• In 1998, neighbors near Hilldale got into a fight over a Pomeranian dog one neighbor owned and the other shot. They went to court, and one of the attorneys subpoenaed me. Reporters usually aren’t subpoenaed, and I complained to Special District Judge Robin Adair that I didn’t know anything except what the parties involved told me, and they ought to be the ones to testify. The Phoenix’s attorney, Ron Wright, convinced the plaintiff’s attorney to relent, but I almost got involved in the murder trial of a Pomeranian named Precious. Darn it.
• After the Arkansas River bridge was knocked down by a barge in 2002 killing 14 people, I walked into a meeting of federal, state, and local transportation and emergency officials. The lead federal investigator asked me who I was and I said I was with the Phoenix. Then he made the announcement that the towboat captain passed out, which led to the accident. But he said, “I don’t want it released to the press yet.” I went to the investigator and told him again who I was, and he accused me of saying I was with the police, not the Phoenix. Some Muskogee County law officers stood up for me, and the Phoenix got that part of the story first.
• In 2001, when the Niña came to Three Forks Harbor, the owners of the replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship allowed one reporter to sail with the ship from Webbers Falls lock and dam to Muskogee. All of you only got to stand on deck where it was moored, but I sailed with the ship. Sorry about that, but there are a few perks with the job.
• Since I like to hike and pick up turtle shells and the old bones and skulls of animals, at one time, I had a little shrine to nature on my desk. I thought it was cool, but my nearest co-worker didn’t like it. She didn’t say anything, though, until I put a horse’s skull on my desk. Then she went to the boss and complained that I was bringing disease into the newsroom. I had to take the skull and most of the bones home, where they weren’t long. My wife made me take them outside.