Concord Street in Manila. Crawfordsville Hometown Festival, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Main Street in Crawfordsville; food and craft vendors, 5K run/walk, children’s play area, children’s parade, golf cart parade and decoration competition, car show and competition, bake-off, live band, live radio broadcast, raffles, covered seating, shaded eating area and free shuttle to and from the parking area; rain or shine. 40th Annual Arkansas Rice Festival, all day in downtown Weiner; food, music, rides, pageants, duck calling contest, wiener dog race, street dance, parade, rice cooking contest and rice tasting lunch. Ghosts of Davidsonville Fall Festival, 5 to 9 p.m., Davidsonville Historic State Park near Pocahontas.

Fall 2016 October 8-9 Parker Homestead Annual Festival, near Harrisburg; autumn fun for the whole family including craft demonstrations, farm animals, food and much more, 10 to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 12 noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 9. October 14 MatheMagic for kids in K-8, starring magician and educator Bradley Fields, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Fowler Center on the campus of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. October 14-15 10th Annual Owlfest, Gazebo Park, McGehee. October 15 Ghost Walks, 7 to 10 p.m., Powhatan Historic State Park in Lawrence County. October 15-16 Parker Homestead Annual Festival, near Harrisburg; autumn fun for the whole family including craft demonstrations, farm animals, food and much more, 10 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and 12 noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 16. October 21 Denise Donatelli Quintet featuring jazz and adult contemporary music, 7:30 p.m., Fowler Center on the campus of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. October 21-24 Bye Bye Birdie, presented by Jonesboro’s Foundation of Arts, at The Forum in downtown Jonesboro.

October 22 Tour da’ Delta Bicycle Ride, starting at 8:30 a.m., Helena; participants ride around a beautiful cypress-filled lake, through rolling hills that wind through the St. Francis National Forest, past Ft. Curtis and its Civil War history and past other landmarks; at the conclusion of the ride all will enjoy a barbecue lunch and music at Bailee Mae’s Backside Club; register online at Annual Harvest Festival, Wynn Park in Corning. Helena-West Helena’s Warfield Concerts presents an organ concert, 2 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, 625 Pecan Street. November 4 Still on the Hill, featuring award-winning Ozark storytelling songwriters Kelly and Donna, 7:30 p.m., Fowler Center on the campus of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. November 5 Tour duh Sunken Lands, 52-mile bicycle ride (not a race) with stops at cultural attractions such as the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Historic Dyess Colony and Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, the Painted House in Lepanto, the Rivervale Inverted Siphons and Marked Tree Delta Area Museum.

(Tour duh Sunken Lands, continued) Ride begins and ends at Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza; register online through Oct. 31; on site registration opens at 9 a.m. Nov. 5 and ride departs at 10 a.m.; $50 fee includes t-shirt, soup, cornbread and iced tea at the Painted House, snacks and drinks at all stops and after-ride dinner at Tyboogie’s Cafe in Tyronza. November 6 Helena-West Helena’s Warfield Concerts presents The Siberian Virtuosi, 2:30 p.m., Lily Peter Auditorium on the campus of Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, 1000 Campus Drive. November 18-20 The Nutcracker, presented by the Jonesboro Foundation of Arts, at The Forum in downtown Jonesboro. December 3 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m., East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City. December 4 Four Freshmen “A Fresh New Christmas” vocal jazz harmony, 2 p.m., Fowler Center on the campus of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.

Fall 2016|


Home of the Cougars Mission Statement: We believe all students can learn regardless of their socioeconomic or cultural status. With community and parental support, we accept the responsibility of providing the basic skills and knowledge needed to provide a balanced general education.

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Rector School District

Go Cats

Concurrent courses for college credit through Arkansas State University and Black River Technical College

Online school choice applications

Outstanding extracurricular activities

Excellent preschool program

Short, efficient bus routes

Baseball and softball summer league conducted through the city of Rector

Rector School District Johnny Fowler, Superintendent 870-595-3151

Rector High School

Wade Williams, Principal 870-595-3553

Rector Elementary

Nathan Henderson, Principal 870-595-3358

Past the Century Mark Hughey & Mary Linam still enjoying life


ife and love have been good for Hughey and Mary Linam. At ages 102 and 103, respectively, they continue to live independently and enjoy each day together, as they have for the last 78 years as husband and wife. A more remarkable pair would be hard to find. The Linams moved in recent years from Rector to Wynne, where two sons live, but as residents of Southern Independent Living, they occupy a large apartment space, where Mary still cooks and the two share hours of warm companionship. Hughey and Mary have long made a habit of staying busy. For years they amazed all who knew them with high levels of energy, which kept them at the center of activities in their community. Both continued work well

a team for life into their nineties in a Rector upholstery shop they operated for 42 years. The former Mary Davisson grew up in Essex, Mo., and was living with her parents in that small town in 1938 when she met a Maytag washing machine salesman from Sikeston named Hughey Linam. After being introduced by mutual friends, the two

Hughey and Mary have long made a habit of staying busy. For years they amazed all who knew them with high levels of energy.

Text by Nancy Kemp | Photos provided courtesy

married later that same year. Hughey was born within a mile of the Hargrave Corner community near Rector and it was there that he and Mary soon established their home. They stayed there for more than 40 years, raising three sons and a daughter. Hughey farmed and Mary became known as an outstanding seamstress. When rebuilding a shed at their home, Hughey converted the small building into a workshop for Mary. She sometimes asked him for assistance with projects, and he began helping her with upholstery work when returning home from the fields. After he retired from farming in 1972, he joined her full-time in the business.

Fall 2016|




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Funeral Director: David Boyd

Funeral Director: Cheri Boyd



870-597-4623 Currently under reconstruction

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU 76|Fall 2016

50th wedding anniversay, 1988

Hughey and Mary in 1975 The Linams moved into town in 1989 and continued to work together making and selling quilts and reupholstering all kinds of furniture. The two also maintained one of the most meticulously kept yards and gardens in Rector, producing beautiful vegetables and flowers. Twelve years ago, Hughey declared that he never thought about living to be 90. “My mother lived to 94 and all my dad’s folks died in the 70’s,” he said in a 2004 interview with Rector’s Clay County Democrat. “I never dreamed of being 90 years old and still able to do what I want to.” The two were 93 and 94 when they finallly began to taper off their upholstery work, but Hughey and Mary continued their hard work outdoors. To the delight of their neighbors, their garden was consistently one of the strongest producing in town, yielding green beans, shelly beans, baby lima beans, black-eyed peas, cucumbers, cantaloupe, tomatoes, okra and corn. While others flocked to stores to buy “revolutionary” garden tools and additives, Hughey said he always kept his preparation simple, just fertilizing and tilling. Mary was always especially fond

of the tomatoes, and Hughey laughed that if she had the chance, he was sure she would have had him do away with some of the other plants to make room for more tomatoes. While he did much of the outdoor work, Hughey developed macular degeneration and sometimes needed a little help from Mary’s eyes. She prepared the entire garden’s yield for either the dinner table or cold storage, filling two freezers with fruit and vegetables for future meals. As they neared the century mark, the Linams always found something to keep them busy. “We just don’t care much for sitting around,” Hughey said in 2009. “We’ve always worked and we’ll always be doing something as long as we’re able.” Mary was an active member for years in Rector’s Woman’s Club and, in 2009, was named as the organization’s Honored Lady of the Year.

Hughey is known to always have a smile on his face

Fall 2016|


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Serving Northeast Arkansas Since 1948


139 S. Thornton | Piggott, AR 72454


Quality You Can Afford 78|Fall 2016

Mary and Hughey Linam in 2015 Many Rector residents still share stories of visiting the Linams’ beautiful home, recalling vibrant flowers and stalks of “town corn” which would rival any found in a farmer’s field. The Linams remained cheerful in their move to Wynne, and the popular couple often have visitors from their hometown. Hughey and Mary have always been regular attendees at Rector’s big Labor Day Picnic, a unique homecoming event at the city park which annually attracts about 15,000 people. The two have been honored numerous times as the Oldest Man and Oldest Woman present for the picnic and as the LongestMarried Couple. Though getting there is a little more difficult for them each year, they both continue to look forward to the chance to see old friends. They have professed no special reasoning for their continued good health and longevity, but Hughey has attributed that gift to the two “having worked all our lives.” They have brought great pride to their family, which includes son Anthony and his wife Carolyn of Wynne, daughter Yvonne Mulhollen and her husband Bill of North Little Rock, son Bill and his wife Carolyn of Hot Springs Village, son Mike and his wife Rhonda of Wynne and several grandchildren.

Fall Enery Tips

Seal up windows inside and out

fo r o ver

Change HVAC filter and have inspection

Clean of dryer lint build up

After hours and emergencies 1-800-521-2450

Open curtains for solar heating

Your local energy partner Corning: 870-857-3521 Pocahontas: 870-892-5251 Rector: 870-522-3201

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Providing an Equitable, Well-Rounded Education to Its Students in a Structured Learning Environment Where Students Can Achieve Success in All Academic Endeavors


Accessing and processing information


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2 5

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Achieving working skills in technology

Valuing and contributing to the community


Exhibiting responsible behavior

Manila School District Elementary Office: 561-3145 80|Fall 2016High School Office: 561-4417

Middle School Office: 561-4815 Superintendent's Office: 561-4419

mike’s family restaurant

Linams serving some of the finest hopping restaurant on Highway 1


ost people think of Colt, Arkansas (St. Francis County), as the birthplace of iconic country singer Charlie Rich. But this small Delta town, which at the 2010 census had a population of 378, also is home to one of the most popular restaurants in Eastern Arkansas. Mike’s Family Restaurant, located on Arkansas Highway 1 near the town’s main intersection, can seat up to 188 – or half the town’s population. If you go there around lunchtime or dinnertime, it’s sometimes easy to believe half the town is there, with all of the tables full of happy diners – most who come back again and again. Owner Mike Linam and his wife, Rhonda, were living in nearby Forrest City and looking for something different to do in the early 1990s after his 21-year stint as meat department manager at Safeway ended when the company sold its Arkansas markets. A combination grocery store and snack bar for sale at Colt caught their attention and they decided to give it a try.

49 Old Military Rd. W., Colt, AR (870) 633-8916

Mon. - Thurs, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Sun.

“I bought this in 1992 thinking I might develop both the snack bar and grocery store, “ Linam said. “But the snack bar took off so we closed the grocery and expanded the restaurant.” Mike had always enjoyed cooking at home. “I always helped Rhonda,” he said. “We make a good team.” That teamwork, along with their people skills and resolve to have great food, made their success a certainty. “Rhonda worked in the kitchen,”

Text by Nancy Kemp | Photos by Nancy Kemp unless noted

Mike said. “She was a little intimidated by the grill at first, but I told her to just think of it as a big skillet and she took right off.” Rhonda retired last year after 23 years of producing amazing meals, and, as of July 1, Mike is working an abbreviated schedule, though customers rarely visit when they aren’t greeted by his friendly smile. “I have always stressed the importance of meeting people,” he said. “It’s a very important part of the operation.

Fall 2016|


Mike and Rhonda Linam on the beach earlier this year

Mike enjoys visiting with restaurant guests

“This has definitely been a family effort,” he continued. “I cooked steaks in the back and worked the floor, visiting with the customers. Our daughter Jennifer worked here until she got married and had kids. It’s been a family adventure.” Another key to success has been the work of Carolyn Fehr, who has been with the Linams since they opened and now serves as manager. “Carolyn has raised four girls here,” Mike said. “She and her daughter, Elizabeth, are doing a great job running the restaurant most of the time now. I don’t have a schedule anymore.” The staff of 32 handles an unbelievable number of meals each week. Weekdays at Mike’s feature changing lunch specials with the down-home country cooking most people in this area crave. A typical lunch meal might include a grilled pork chop, fried potatoes, field peas and cornbread one day; meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and a roll the following day, or chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and roll another day. There are many combinations, all aimed at providing the Delta’s favorite comfort foods. Specials are posted each week on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Catfish Day, all day each Thursday, features delicious lightly-breaded piping hot fish, with a choice of potato, coleslaw, pickle spear, pickled tomato, slice of onion and hush puppies. We were there for Catfish Day and found the fillets to be prepared to perfection –light, crispy and very flavorful. “We have stayed with the same cornmeal mixture for years,” Linam said. Catfish also is available on Friday and Saturday nights. All other foods are on the restaurant’s extensive menu.

The parking lot is always full at Mike’s Family Restaurant

82|Fall 2016

exceptional salads

Southern delicacy

fried catfish and fixins Catfish Day, all day each Thursday, features delicious lightly-breaded piping hot fish, with a choice of potato,

smooth cream pies

coleslaw, pickle spear, pickled tomato, slice of onion and hush puppies.

Fall 2016|


Steaks and shrimp are other popular choices

Photos courtesy of Mike’s Family Restaurant

Choice tastes for any palate

84|Fall 2016

“Our most popular foods are probably the steaks and catfish,” Mike said. “We serve ribeyes, New York strips and filets, as well as butterfly pork chops and grilled shrimp.” There is a long list of favorite appetizers, regular and specialty dinner menus, specialty sandwiches, scrumptious salads and economical kids plates. Dessert lovers find the homemade pies and other delicious temptations irresistable. We took home a piece of homemade chocolate meringue pie so we could experience the chocolate cobbler while it was warm – a brownie flowing with Hershey’s chocolate and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and more chocolate. It was amazing, and we savored every bite. Reflecting on the work that, while challenging, brought great satisfaction for him and his wife, Linam said, “It’s been a learning process for 24 years, and we are still learning for sure.” It’s obvious that his next learning experience will be learning to let go. “I enjoy meeting the people,” he said. “I will miss the people. We have a lot of locals, and the area motels are good about sending people out. We have a lot of people who stop here to eat when they’re traveling and come back again and again.” The Linams live in Wynne, where they have enjoyed being close to daughter Jennifer, her husband Randall Hobbs and their two grandchildren, Braxton, a freshman at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and Grace, a junior at Wynne High School. We suspect that Mike will be greeting customers at the restaurant for many years to come – at least we hope so.



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City Employees

Call or come by City Hall for more information regarding names for Veterans Park

City Council

Brandon Decker Vickki Carroll _ Recorder/Treasurer Mark Rolland Dana McKuin _ Water Clerk Richard Pace Brian Carmichael _ Police Chief Tom Carroll Anthony Pey _Police Lieutenant Larry Bibb Kevin Bond _ Police Officer Bob Hurst, Sr David Moore _ Water Superintendent Jerry Lamar _ Sewer Superintendent Bill Benham _ Street Superintendent Delbert Clayton _ Sanitation Superintendent

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Fall Cook’s choice

Beef Barley Soup

Recipes and presentation by Julia Case

Ingredients: 2 lbs. hamburger, browned 2 cups celery, chopped 3 cups carrots, sliced 1/2 head cabbage, shredded 2/3 cup barley 16 cups beef broth 2`14oz. cans Italian stewed tomatoes 6 cloves garlic 4 TBS. pesto 2 TBS. brown sugar 2 TBS. dark balsamic vinegar 2 TBS. Worcestershire sauce Put all ingredients into a pot except brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 45 min. Add last 2 ingredients.

*Crockpot method: Just combine all ingredients and simmer on low for 6 to 10 hours. Serves many...I usually cut in half for our family of 6

brocColi and cheddar cheese soup 4 Tbsp. melted butter 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 medium chopped onion 2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2 cup flour 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 cups half-and-half cream 4 cups chicken stock 1 head fresh broccoli, cut fine 1 tsp. ground nutmeg 16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (can substitute 1/2 cheddar and another favorite cheese, like Gouda.) Salt and pepper to taste In a pan, saute onion and celery in butter and oil until translucent. Add flour and whisk over medium heat until a rue is formed. Add the halfand-half and chicken stock. Stir well, then add broccoli and cook on low for 25 minutes.

Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Don’t skip the makes the soup! Add the cheese and heat until melted and creamy. Serves 6. Fall 2016|


the best minestrone soup 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 yellow onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, or 2 Tbsp. minced garlic 5 cups (40 oz.) chicken stock 1 lb. diced tomatoes with their juice 2 large carrots sliced 1/4-inch (or a handful of baby carrots) 4 to 5 large handfuls of spinach leaves (I use the bagged/pre-washed) 1 14.5 oz. can white beans, rinsed (cannellini or great northern) 1 Tbsp. basil 1 Tbsp. oregano 1/2 Tbsp. sugar 2 bay leaves 1 cup macaroni or shells (or may substitute 4 large diced potatoes) 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh or dried parsley Grated parmesan

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent and then add the chicken stock, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes (if you choose), basil, oregano, sugar and bay leaves. Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes until carrots are tender. Add the pasta (if you choose) and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the spinach, beans, balsamic vinegar and simmer until cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley and fresh parmesan. Oh yum! Serves 4 generously.

Crusty Olive Bread 1 loaf of french bread Olive oil Parmesan cheese 1 tsp. garlic powder 8 oz. mozzarella cheese 4 oz. can sliced olives minced (you can add all kinds of olives) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice french bread in half length-wise and drizzle both pieces with a fair amount of olive oil. Cover with a generous amount (to taste) of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle 1/2 tsp. garlic powder on each slice. Top each with 1/2 of the Mozzarella. Sprinkle olives on top of both pieces and shake a little more Parmesan on top.

88|Fall 2016

Bake on a cookie sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden. Broil for 4 minutes until slightly browned. Slice and serve! * You can also serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping. Serves 8 to 10.


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Fall Reader’s thoughts Chris Crawley, Owner

book review

Review by That Bookstore In Blytheville


(Historic Downtown Blytheville)

Adventure fantasy triology: vividly descriptive


Wolfgang Porter has a distinct flair for the fantasy / dystopian / science fiction. The Northeast Arkansas author’s Tales from the Long Road was short-listed for the Darrell Awards, which has been recognizing excellence in the Midsouth’s published SF, horror and fantasy for the past 20 years. Evocative of the works of Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Michael Moorcock (The Elric Saga), Porter’s sword and sorcery adventures are dense with vividly-descriptive battles, steamy romance, monstrous creatures, antiheroes, arch villains and knotty plot twists. They are sheer addictive delight for the mature Warcraft geek. Tales from the Long Road is the first in a series of fantasy novels by Porter, followed to date by The Gray Man and Book of Dragon’s Teeth, and it tells the tale of bountyhunter-for-hire Wolfwalker, a halfhuman with preternatural skills and powers working out of the Eastern Empire, a civilization ruled by Elves but threatened by the rise of Humans. Although the two races have maintained a 700-year armistice after a genocidal war, the peace is an uneasy one. Unrest has grown as

Humans have begun to form terrorist groups and as rogue Elves within the government have created a cabal intending to revolt against the current regime. As the story opens, militants kidnap an ambassador on a mission of peace to South City, the capital of the region within the Eastern Empire that is home to the insurgent Humans. The Imperial Council tasks a covert team to rescue the ambassador, but they in turn get into a bloody fracas with Wolfwalker, who wrests the assignment from the undercover operatives. Intrigue, conspiracies and doubleand triple-dealing abound: the cabal within the Imperial Council are plotting an illegal trade treaty with the ambassador. Wolfwalker’s involvement is unknown to the Imperial Council, and he is unaware of the cabal’s scheme. If the bounty hunter fails to save the ambassador, war will ensue between the ambassador’s nation and the Eastern Empire, as will fierce retribution by the Emperor on the sinister forces within the Imperial Council. As he races to free the diplomat, Wolfwalker encounters the worst terrorist group in the Empire, finding that in their hidden lair in the desert, there are worse things than terror as a long-dormant evil is awakened.

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The Gray Man centers around the murder of a highranking Elven official as the people of South City prepare to celebrate the sevencenturies-long alliance of Elves and Humans. Although the killer evades capture, evidence indicates that the crime was committed by a Human, causing race tensions in South City to erupt. Wolfwalker, now an agent of the Imperial Council, is charged with solving the mystery. As a political power grab develops, threatening to cause civil war, Wolfwalker must confront his alter ego, the Gray Man. This second book of the series is a murky whodunit rife with subplots, including a clandestine love affair, underworld smuggling and an Elven cult bent on reverting to “the old ways”.

Thanks to our wonderful readers and advertisers


CROSSROADS 92|Fall 2016

In Book of Dragon’s Teeth, a coven of sorceresses is robbed of a magical artifact, South City power brokers are assassinated, and political and supernatural mayhem churns, boding disaster for the entire world. Behind the chaos is the rebel Elven cabal, whose plan to unleash an ancient horror on nearby Riverus is only a precursor for what it has in store for the destruction of South City. Standing in the way of the cabal’s intended holocaust is a missing journal of a murdered judge. Wolfwalker, the Gray Man and the judge’s assassin pursue the journal relentlessly, full in the knowledge that its contents are deadly. Book of Dragon’s Teeth is fast-paced high fantasy, loaded with action and great fun. Look for telepathic evil water-goddesses, flying ships, sexy Elf maidens and magicpunk.


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Khris Goble woodworks

Preserving Northeast Arkansas One Plank of Wood at a Time


ften it takes a trip to rock bottom before we discover the road leading to our true calling. That’s the moral of Khris Goble’s inspirational story so far. Goble grew up on his family’s farm at Carson Lake off Highway 61 between Wilson and Osceola. “Farming was all I knew. I drove a combine by age nine,” he said. That’s certainly not the case today. After a circuitous route that took him to college in Fayetteville and to Baton Rouge for a “change of scenery”, Goble’s bumpy pathway eventually led him back home to Mississippi County. Today, Goble is a wood artisan with an eye for furniture design and a passion for saving lumber that would otherwise be forgotten. Goble discovered his natural talent for woodworking and furniture building while managing an unfinished furniture store in Louisiana.

Text and photos by Talya Tate Boerner

Fall 2016|


Goble takes the idea of repurposing, reusing, and recycling to heart and sees value in most everything. 98|Fall 2016

“As a little boy, my grandmother always took me to flea markets and antique stores on weekends. I think that stuck with me because I love old things, especially old wood,” he said. Several years after moving to Louisiana, at the age of forty-one, Goble had a stroke while honeymooning in New Orleans. Doctors said he would never walk again. “Heck of a honeymoon,” he said with a sarcastic chuckle. Without insurance or options, the newlyweds returned home to the farm in Northeast Arkansas. With the help of his wife, Goble began a six-month period of self-directed rehabilitation, progressing from wheelchair to walker to cane to walking on his own. During that time, he focused as much as possible on woodworking, crafting pieces from whatever scraps he could find on the farm. This marked the beginning of his business, Delta Cypress Woodworks, which continues to operate in the shop behind the homeplace. “Woodworking was my salvation. It was my rehab,” he said. Two years later, Goble still has difficulty walking and never regained all the strength in his right hand. “I reached a plateau in my recovery,” he said. “But that’s okay. I work seven days a week and I love it. It’s fun for me.” Goble takes the idea of repurposing, reusing, and recycling to heart and sees value in most everything. After a recent heavy rain, Goble fished a log out of a nearby canal, dragged it to his shop and crafted it into a gorgeous tabletop. His workshop is jammed floor to rafters with reclaimed fixtures, odds and ends, furniture projects in process, and equipment. The covered outdoor space beside his shop is a woodpile maze.

“Folks call me when they need an old barn or building torn down. I can tell you where every single board came from,” he explained to me while pointing out a group of cypress hand hewn logs, a stack of antique boards with wooden dowels still in place, and a pile of tongue and groove pine. “Those came from the Morgan barn in Bondsville. And those reddish boards came from Jeff Lynch’s barn behind the Hog Pen.” As Goble described the wood and the projects, I couldn’t help but feel there was much more at play than mere woodworking. Those stacks of wood came from places I knew, places that had been part of my home county landscape for years. To me, they seemed anything but ordinary planks. Goble designs and completes most projects for friends and area folks based on word of mouth recommendations on an “as ordered” basis. In addition to individual jobs, he’s done commercial work for Tyboogie’s Café in Tyronza and Trolley Stop in Memphis. Fall 2016|


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I watched as he added a coat of varnish to a gorgeous 700-pound table custom built for a local customer. I was surprised to learn he turns around most projects in only one week. My prediction – as word of his talent continues to spread, this will change. Goble has a few in-stock items, mostly smaller pieces like cutting boards and mounted antlers, which can be used as wall decorations or to hold jewelry. I bought one of his cheese boards a few years ago at Priceless Galleries in Wilson. Each piece includes a tag identifying the source of the wood. I love that. I also love this story’s O. Henry type ending, not that his story is over by any means. Woodworking saved Khris Goble by helping him rebuild his strength, independence, and giving him a passionate purpose. He, in turn, reclaims wood from old Mississippi County barns and homes that otherwise would be lost. The history of those places lives on. And vice versa. Goble prices his work at $20/hour and $5 per board foot. To inquire about a custom project, contact him directly at (501) 712-9159.

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Mayor Barry Riley 870-482-3716

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Contact Roger Williams for info 870-275-2344

THERAPY AND LIVING Providing Short & Long Term Care, Skilled Rehab, Hospice and Respite Care (front) Andrea Neil, LNHA, Administrator holding Bella; (middle row, left to right) Jennifer Gentry, Social Service/Admissions; Sheila Still, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing; Faye Griggs, Director of Human Resources; (back ) Linda King, Director of Dietary; Sonja Ashley, Business Office Manager; Johnny Matthews, Maintenance Director; Leigh Rose, RN, Medicare Manager; Jo Ann Garrett, RN, Director of Nursing.

700 Moody St. • Gosnell, AR 72315 • 870-532-5550

Fall 2016|


pet column

Article by State Point

Heartworm Testing

What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know


our dog is your best friend, and you take good care of him, making sure he gets quality food and exercise, immunizations and heartworm medication. Why, then, does your veterinarian also insist on a yearly heartworm test? Chances are, your veterinarian is following the advice of the American Heartworm Society (AHS), whose mission it is to lead the veterinary profession and the public in the understanding of heartworm disease. “The AHS recommends annual testing for all dogs,” explains veterinary parasitologist and AHS board member Dr. Patricia Payne. “Heartworm is a devastating disease. It is preventable and can be treated in dogs, but early detection is essential.”

Unprotected Dogs are at Risk Along with testing, the AHS recommends year-round administration of heartworm preventives. Unfortunately, says Dr. Payne, far too many dogs do not receive this measure of care. Almost two-thirds of dogs in the U.S. that are seen by veterinarians are given no preventives at all, according to studies conducted by heartworm medication manufacturers. Among those on prevention medication, far too many are only given medication in spring, summer and fall, when the mosquitoes that transmit heartworm larvae are active. Because weather is unpredictable and hardy mosquitoes can survive indoors as well as outdoors in protected areas, so-called “seasonal” usage creates ample opportunity for animals to unintentionally become infected.

102|Fall 2016

AntonioDiaz |

Mistakes Can Happen Another factor is human – and animal – error. “Pet owners who give heartworm medications year-round and on time are to be commended,” says Dr. Payne. “Even so, it is still possible for heartworm infection to occur.” These three scenarios make heartworm testing a necessity for all dogs: n Even the most diligent owner can forget a dose now and then. “If you have medication left when your veterinarian reminds you that it’s time to purchase more preventive, it’s a pretty clear sign that you missed a dose or two,” says Dr. Payne. n Not all pills are swallowed, and not all topical medications are properly applied. If your dog vomits or spits out a pill when you aren’t looking – or if a topical medication isn’t absorbed completely – a pet may be less protected than you think. n Heartworm resistance is rare but real. “Owners can rest assured that heartworm medications are highly effective, but a few cases of heartworm strains that are resistant to common preventives have been documented,” explains Dr. Payne, adding that the issue is being studied by the AHS.

The American Heartworm Society recommends annual testing for all dogs

Test Annually The good news for owners is that heartworm testing is simple and inexpensive. “Your veterinarian can easily conduct this simple blood test during a dog’s annual or semiannual wellness visit,” assures Dr. Payne. “If your dog tests positive, treatment can begin. With a negative test result, an owner has the peace of mind of knowing that his or her pet has been protected for another year.”

Fall pet’s provisions

Red Velvet Cake Paws & Red Velvet Cake Bones Flavors of the day are updated on Facebook

Red Velvet Pupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing and Sprinkles

PUPPY CONFECTIONS These baked pet treats look good enough to eat! But, save them for your favorite furry friend and you’ll have a friend for life.

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Apple Pupcakes with Yogurt Icing topped with Apple Chips

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Fall 2016|


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Fall critic’s recount

movie review

Ghostbusters: Ain’t afraid of no reboot


he 2016 “Ghostbusters reboot” garnered a huge amount of controversy, mostly from Internet trolls, before it was even seen by the public. The 1984 version of “Ghostbusters” is a beloved comedy classic (and one of my personal favorite movies of all time). The 1989 sequel, “Ghostbusters II”…not so much. It was made simply to cash in on the “Ghostbusters” name; that it was created by the same minds behind the original made it even more disappointing. But the original is still regarded as a wonderful film that can never be replaced. A good sequel could be made. But the idea of a reboot or remake made fans cringe. When the first trailer for “Ghostbusters 2016” was released, it became one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, most likely because it wasn’t very funny. This was a major sign of trouble for “Ghostbusters” fans. And playing the “sexist/misogynist” card when the Ghostbusters are all female made things even worse, causing an uproar among many, many people on the Internet. Having seen the movie, I can say “Ghostbusters 2016” doesn’t deserve such hatred. Nor does it deserve high praise. Did I laugh? Yes, a few times. Other times, well…let’s get to the review. In this “reboot” of “Ghostbusters,” three paranormal researchers (played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon) discover ghostly activity in New York City (sound familiar?). Using makeshift equipment they can use to

capture apparitions, they, along with a fourth member (Leslie Jones), decide to start a business through which they rid the city of peeving ghosts (again, sound familiar?). But little do they know that this is actually the beginning of something bigger and more destructive that could wipe out the city and possibly even the world (again, sound familiar?). As you can tell, this movie is following the same formula of “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II.” As we’ve seen with the “Indiana Jones” movies and the more recent “Star Wars” flick, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with recreating a formula if you can bring in some new things that make us want to keep watching this movie and not just watch the movie it’s reminding you of. What does this “Ghostbusters” reboot have? 1) The deadpan secretary from the original is replaced by a dunderhead model (played hilariously by Chris Hemsworth) who understands nothing about his job but has a body Wiig can’t stop staring at. 2) The Ghostbusters have more advanced weapons than proton packs and shooters – they have ghosteffective grenades, vacuums and even gloves that allow them to hit ghosts hard. 3) I will admit, the action in this film is more effective here than in the original (and that might be because of those new weapons, which the Ghostbusters use in a sequence in which they fight ghosts in Times Square). Unfortunately, that isn’t enough. And neither is the presence of some very talented comediennes. There is a good movie trying to get out. I did laugh at

Tanner Smith Film Critic

RATED: some quirky lines of dialogue and some neat gags, especially when McKinnon (who is hilarious on Saturday Night Live) was on-screen, playing the brainy, eccentric wildflower of the bunch. She reminded me of a mix between Greta Gerwig and Ed from “Cowboy Bebop.” Admittedly, when the film is trying to be a new “Ghostbusters,” some parts of it do work – the opening scene is in

Fall 2016|


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that same scary/funny tradition; a mannequin coming to life and chasing Jones is the same way; there’s some sharp modern commentary about how the public doesn’t believe in ghosts even when the Ghostbusters post documented footage on YouTube (hey it’s 2016, am I right?). But when it doesn’t work is when callbacks to the original film are forcibly thrown at us – the logo, the Ecto-1 car, the fire station, the cameos from actors/ actresses who don’t reprise their original roles (by the way, why have them then? Why couldn’t this movie have just been a sequel?), the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Slimer, etc. The film feels like a blend of “Ghostbusters” callbacks and newer material, and it’s a mess. It feels like a watered-down version of the original “Ghostbusters.” Also, in terms of story conflict, the difference between this film and the original is that I don’t feel there’s a lot at stake in this film. That might have to do with a lack of an interesting villain – the best we get is a sleazeball wimp played by Neil Casey. Not that the idea of a wimpy villain who happens to have supernatural forces at his control is bad, but it needed a more charismatic actor. The actresses aren’t given a lot to work with in this script. Wiig’s character seems like she’s going to go somewhere, but she’s very underused and also kind of awkward. McCarthy’s fine, but she’s in the same boat as Wiig when it comes to displaying her true talents. McKinnon is having a ton of fun with what she has. And Jones is suitably sassy as a subway worker whose info about the city layout comes in handy (but not for long, however). But when these four are together on-screen, their chemistry sparkles. I won’t say much about the special effects. They’re there, they range from decent to bad, Slimer looks… slimier, and that’s about it. What’s a “Ghostbusters” movie without some cheesy-looking spirits? I think the biggest problem with this movie is that anytime “Ghostbusters 2016” references “Ghostbusters,” it’s a constant reminder that we should be watching “Ghostbusters.” When it tries something different, which is only once in a while, it reminds us that there’s a decent film trying to make itself known. It’s better than “Ghostbusters II,” but not by much. With a more clever script, this could have worked. As it is, it’s not bad, but it’s not something I’ll revere as much as the original “Ghostbusters.”

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Cassie Bunch, RDH; Kelsen Miles, RDA Brentney Lammers, RDH with patient Johnny Zolman Dr. Bruce Wilson and Karla Wilson

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Left to right: Cassie Bunch, Brentney Lammers, Karla Wilson, Dr. Bruce Wilson, Terri Fleeman, Kelsen Miles & Tanya McCain.

Cory Jackson, singer/songwriter from Joneboro, holds his released EP, “Let’s Get It Right.”

108|Fall 2016

CORY JACKSON Jonesboro singer and songwriter receives high marks, moves up to perform with the greats


Photo by Revis Blaylock

pening for the worldfamous Oak Ridge Boys in August at the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Tenn., Jonesboro singer, songwriter and entertainer Cory Jackson may have hitched his rising star to an even bigger star. But it wasn’t simply luck that landed Cory on the same stage with the legendary Oaks. He earned the right to be there in a tough competition through Nashville’s WSM, known as the most famed country radio station in the world. Cory submitted a song for a WSM contest in April and was one of just over 20 chosen in the first round, giving him the opportunity to perform with some of Nashville’s greatest country musicians, including legendary studio musician and Musician’s Hall of Fame member Jimmy Capps. Among the songs he sang for that round was Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.”

Text by Revis Blaylock | Photos courtesy Mike Chojnacki, Mike’s Music News unless noted

After making the top 12, he returned in June to sing two more songs. “I was the last contestant of the day, which made me a little more nervous,” he said. But his rendition of Ronnie Millsap’s “Day Dreams About Night Things” and his own original song “Take My Breath Away” landed him in the winner’s circle and on that stage with the Oaks. Like most who eventually make it to country music stardom, Cory has remained undeterred and determined when earlier efforts to get a break didn’t pan out. He kept his resolve after he made it to the top five, but didn’t win, in a Snagajob contest last year to open for country singer Brett Eldredge. In 2015, he also was one of eight chosen in American Idol auditions at Jonesboro to go on to Little Rock for the next round.

Fall 2016|



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Cory Jackson meets Joe Bonsall

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Each of the eight sang two or three songs. “I didn’t make the finals, but it was a great experience,” Cory said. “I met Keith Urban and the other judges, but Keith Urban really opened my eyes.” Standing on that Tennessee stage at the nation’s third largest county fair and singing to a huge crowd of more than 5,000 gathered to hear the Oak Ridge Boys was a thrill he will never forget, even if (or when) he reaches that level of stardom himself. “Words can’t describe how awesome it was to meet and open for the Oak Ridge Boys,” he said. “It was the coolest when the Oak Ridge Boys’ bus rolled up and Joe (Bonsall) got off the bus and started greeting everyone. When he saw me, he came to me and called me by name, saying, ‘Cory, it is so nice to meet you.’ He put his arm around me and introduced me to his manager as the guy who was opening for them. It was special.” For years a big fan of the Oaks, Cory said he has been singing their signature song “Elvira” for years. “I sing at St. Bernards Village (a retirement and assisted living facility) in Jonesboro and the residents all love the Oak Ridge Boys,” he said. “‘Elvira’ is one of their favorites.” A 2013 graduate of Jonesboro’s Westside High School, Cory is a senior at Arkansas State University majoring in interdisciplinary studies. Classes in psychology, health and music have prepared him well for his ASU campus work in childhood services, caring for pre-school children. “The kids are some of my biggest fans,” he said with a smile. “I learned children’s songs on the guitar and they all seem to enjoy music time with me.”


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Though his smile and personality now light up a stage, Cory said he was very shy growing up and being in the spotlight was only a dream. “I didn’t even like to talk in front of a crowd, much less sing,” he said. But the family frequently vacationed in Branson, and Cory loved the shows, which later inspired him. His grandfather, Hershel Whitehurst, bought him a guitar in 2010 and started teaching him to play. “He was an encouragement to me,” Cory said. “He passed away shortly after I started playing, and I knew I had to continue for him.” During his sophomore year in high school, Cory was on the Student Council and that ultimately broke his shell. “I had just started playing the guitar, and friends knew I could sing,” he said. “They encouraged me to sing at a state conference, and all of the shyness seemed to disappear. People seemed to like it and it just felt natural.” Cory now performs at the Brickhouse Grill, Epic Center and Skinny J’s in Jonesboro, the Farmers Market in Paragould, the Roundup Music Show in Brookland and other places throughout Northeast Arkansas.


Your Hometown Pharmacists Most insurance plans as well as Medicaid accepted 24 hour emergency service He recently released his second extended play (EP) recording titled “Let’s Get It Right,” co-writing the title song with Michael Gardner. The CD also features four other songs, “She’s Got My Heart,” “Take My Breath Away,” “Forgiving Him” and “Coast to Coast,” the last which he sang along with six other songs in his 25-minute opening for the Oaks. Produced by Kevin King and Randy Loyd with Lazy Dawg Productions of Jonesboro, the EP also has a bonus track featuring Cory and his 10-year-old sister, Shawna. A song from his first EP, “In My Heart,” was written in honor of his grandfather Whitehurst and grandfather Larry Colbert. Band members for Cory’s Tennessee performance were King, as drummer; Matt Thomas, bass; Alex Carson, lead guitar; Bryce Anderson, keyboard, and Lance Blythe, acoustic guitar.

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Cory Jackson (fourth from left) in front of the Oak Ridge Boys bus with band members, from left: Alex Carson, lead guitar; Bryce Anderson, keyboard; Lance Blythe, acoustic guitar; Savannah Morris, backup singer; Kevin King, drummer and backup vocal, and Matt Thomas, bass guitar.

Cory Jackson with the Oak Ridge Boys

“I have had a lot of encouragement, and I appreciate the Lazy Dawg Music Group for all they do in promoting my music,” he said. King and Loyd toured with Twister Alley Band and played backup for Shania Twain and Toby Keith before opening their studio in Jonesboro. “They have been great mentors to me,” Cory said. Cory took theory lessons from former Paragould resident Craig Morris and voice lessons from Morris’ wife, the former Donna Rhodes, who have worked regularly in Nashville for years, he as a singer, songwriter and musician (performing with such greats as Ronnie McDowell, Donny and Marie Osmond, Pam Tillis, Dobie Gray, Dan Seals, Craig Morgan and currently Loretta Lynn) and she as a member of the famed Rhodes Family. (Morris also toured with Tim McGraw and Kenny Rogers and his songs have been recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys, Ray Charles, Reba McEntire, Gene Watson, Morgan, McDowell and others. He and his wife also do harmony sessions for music producers worldwide.) The Morris’ daughter, Savannah, who also has a beautiful voice, sings harmony when Cory is performing at the Brickhouse Grill. Cory’s dream is to someday perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

112|Fall 2016

“Nashville is definitely on my ‘to do’ list,” he said. “I have been super blessed and I look forward to moving forward with my music. So many people encourage me. Mike Chojnacki, with Mike’s Music News, drove to Tennessee to take pictures during the contest. I was surprised to see him there. I have made many friends through my music.” Cory says his role models include George Strait and Tim McGraw. “They are real, they are humble,” Cory said. “I want to be like that.” Cory’s email is His website address is:

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health starts with healing foods

Fall women’s health Recommendation from American Institute for Cancer Research

Beat breast cancer before it starts


ith each passing day fall leaves draw closer to their turn of season, ready to drift to the earth and complete a tree’s cycle of renewal. There is an underlying truth in the purity and balance of nature’s cycles. Once all the leaves are shed, a tree rests until it is time to start anew. A woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a life shared in effort and nurturing from her first baby doll to her last grandchild. The passage of life is precious. Thankfully, we have more than just a season to show our colors and give back to this bustling world in which we find ourselves, and with each passing season we begin to recognize the pattern of choices we take on will either heal or hurt the longevity and health of our lives. There is the adage, “an apple a day…” – the impetus to keep the doctor away. And looking back to a time of family farming, home-cooked meals and plenty of hard work to go around, no need for a doctor was a fine recipe for health. Although the times have changed, we are wise to be reminded that nature has not. This year alone over 1.6 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with new cancer cases. About 245,000 of those cases will be breast cancer. One in eight women will contract breast cancer in her lifetime. While doctors and scientists are working on every end of the spectrum of breast cancer research, the chance of getting cancer continues to be alarming.

Text by Clover Kesson

1) Maintain a healthy body weight.

Be as lean as possible. There is a link between obesity and several types of cancer, including colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

2) Move more.

Stay physically active for at least 30 minutes every day, at least 150 minutes a week. Hormones are activated when you exercise that help protect against cancer. When you are active you can also lose weight.

3) Eat well.

Limit consumption of sugary drinks and fatty foods. Eating extra calories your body does not need can be dangerous for your body, leading you to gain weight.

4) Enjoy a plant-based diet.

Dr. reza hakkak, Ph.D. Chair of Dietetics and Nutrition, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

5) Reduce red meat and avoid processed meat.

Scientific evidence points us right back to our roots as an agrarian people, in need of nutrition directly from the plants that surround us and exercise to keep our bodies strong and resistant to disease. Dr. Reza Hakkak, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, is conducting research on diet and nutrition in cancer prevention, obesity and breast cancer. Dr. Hakkak draws a straight line between obesity and the development of breast cancer. “My recommendation is ‘pay attention to what you are eating and be physically active,’ then you know you have done whatever possible to prevent cancer,” he said.

Vegetables and fruits are normally low calorie and full of antioxidants. Whole grains add fiber to the diet and allow the body to eliminate toxins faster. Without fiber, food stays in the system too long. Gut bacteria can change and not be able to defend the tissue damage.

Processed meat like lunch meat and hot dogs, sausages and red meat are more difficult for your body to digest. Chicken and fish are preferable to red meat.

6) Cut down on alcohol.

Drinking over one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men creates an environment in the body where cancer can grow more easily.

7) Limit consumption of salty food. 8) Do not take cancer prevention supplements.

Supplements often include harmful chemicals. If a person is eating a healthy diet they do not need supplements.

9) If able, breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is healthful for mother and baby, releasing healthy hormones and allowing the breast tissue to function as it should.

10) After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the same guidelines.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research and Dr. Reza Hakkak

Fall 2016|


Not all cancers are preventable. Some have noted genetic factors, and those with a history of cancer in their families should be paying all the more attention to prevention of cancer because of the increase of risk. Excess body weight, poor nutrition and/or physical inactivity leads to one in five cancer deaths, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Dr. Hakkak cites 10 cancer prevention recommendations from the American Institute for Cancer Research as a guide. He encourages honest, accountable diet choices that aid the body in healing and cautions against the over indulgence in sugars, fats and salt. “Over 40 percent of cancer can be prevented if you follow the guidelines,” Dr. Hakkak said. “Some cancers are related to your behavior. Some cancer tissues are less related, but imagine if you can prevent colon cancer which is killing 40 to 50,000 Americans a year. These guidelines are the tools a person can use to stay away from cancer. “People are gaining weight because they are overeating,” he said. “Nature has provided solutions. Don’t try to blame hormones, don’t try to blame the weather. People don’t become obese for no reason. There are factors that they can control. Even if there is a family propensity toward obesity, those factors can brought into control.” Dr. Hakkak works directly with research to uncover how obesity, diet and losing weight can protect breast cancer development. The fluxuation of hormones in pre- and postmenopausal women, coupled with the estrogen-producing fat cells of the female body, can create a storm of too many hormones at a time the body is most vulnerable to imbalance.

116|Fall 2016

Having children Women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall. Having many pregnancies and becoming pregnant at an early age reduces breast cancer risk overall. Still, the effect of pregnancy is different for different types of breast cancer. For a certain type of breast cancer known as triple-negative, pregnancy seems to increase risk, according to Childbearing in the pre-menopausal years, as early as age 30, can throw the body into hormonal stress and increase the risk of breast cancer. While breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk of breast cancer, Dr. Hakkak says, he contends that education on breast cancer prevention is imperative to lower rates of breast cancer in the future. “Women have the right to know how to prevent cancer,” Dr. Hakkak said. “Anyone can get vegetables, wash them and eat them. The recipe is: don’t do what you used to do.” He also expressed concern about too much dependence on ready-made food. Fresh is best, vegetables and

fruit come first and a healthy amount of fresh fish or chicken and whole grains can be added in. “Read the label,” he said. “Trust fresh foods. If you are eating vegetables first there is less room for foods that are not good for you, such as too much red meat. We have to change our behavior towards food and we have to start moving.” At least one-half cup of fresh vegetables per day is a good start. Drinking enough water also aids the body in proper digestion and riding itself of carcinogens. Each of the guidelines extends wisdom toward building a body that will withstand the rigors of the baby years, teenage growth spurts, mortgage payments and even the empty nest, so that when life begins its next chapter we find ourselves still standing tall and ready to take it on again. Arkansas has dropped its obesity rating from first to number six in the nation at 35 percent, yet with the nation as a whole at 67 percent of population overweight or obese, our culture of over indulgence still needs to have a good, long visit with the doctor.

jump from page 62

Continued interview with Rex Nelson: fan of the Delta, noted journalist and aficionado of all things Arkansas.

Hearing Problems?

RK: To the “uninitiated,” the Delta is a flat and somewhat uninspiring area to visit or experience. But many of us know better. For you, what is beautiful about the Delta? Few things are more beautiful than watching a sunrise from a duck blind in the Arkansas Delta. I must tell you that it’s almost a religious experience for me. The fall harvest is also a beautiful time – the gold of the rice, the white of the cotton. I can spend all day driving through the Delta during the harvest season. And then there are those Delta sunsets. You just can’t get sunsets like that anywhere else in Arkansas.

Take a look inside your ear canal.


You can see for yourself if there is a wax problem.

RK: Is there a unique “character” (or two) you have encountered in your recent travels in the region – someone who stands out as a “one-of-a-kind” person that often seems to emerge in our great state.


I’ve had the honor of making friends with a lot of colorful Delta characters. I think of men like Wiley Meacham and Gene DePriest of Brinkley. Wiley, who turned 85 in September, is perhaps the state’s most famous duck hunter. Gene’s Restaurant, meanwhile, is one of the best places to eat between Little Rock and Memphis, and Gene has never been closed a day in more than 20 years. Thanksgiving, Christmas, you name it – he’s always there. Gene turned 80 in September. I mentioned the caviar at Marvell. Jessie George, who runs the fish market there, is a most colorful man. I could go on and on. It’s a long list.

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RK: Anyone who reads your columns in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette or your Southern Fried blog knows you love the food of our great state. There are many, many great places to eat in the Arkansas Delta, but share a few that stand out for you. For barbecue, I would go with Dixie Pig, Penn’s and Kream Kastle in Blytheville; Jones in Marianna; Craig’s in DeValls Bluff. For catfish, it’s Murry’s near Hazen, Dondie’s at Des Arc and Gene’s in Brinkley. For steak, Jerry’s in Trumann and The Tamale Factory at Gregory. For Italian, Uncle John’s at Crawfordsville. For dessert, the strawberry shortcake at The Bulldog at Bald Knob.

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RK: Okay, I’ll really put you on the spot – over the last 100 years, who is the greatest artist from the Arkansas Delta, and then on to the categories of musician, statesman, farmer, athlete and businessman? Best Arkansas Delta artist: Carroll Cloar Best Arkansas Delta musician: A tie between Johnny Cash and Al Green Best Arkansas Delta statesman: Let’s go stateswoman with Hattie Caraway


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Definitively Delta. 118|Fall 2016

Best Arkansas Delta farmer: R.E.L. Wilson and my friend the late Stanley Reed of Marianna

Best Delta Artist: Carroll Cloar This Carroll Cloar mosaic was displayed at the Arkansas State University Museum

Best Arkansas Delta athlete: Willie Roaf of Pine Bluff. I’m an old offensive lineman. I have to go with an offensive lineman since he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Best Arkansas Delta businessman: You know, the Delta can claim both Sam Walton and J.B. Hunt since Mr. Sam began by running the Ben Franklin store in Newport and Mr. Hunt began by hauling rice hulls at Stuttgart. RK: Finally, you’ve traveled many miles and enjoyed great experiences in our region over the past several years. What is special about the people of the Arkansas Delta and the way of life represented here? What should we be proud of and how should we strive to carry on timehonored traditions while also seeking to make life better for those to follow? As I said, the Delta has the friendliest people I’ve ever met. But they’re also the most resilient if you look at the many things they’ve overcome through the years – floods, droughts, depressions, recessions, you name it. Through those hardships, they’ve produced beautiful music, great books, wonderful pieces of art and, as noted, the best cooking in America. It’s a rich culture. Our job should be to teach the rest of the country a little about that culture so they’ll come and visit.

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ABOUT REX NELSON During college, Rex served as the sports editor of the daily newspaper in Arkadelphia, leading to a sportswriting position at the Arkansas Democrat in 1981. He returned to Arkadelphia after a year and, at 23, became the youngest daily newspaper editor in the state. The famed Little Rock “newspaper war” was heating up and Rex wanted to be a part of it, thus returning to the Democrat as the No 2 person in the sports department. Upon the “advice” of managing editor John Robert Starr, he later moved to Washington, D.C., and spent four years as the newspaper’s correspondent in the nation’s capital. It was there he met his wife Melissa, a native Texan. They wanted to move back to this part of the country, so he accepted a position as a political consultant for Little Rock financier Jack Stephens. In 1991, Rex returned to journalism as editor of Arkansas Business. Under his guidance, it was named the outstanding business publication in the nation for markets of fewer than a million people. His next stop came when he accepted Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman’s invitation to be the newspaper’s political editor to oversee coverage of the presidential campaign (the 1992 election of Arkansas’ Bill Clinton). During President Clinton’s first term, Rex supervised bureaus in both Washington and Little Rock, hosted a one-hour radio show five afternoons a week, wrote the first full-length biography of Hillary Clinton and did countless national radio and television interviews about the Clinton administration. Rex said “there was another surprise in the works” when, in 1996, Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee suddenly moved into the state’s top office and asked him to serve as director of policy and communications. He said it was difficult to leave journalism, but he accepted the offer and wound up working almost a decade for the governor (including serving as his campaign manager when Huckabee ran for a full four-year term). In 2005 he really became focused on this region when named by President George W. Bush as one of his two appointees to the Delta Regional Authority. After serving in that position, he has worked for the Communications Group in Little Rock as a senior vice president, headed the association of the state’s private colleges and universities and is now senior vice president of Simmons First National Corp. In addition to a newspaper column, blog and freelance magazine articles, in his “spare time” Rex has served for years as radio play-by-play announcer of his beloved Ouachita Tigers football team.

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Fall life’s reward


Bolton Johnson of Manila was surprised by family and friends with a surprise party in celebration of his 90th birthday.

Members of the Caraway Class of 1966 enjoyed their 50-year class reunion Saturday, July 2, at the Caraway Senior Center. Classmates attending were Ron Martin, Linda Anderson, Mattie Williams, Kay Dallas, Bill Frasure, Johnny Mannis, Sandra Cook Knight, Betty Bransum, Wanda Coffman, Linda Fletcher, Regina Waugh, Mildred Browning, Kathy Dunavant, John Starnes, Roger Bell, Jerry Williams, Bill Sanders, Sonya Woods, David Gamble, Tim Puckett, Linda Wallace and Ed Douglas.


Pauline Payne celebrated her 100th birthday Aug. 17. She was honored by Monette Manor staff members and residents with cake and punch and her favorite song, “Just a Rose Will Do,” sung by Monette Manor administrator Kevin Stewart. A second party hosted by her family was held Saturday, Aug. 20, with friends and family members from five states attending.

A drop-in celebration of Luther Almer (Jack) Bearden’s life and 100th birthday was held Saturday, Sept. 3, at Prospect Missionary Baptist Church in Jonesboro. Mr. Bearden surrendered to preach Aug. 21, 1942, at Boydsville Baptist Church and was ordained into the ministry Oct. 10, 1943, at Boydsville.

David Solomon, one of Helena’s most respected citizens, was honored July 16 with a celebration of his 100th birthday at Biscuit Row; the event was open to everyone in Phillips County.

Fall 2016|



Photo by Bret Palmer

sunset over nimmons

122|Fall 2016

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Delta Crossroads Fall 2016  
Delta Crossroads Fall 2016