Jamie Patterson Managing EditorAs a reporter, there are always a few of those stories that leave a place in your heart.
That was the case for me in tracking down the story behind Callaway, a kind dog who has found a special place at Benton Academy.
As I conducted a few interviews and followed Callaway around the school campus one day, I kept thinking back to the Willie Morris classic, My Dog Skip.
There is nothing more sincere and heartwarming than a story of a good dog and a child.
Growing up, my mother had a small, gentle Shih Tzu who we called Kelly. We drove hours to buy her because Momma said she would be a good dog “with papers.”
I think I was in junior high when we brought Kelly home for the first time. She was a small ball of black and white fur with a tiny nose and a mouth full of puppy breath.
Being my mother’s only child, she was my constant playmate and true friend. No matter how bad of a day I had at school, she was always there with a wagging tail. Even when I was a little grumpy and didn’t have time for her, she would follow me around the house and wait on me to come around.
She was loyal and just a good dog.
Kelly remained at home when I ventured off to college. It got to a point when I only saw her about every other weekend. Perhaps it was the time left between us, but I don’t think I ever noticed how much older Kelly got with each year.
It actually kicked me in the stomach when I noticed she was running into walls and couldn’t follow me around as much. She had gone blind at some point in time.
It wasn’t long before she couldn’t walk around at all. She had to scoot along the wall to figure out where she was going.
The dog that used to jump up on the couch to snuggle under a blanket couldn’t even lift her paw up on it anymore. We had to pick her up.
When I left home for good to start my own family, it never occurred to me how Kelly must have felt.
Her best friend was gone. I wasn’t there to pick her up on the couch anymore. I wasn’t there to brush her hair into a ponytail on top of her head. I wasn’t there to scratch behind her ears. I just wasn’t there.
I know the house must have seemed empty to her. And I can only imagine what it felt like to be alone, blind.
Kelly did have a blessing with my Momma though. Momma was also getting used to an empty house. I am sure those two pulled each other through that tough transition.
Sadly, Kelly died only a few days after my grandmother died. Her once shiny coat was dull and thin. Her expressive eyes were dark with blindness. She had lost a lot of weight. And her puppy breath had long been gone.
But she was still a ball of love. She was still my friend.
I don’t even think I got to say goodbye to her. With the hustle and bustle of children and sick family members, I don’t think I ever had the chance.
I was at Momma’s house not too long ago, shifting through a box in my old room when I found an old letter with my familiar childhood writing.
It was a letter to “Santa Paws” that I had put together for Kelly. She wanted a bone, a rubber chew toy and bacon for Christmas that year.
I must admit, I teared up a little.
I have had my share of pets over the years. I have even shared a column or two with readers about my dog Roho at my grandparents’ house.
Kelly was a registered pooch while Roho was a mutt. But both dogs were my childhood companions.
They followed me on foot or bike. They let me dress them up in doll clothes and push them around in baby carriages. They were my pillows on family movie night. They were my partners in crime and even sat with me in a few “time outs.”
They were my outfielders in a sandlot ball game. They were my cheerleaders in a backyard basketball game.
They were my feet warmers in the dead of winter. They were my face lickers in the dog days of summer.
They were my protectors from the switch. They were my guards at night.
They watched me grow up and sadly, they watched me leave.
But they remained, constant and loyal.
Callaway reminds me of that feeling you get with a childhood dog. The students at Benton Academy have found their own “Kelly” and their own “Roho” in him.
I understand now the appeal of a good dog and I see what Willie Morris was feeling when he wrote his book.
With that being said, I think it is only right to end this with his words. I think it says it all when it comes to the bond between a child and their dog.
I received a trans-atlantic call one day. "Skip died,” Daddy said. He and my mama wrapped him in my baseball jacket. They buried him out under the elm tree, they said. That wasn’t totally true. For he really lay buried in my heart.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistHere we go again. The bombing in Boston last Monday has given new life to every leftist in the country. Expect your civil liberties to rapidly disappear in order for the government to “protect the people.”
The Second Amendment will be bulldozed even though it appears that pressure cookers containing explosives were used to injure and kill innocent people in attendance at the Boston Marathon.
No legitimate news outlet has reported that guns were used to kill at least three people and injure over 170. Yet, the liberals in Congress see the opportunity to attack the Second Amendment – and they will with an intensity that is almost scary to watch.
Already, a Congresswoman, Shelia Jackson-Lee, has said on the floor of the House of Representatives that the “sequester” caused this terror attack. Joe Biden has claimed that Congress is close to passing a gun control bill.
Of course this bill has absolutely nothing to do with what happened in Boston. The bill would not prevent one death from occurring, yet these mental giants doggedly move their agenda forward.
Elizabeth Warren, the ultra-liberal socialist Senator from Massachusetts, praised President Obama for “being engaged.” Since she is a rock solid supporter of the most liberal President in the history of this country, she failed to mention the fact that President Obama slashed the budget for domestic bomb prevention by 45 percent. Yet the liberals in our government are fawning at the possibility that Obama is “engaged.”
What nonsense. This bombing is a failure of the government to protect its people. Homeland Security has spent billions of dollars, yet someone or some group, set two bombs that destroyed the lives of a large number of innocent people. Homeland Security is a political wing of the Democrat Party. Not only has it failed to make the nation safer, it has actually made things worse.
Take immigration, for example.
Janet Napolitano, the most incompetent Cabinet Secretary in the history of the country, has failed to enforce immigration laws that are already on the books. Like Obama, her boss, she wants amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens who have walked across the Mexican border right into the nearest welfare office to pick up their EBT and Medicaid Cards. Common sense tells us that among those thousands illegally crossing the border, some are terrorists. But who cares in this government? They can all be registered as Democrat voters. Naturally, this will speed up the radical changing of this country from a first world country to a third world country, but this is the utopian dream of the leftists.
We have spent billions of dollars for intelligence information, yet someone walks into a crowd in Boston and detonates not one bomb, but two.
If you concluded that this terrorist attack is a shining example of why government cannot protect you, you are correct. Every expensive system put in place by our government failed. Obama, in his haste to make the world love us, has allowed Saudi nationals to come to this country with only the background check done by the Saudi government.
What ever happened to “trust but verify?” The Saudi government plays both ends against the middle. When it is in their interest to cozy up to the to the U. S., they do it.
Otherwise, they are more than happy to see terrorism come to our streets and towns. How many Saudi nationals are in this country with malice on their minds?
Over the next few weeks, expect some of the most insane accusations imaginable leveled at individuals who support the Second Amendment and at conservatives.
Already, news groups, in order to protect a weak president, have tried to conjure up the notion that a right wing militia group or a Tea Party activist may be the responsible party for the Boston bombing.
I have heard no news person speculate that left wing extremists like Bill Ayres are Bernadine Dhorn could be responsible. These two are left wing nuts who actually set off bombs at the Pentagon and elsewhere, and they are both good friends with the President.
It is time to focus on what really happened in Boston. We had a catastrophic government failure. None of the agencies did their jobs. All of them should have realized that it was only a matter of time before terror returned to our shores.
They didn’t and the terrorist were allowed to explode their bombs. It was a bad day for Boston. It was a terrible and tragic day for the victims. It was a bad day for Americans. It was a bad day for government agencies, especially Homeland Security and our intelligence services.
Unless we have a wave of commonsense come over our leaders, it will be a bad day for our freedoms. You can count on that.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI have officially become that mother who frantically makes her child a school play costume with various material from around the house.
I vowed that I never would, but after falling on bad luck with finding a custom outfit for our son James’ musical...things changed.
James is to play the Oscar-worthy performance of “green bean.” However, he may have to settle with “Green Giant” because that is what the costume looked like when I was done with it last night.
His music teacher told me that he could really be any vegetable for the musical, but I tried my best to transform him into “green bean.”
Every costume store I visited had no trace of a green bean. There were a few carrots, even a banana. But no green beans.
With only two days left until the program, I decided to rely on my redneck engineering skills and make his costume at home.
I would like to tell you that I am a master at sewing and that I whipped up a wonderful green bean outfit on my nifty machine.
I would like to tell you that, but I can’t.
Let’s face it, when the Sewing for Dummies book confuses you, perhaps sewing isn’t your thing.
So I did what many other red-blooded American women have done in a time of crisis. I plugged in the glue gun and starting grabbing what I could find.
The dining room table was transformed into a chaos of crafts. With my husband Jason across from me to “supervise,” I went to work.
Armed with a pair of scissors and my trusty glue gun, I began to cut “leaves” out of some green felt material. I decided that I would glue them around the collar of a green shirt so that it would look “veggie.”
First part of the mission was accomplished with no problems. The leaves were ready to be glued onto the shirt.
I have a bad problem with pride. If I mess something up or do something ridiculous, I will never admit it. I will simply tighten my lips and move on.
So Jason had no idea that I had glued my finger and burned it onto the shirt for a brief second there. My pointer finger is still pretty sore from not only burning a hole into it but also from ripping it from the cotton to which it was glued.
Aside from that little incident, the second part of the mission was complete.
I am not sure if James is going to look like a vegetable or a leprechaun. Oh well, I can put the shirt away in case their are any St. Patrick Day programs.
The costume still needed that extra kick. So I decided to blow up three green balloons that I will pin down the center of the shirt to resemble pea pods.
So, I’m not sure if James is a pea or bean. But he could pass for the Green Giant if he was a little taller.
I have to admit that the costume may look “homemade” but it was kind of fun making it. And I am looking forward to my little man sing his heart out with his leaves around his neck and his peas poking from his chest.
I have a feeling that there are going to be plenty more last minute costume creations in future as well.
With a little imagination, tape, glue gun, cotton balls and Q-tips...anything is possible.
I just need to keep the first aid kit nearby.
Jamie Patterson is the managing editor of The Yazoo Herald. She can be reached at 746-4911 or by email at
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistMaybe God planned it this way, but it always happens.
History repeats itself. Live long enough and you will see what I mean. Take nations, for example. For most of recorded history, mankind, for the most part, lived as peasants, serfs, or slaves. There was the king and there were his subjects. The subjects lived a miserable existence, and they lived or died at the behest of the king.
But time has a way of changing things. Even the kings began to disappear and soon they were replaced by the dictator. Think Adolf Hitler, Roberto Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro. Those are modern day dictators, but the history of mankind has been one of servitude and slavery.
Nations rise and fall. Think Greece, Rome, France, and Great Britain. There seems to be a pattern here that is hard to ignore. Great nations seem to rise and sustain themselves at their height of power for about 240 years, and then something begins to happen. They all seem to collapse – not from outside forces such as a military invasion, but from internal strife or self-inflicted suicide, as one writer says.
But before the collapse, there is always a period of “national schizophrenia” where little that is happening in the nation makes sense.
Let’s talk about a few examples. Right now in America the hot topic is “gay marriage.” If you read the papers or watch TV, you might think that this is the most important topic ever discussed in American history.
According to some polls, individuals under 30 years of age believe that people of the same sex have a “constitutional” right to marry. Not only does our constitution provide for this, but it is a “civil right.” Now there is a movement by some gay activist to provide mandatory health insurance coverage to “infertile” gay couples.
The fact that they cannot procreate is an issue of fairness. It would only be fair to these couples if the American taxpayer compensated them for their inability to have children. What am I missing here? What part of this makes sense to you?
We lost a great international leader last week in the person of Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister. This woman led the United Kingdom back from certain collapse to a respected player in the international community.
Yet, upon hearing the news of her death, thousands of British citizens took to the streets to celebrate her death. Without her leadership, these “low-lifes” may have starved to death. Yet, they sullied her name because of her strong anti-socialist stance. This is exactly why the United Kingdom will soon be deposited in the dust bin of history.
In Pennsylvania, a U. S. Army training instructor has classified Catholics and Evangelicals as extremists just like Al-Qaeda or Hamas. The Christian faith has been under attack by the left for years, but now they are emboldened to spout their nonsense and discredited ideology at will, and make no mistake, the left is winning this fight.
Because of Obamacare, many doctors are being driven to bankruptcy, and the labor force has 90,000,000 unemployed people. Last week the labor force lost 663,000 more people, and yet, we are told that we are in an economic recovery. A judge in New York has ruled that the “morning after” pill be available over the counter to people of all ages.
Even Dear Abby has gotten into the act. A reader writes, “My wife is an out bisexual woman.” I did not need to read any further to know that this man’s life, if not already, was about to be filled with problems beyond his comprehension or understanding. Sometimes divorce lawyers are worth the money.
But the most insane idea of all comes from a MSNBC host named Melissa Harris-Perry. “We have to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families. Kids belong to whole communities. and once we realize this we’ll make better ‘investments’ in government ‘education’ of our children.” Substitute “indoctrination” for education.
Did I mention national schizophrenia? We may very well be gasping for our last breath as a nation. That’s the way the left wants it.