Photo of Cletus

Cletus Comes Home

The Day Cletus Came Home
Barbie Perkins-Cooper

The crisp coolness of November felt good on my skin as I raked leaves in the backyard. For weeks, I sat around the house feeling guilty over the loss of Cletus. As a foster mom for animals, I took pride in how I cared for them. Never had I lost one until Cletus ran away.

After his escape, my husband and I placed flyers all over the neighborhood hoping someone would read them and recognize Cletus. Several people phoned to say they saw him, chased after him, only to have him run away. A teenager new to the area said he was a fast little guy.

“He’s skittish. Horrified someone might hurt him. That’s why he runs. He’s afraid everyone will brutalize him like the puppy mill owners did before he was rescued. Please, if you see him again, call me. Don’t scare him.”

The boy’s voice cracked. “I’m sorry I scared him.”

“He scares so easily. Maybe we will find him soon.” I thanked the boy, hung up, realizing I did not get his name. How selfish of me.

Later that afternoon, I leashed Shakespeare and Sandy Bear, hoping a brisk walk might refresh my depression and exercise these boys. I carried a brown paper bag of dog food and treats, placing them by St. Andrews Episcopal Church parking lot. When I spoke with an animal communicator a few weeks ago, she suggested leaving food in areas he might be hiding in, so every time I walked, I carried the foods Cletus knew so well. Here, Cleet…Cleet…Little Buddy…Your food is right over here… Here Cleet…Cleet…

I was hopeful he might be nearby and hear me.

Arriving home, I rushed to the front door, placed more dog food in the bowl and refreshed the water bowl. No doubt something was coming by late at night to eat the food. Last night, after another night of insomnia, I checked the front porch at 11:00. The bowl was untouched. At 1:00 the bowl contained a little bit of food. At 3:00 a.m., the bowl was empty. “Please God; let it be Cletus eating the food. Please help me find him.”

I sat in the den, surfing channels on the television watching the sun rise. Shakespeare patted his paw at my foot. So like him to follow me. Never has he cared to be alone in the dark of night. I scooped him up, fluffing the afghan around both of us. “It’s OK, little buddy. Mommy’s all right.”

Moments later, I listened to the roar of Shakespeare snoring in my left ear. In the early dawn of morning, I brewed coffee, turning the light on the front porch on; I prayed Cletus would be asleep there.

Opening the refrigerator, I noticed the calendar. Three weeks ago Cletus ran away. “I probably should post more flyers today, and I’ll phone all of the animal shelters again. Maybe I’ll update them. I doubt we’ll ever find him. He’s probably starved to death by now, unless…” The phone interrupted my thoughts.

Phil wanted to know how I felt. “I’m OK,” I said, tears spilling down my face.

“Let’s do an early movie today. I think you need to get out for a bit.”

After Cletus ran away, I got sick again with acute bronchial asthma. Every day was difficult, without energy, so all I did was rest with the exception of raking the leaves and walking the dogs. My breathing was so short; it took me an hour just to walk the dogs. How I found the energy to do all that I was doing with my body so ill was a question everyone wanted to know.

“I’m a stubborn woman,” I said. “Regardless how I feel, I care for others before caring for myself. All of my life, I’ve cared for others, especially animals and my precious dad. When he died in July 1999, I fell apart. Therapy helped me to realize I must take care of myself first. Easier said than done.

That afternoon, Phil came home early. The wrinkles on his face showed me how worried he was about me. “I’m not taking my phone,” I said, my voice raspier than normally.

“Good,” he said. “You need to stop worrying and relax.”

“Relax? I will relax when I find Cletus. I know he’s out there somewhere, and I cannot find him no matter what I do. It just isn’t fair. I promised to be a responsible foster. Instead, I let him down, so he ran away.”

“He didn’t run away from you. He wanted his freedom, just like the animal communicator said. He wanted to see the world.”

“I know…It’s just easier for me to take the blame.”

Phil gathered his keys, locked the door and off we went to enjoy an early movie. I cannot remember what movie we saw, or what we had for dinner. My thoughts were with Cletus – wherever he was. Arriving home, my neighbor rushed to the car.

“Did you get my message?” She squealed. “Cletus was found. We have him on our porch.”

I burst into tears. “Are you kidding me?”

“No,” she said. “Come with me.”

Neighbors stood around the front porch. “He’s growling. He won’t let anyone touch him.”

I opened the gate of the crate, placing my hands slowly inside while whispering, “Cleet…Cleet…Hey, Little Buddy.”

Cletus moved his paw to touch my hand. I smiled, moving my hand closer to him.

“Look at that,” my neighbor said. “He let you touch him. Every time I tried, he acted like he wanted to bite me.”

“He doesn’t bite…He’s frightened.” I curled my arms around his body, moving him from the crate. He snuggled closer to me, staring at me – as if to say, I’m home.

Carrying him tightly in my arms, we walked inside the house. Sandy Bear rushed to greet us. “Look who’s back.” I said. “Cleet…Cleet…Our Little Buddy is home.”

I placed Cletus on the floor. “Welcome Home, little Buddy,” I whispered. Cletus walked away, dropping his exhausted body on the pillow he slept in before he ran away. At feeding time, he sniffed his bowl, turned away, only to rush back, eating every bite.

“Welcome Home, Little Buddy,” I said, rubbing his ears. “You’re home and safe now. “ Welcome Home.”

Hanks, the Tank...At Last, he has a happy home!

Some Days Are Better Left Unsaid

Dearest Readers:

Some days are better left unsaid, or forgotten. Such was the case yesterday, November 9, 2015. The morning started with a discovery that the tarp protecting our roof from further damage after the catastrophic rains of October 2 – October 5 in Charleston, SC was missing in certain areas. Waking my husband up, I rushed around the house, covering furniture, sopping up the puddles of rainwater, covering the furnishings with plastic – still waiting for my husband to crawl out of bed. When we awoke, he looked at the living room, noticing the tents of plastic covering the sofas.

“What happened?” He groaned.

“I suppose the gusting winds we had yesterday and this morning blew the tarp loose, and now it is pouring outside once again. Will this rain NEVER stop? What a dreadful way to begin the early morning.”

Our insurance adjuster was scheduled to come to the house that afternoon to review the damage and determine IF we had wind and hail damage. Meanwhile, the house was a mess due to the plastic tents pitched in several places, and the wet ceilings. I wanted to run away.

My husband phoned work, taking the day off to get the tarp covered again. About 9:00 the phone rang. The insurance adjuster needed to reschedule due to the heavy rains. Another day shot, I thought.

Deciding Monday was not a day to worry about cleaning the house like I normally do on Monday’s, I rested. My body is so exhausted from these torrential rains and a home not exactly in the condition I desire it to be. During the rains of October, my ability to sleep was almost non-existent. Just how much stress can one tolerate?

Later that afternoon, the roof was covered again. The rain was only a light mist now. We ate dinner in the den, settling in for the night to watch “Dancing With the Stars,” and to relax to the point I could finally sleep.

About 9:30, I walked to the door of the back of the house to let the dogs inside. Surprise! They were nowhere in sight. I glanced towards the gate — opened. My heart did flip-flops. Rushing outside, standing on the dark street filled with a thick gray blanket of fog, I called for them. No response. I listened to the darkness of night. I heard a clicking noise – the sound dog collars with tags make when the dog runs. Moments later, Hanks rushes to me. Next was Toby, and finally Shakespeare. I gathered them up, let them in the house and wanted to choke my husband for leaving the gate open.

Why was the gate open?

Earlier that evening my husband unlocked the back gate, leaving it open so he could get something from his car. He failed to close the gate, so when I let the dogs out, I did not check to make certain the gate was closed. Trust me, I will from this day forward!

I screamed for my husband to come help me find the dogs. Of course, he was clueless, unable to hear my screams. Rushing back inside with three of the dogs, I screamed once again. This time, my husband who is ALWAYS glued to the TV, heard me.

“What the Hell is wrong with you?” He shouted.

“You left the d— gate open. Now I’ve got to find the rest of the dogs.” How I wanted to jump on him for becoming so forgetful once again. Instead, I grabbed my bag and car keys. Rushing outside, dressed in my PJ’s and slippers, I drove off. I rolled all the windows down screaming for my remaining dogs – missing. I wanted them to hear me, and I listened carefully to see IF I could hear them.

“Just where do I go?” I spoke aloud, hoping God could hear me.

A voice spoke to me, so I drove on Simmons Street, shouting their names. “Here, Shadow. Here Sandy Bear…Here boys.”

I prayed I would not see a blonde or a solid black dog laying on the roads. I saw a boy walking along the streets, so I asked him if he’d seen a black or a blonde dog.

“No. I ain’t seen nothing,” he responded.

I thanked him and continued my search. I prayed for God to guide me.

“Drive in the direction you always walk them.” God spoke to me. I turned the car, heading in the directions the dogs were accustomed to walking with me.

By now, I’m certain my neighbors must think I’ve completely lost my mind. All of them know to bring animals to me if something happens to one. There have been many times someone rang my doorbell asking me if I knew who the lost animal belonged to. Each time, I’ve managed to find the owners. Sometimes it pays to be active with the Neighborhood Crime Watch.

As I am shouting for Sandy Bear and Shadow, I hear sirens. Please God, don’t let them be coming after me, or rushing to a car accident with animals involved.

Or, could it be someone has reported a woman driving an unfamiliar car around and around while shouting out the car windows? “Please God, don’t let them be coming to arrest me.”

Cars are behind me now, so I pull over, almost dropping my right wheel in a ditch. Moaning a few more expletives, I’m certain I’ve already reached my weekly allowance of ‘dirty words’ on this night. Always wishing to be in control of my temper and character, when something goes wrong I have the tendency to ‘lose my dignity with my off-color language’ when I am angry at my husband and his forgetfulness. Tonight was no exception.

“Heavenly Father,” I prayed, tears rolling down my cheeks. “Please help me find Shadow and Sandy Bear soon. Sandy Bear doesn’t like the dark of night, and he doesn’t like to walk far from the house. Please, dear God, guide me to where they are.”

Again, I shout for Shadow and Sandy Bear. At the end of the road by the stop sign, I imagine something dark on the road. “It can’t be…”

I inhaled. Exhaled. “Shadow…Here Boy.”

I hear a bark. The image in the road rushes closer to me, running at a fast pace. I place the car in Park. Open the drivers’ door, forgetting to remove my seat belt. As the door opens, Shadow jumps inside!

Tears rush down my face. “Thank you, God. Thank you so much!”

Shadow hops into the passenger seat. Jumping around with excitement, or could he be overjoyed with gratitude, I hug him tight, noticing his fur is soaked and muddy, and he has a nasty smelling odor. I was curious as to what he thought while running around the neighborhood. Did he recall the sad memories of abandonment when he was left in the dark of night at an animal shelter in Georgia? If only I could dig deeper into his mind, just to communicate his thoughts.

“Just where have you been, boy?” Shadow licks my face. Driving, I pet his head. “Was Sandy Bear with you, boy? Do you know where he is?”

We drive around the block. My husband is walking around with a flashlight. “I found Shadow,” I scream at him, letting him know what street he was found. Turning in the direction of the area where Sandy Bear and I walk, I remember how skittish he gets while walking. I’m convinced he must be nearby. The night is dark with a thick, blanket of fog. It is difficult to make out images nearby, but I’m determined. I will not lose my animals again like I did when our little buddy Cletus escaped.

While driving and screaming Sandy Bear’s name, I think of what I must do in the event I do not find him tonight. I’ll make a poster, include his picture and I’ll put it on Facebook. Tomorrow morning, I’ll post flyers all over the neighborhood. Please God, let me find Sandy Bear. It is so damp out here. He must be horrified and cold.

I drive around the block once again, still screaming Sandy Bear’s name. The fog is so thick now; one could cut it with a knife. I hear a familiar sound, hoping it is Sandy Bear barking this time and not a neighbor’s dog. “Sandy Bear,” I scream. “Is that you barking?”

I glance at the stop sign I am approaching. I see a shadow. Blonde. Small, shaped like Sandy Bear, and I squint my eyes, hoping to make out the image. I hear a familiar bark.

“Sandy Bear,” I squeal! He rushes towards me. This time, I jump out of the car, closing the door hoping Shadow will not jump out. Looking back at Shadow, I see he is not moving! His black fur is curled up on the seat, probably hoping he will soon be safe at home.

I scoop Sandy Bear into my arms. He is soaked, with mud and a musty smell. Just WHERE have you been? I hold him close, placing him next to Shadow. I see my husband walking in the middle of the road.

“I found them,” I shout to him. He rushes to the car. As soon as he gets inside, he apologizes. I do believe this is a first for him. Vietnam Veterans with PTSD have difficulty with apologies. Although I wanted to scream at him, to beat his chest with my fists, I do not. “Apology accepted,” I smile – that devious smile I give him that says so much without uttering a word.

“What is that smell?” He asks.

“They’ve been somewhere they shouldn’t be. I’ll bathe them when we get home.”

Rushing into the house, I prepare both dogs for a bath, removing my smelly night shirt.

At bedtime, both dogs smell delicious. As soon as they jump up on the bed, they fall asleep. Early this morning, all of my precious family sleeps together, in the same positions and locations where they fell asleep. “Welcome Home, Boys. Do you want to go potty?” None of them respond. They must be exhausted. I laugh, so thankful to have them safe at home. I kiss each one of them good morning while I walk to the kitchen for coffee.

I glance out the garden window in the kitchen. “Thank you, God for a new day, a special day of thanksgiving with my precious family, and for my husband! Now — If only you could do something about his forgetful ways!”

South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival, Myrtle Beach, November 26-28


South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival, Myrtle Beach, November 26-28

The South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival is an indoor show that draws fans from throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada for a “Who’s Who” array of traditional bluegrass talent.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC, November 2, 2015 – Jimmy Fortune along with Dailey & Vincent, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Marty Raybon, The Lonesome River Band and The Spinney Brothers headline this terrific talent lineup announced by promoters Adams Bluegrass, LLC, for the 46th Annual South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival, the Palmetto State’s oldest, largest, and best bluegrass event. The Thanksgiving weekend extravaganza of family fun and American music is slated for November 26-28, 2015 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, located at 2101 North Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SC. This is the world’s premier late fall Bluegrass Festival. This indoor show draws fans from throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada for a “Who’s Who” array of traditional bluegrass talent.

This year’s talent lineup begins Thursday at 12:00 noon and goes until 10:00 p.m. with Flatt Lonesome (IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year), Al Batten & The Bluegrass Reunion, The Spinney Brothers, Big Country Bluegrass, Feller & Hill and The Bluegrass Buckaroos, and The Grascals (IBMA Entertainers of The Year 2006 and 2007).

Friday’s lineup of talent begins at 12:00 noon and goes until 10:30 p.m. featuring Ted Jones & The Tarheel Boys, Lonesome River Band, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Goldwing Express, Marty Raybon & Full Circle (formerly with the country group Shenandoah) and Old Friends, (Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams).

The Myrtle Beach Festival reaches its crescendo from 12:00 noon until 10:30 p.m. on Saturday with The Malpass Brothers, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, The Little Roy & Lizzy Show, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (Seven Time Vocal Group & Gospel Recorded Performance of The Year), Jimmy Fortune Trio (formerly with The Statler Brothers and Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee) will perform two sets. Dailey & Vincent (IBMA Entertainers of the Year 2008-2010) will perform one 90 minute show beginning at 8:30 p.m. and Jimmy
Fortune will perform with Dailey & Vincent beginning at 9:30 p.m.

The luxurious accommodations at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center includes a large area for great jam sessions, and modern facilities all within walking distance of many hotels and motels.

TICKETS: Reserved Seat Tickets: Reserved Individual: Adult $45 Per Day (Thursday, Friday or Saturday). Children: 7-15 $25 Per Day; 3 day Reserved Adult: $95, Children $50. General Admission Tickets: Individual Adult $40 Per Day, Children $20 Per Day, 3 day Adult General Admission $90, Children $45 for General Admission with under 7 free with parents.

Reserved and general admission tickets will be sold at the Convention Center Box Office during the festival opening at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

For Tickets or More Information go to or call: (706) 864-7203 Adams Bluegrass, LLC
Convention Center (843) 918-1225

– END –

Phone: (706) 265-0655

Adams Bluegrass LLC
32 Park Street North, Dahlonega, GA 30533
Web:, Phone: (706) 864-7203


Event Date: November 26-28, 2015
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Means Bluegrass on November 26-28
Jimmy Fortune along with Dailey & Vincent, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Marty Raybon, The Lonesome River Band and The Spinney Brothers headline this terrific talent lineup announced by promoters Adams Bluegrass, LLC, for the 46th Annual South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival, the Palmetto State’s oldest, largest, and best bluegrass event. The Thanksgiving weekend extravaganza of family fun and American music is slated for November 26-28, 2015 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, located at 2101 North Oak St., SC. This is the world’s premier late fall Bluegrass Festival. This indoor show draws fans from throughout the eastern half of the United States and Canada for a “Who’s Who” array of traditional bluegrass talent.
TICKETS: Reserved Seat Tickets: Reserved Individual: Adult $45 Per Day (Thursday, Friday or Saturday). Children: 7-15 $25 Per Day; 3 day Reserved Adult: $95, Children $50. General Admission Tickets: Individual Adult $40 Per Day, Children $20 Per Day, 3 day Adult General Admission $90, Children $45 for General Admission with under 7 free with parents. Reserved and general admission tickets will be sold at the Convention Center Box Office during the festival opening at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. For Tickets or More Information go to or call: (706) 864-7203 Adams Bluegrass, LLC. Convention Center (843) 918-1225

The Top 10 Workout Songs for November 2015


The Top 10 Workout Songs for November 2015

Fort Wayne, IN – November 2, 2015 – The autumn is an excellent time to find new music. In the summer, Top 40 artists are all over the radio, competing for the season’s biggest song. In winter, the year’s biggest releases are competing for your holiday dollars. In between, the competition dies down a bit—making room for new acts to seize control of the charts and the gym.

In this month’s mix, you’ll find a social media-powered hit from Madison Beer, one of the fastest rap tracks in recent memory from Shy Carter, and a pop track from Pitch Perfect 2 star Hailee Steinfeld. Additionally, the month’s most popular track comes from Jess Glynne—the vocalist from Clean Bandit’s multi-platinum smash “Rather Be.” In with the newcomers, you’ll find two big comebacks—a single from Joe Jonas’ new group DNCE and a collaboration between Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott.

Even with most of the heavyweights out of the running this month, there was still plenty of action on the charts. Moreover, without reputations on they can rely, tracks by new acts have to battle their way to the top on merits alone. Since only the catchiest, newest songs made the cut, the 10 tracks below should be perfect for freshening up your current workout mix.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

John Newman & Charlie Wilson – Tiring Game – 128 BPM

Ellie Goulding – On My Mind – 78 BPM

Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love – 122 BPM

DNCE – Cake by the Ocean – 119 BPM

Madison Beer & Jack & Jack – All for Love – 121 BPM

Hailee Steinfeld – Love Myself – 124 BPM

Shy Carter & Aleon Craft – Bring It Back – 152 BPM

Demi Lovato – Confident – 130 BPM

Janet Jackson & Missy Elliott – BURNITUP! – 124 BPM

Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand – 123 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred

Photo of Cletus

The Adventures of Cletus Cleet, Cleet Runs Away

The Adventures of Cletus
Cleet, Cleet Runs Away
Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Copyright ©2012 Barbie Perkins-Cooper, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 8, 2012, was a bitter day, with an early and cold winter’s chill, the first for the fall in Charleston, South Carolina. The morning sunshine could not warm the grounds of the coastal area where Cletus rested. He sniffed the coldness under his belly. Shivering, he was so tired, weak and getting thinner every day.

How long has it been since he ran away? Although he struggled to remember, his brain was tired from so many nights of little sleep. He dug deeper under the house. He heard the noise of a motor. Someone’s coming. I need to hide. She might see me again and this time, she might catch me.

With his docked tail tucked between his legs, he rushed away. The dark skinned lady with white hair knew where he hid at night. She tried without luck to catch him, but he always managed to move quicker than her crimpled body would permit. Her arthritic legs would not bend so she could stoop down to get him. Cletus knew how to outsmart humans. Yes, they were taller than he was. Bigger, and humans had long arms that stretched out with fingers that felt more like shovels than something warm to touch him. His sandy blonde and cream colored fur usually kept him warm, but this morning it was cold in Mt. Pleasant.

Cletus looked back as he moved. Why can’t I run like I did when I ran away? Why is every step feeling like I will fall and never get up?

Cletus crept down under the bushes. She could not see him here. “Here little puppy. Come here to me. I got some food for you. You look so skinny. I just want to feed you little puppy.” The lady walked with a cane, dragging it behind her as she shook the food bowl. For three early mornings, Cletus ate the food, warm with runny looking yellow grains of corn, oats, bread, egg, and other ingredients. Cletus didn’t care what it was. He ate every bite, wanting more.

Cletus heard the softness of a human voice before, at the house where he escaped. The woman living there was blonde, with big green eyes, colorful red fingernails and a sweet sounding voice, and a great smile. Every time Cletus looked at her, she smiled at him. Yes, her voice was a nicer tone than before…in the puppy mill. When Cletus lived there all he ever heard was a harsh shouting of Move…get on over there…do your work boy…now get! Cletus knew what to do, and he rushed away before the bald headed man with a belly that jiggled every time he moved, turned the water hose on again. He didn’t want to get wet again. The waters stung him every time they hit his tiny body. The waters made him feel like he was drowning. He didn’t want to drown. He hated when the man picked up the shovel, grabbed him, throwing him into the next kennel where a frightened girl dog shook next to him. He wanted to hear the soft voice again…the gentle voice and the sweet words, “Cleet…Cleet…Come on Little Buddy. It’s OK. No one will hurt you here.”

Cleetus curled into a ball to get warm. His tired eyes closed. Cleet. Cleet. He dreamed. The soft, musical voice of a woman soothed his tired, emaciated body. Cleet….Cleet…Hi, Little Buddy. It’s ok. No one will ever hurt you here. Your sadness ends, starting today.

Isn’t that what the blonde headed human said when she met him? The day he left Maddy, his little black schnauzer friend, and the vet’s office? Yes, she called me Cleet…Cleet. I didn’t know what it meant, so I jumped out of her arms. Humans hurt. I was afraid she might hurt me while smiling at me. If only I could find my way back to the place. The red brick house with a gold car in the front and a white ornament next to it. There were trees in the yard. Sweet Jasmine. A magnolia tree. Dogs…Dogs barked at me. Dogs played with me. Dogs told me I would be happy here. One dog, a salt and pepper color talked to me, telling me I would be happy here, but he said I had to learn the rules. Try not to poop on the floor. If you have to poop, do it on the doggie papers, or wait until you’re outside. Cletus didn’t like the outside. He didn’t like rules. He wanted to make his decisions. He was scared.

The world outside is a cold, cruel world. Cars are on the road. Kids rush around and on bikes. Bells rang during the day from a big brick building with lots of children. When they’re on bikes, they play games, trying to run over me. Just like today. A boy in a gray hoodie and jeans rode on a bike. When he saw me on the sidewalk, he darted over to me. “Get out of the way you stupid dog.” The bike tires caught up to Cletus, but he ran, not as fast as before; he managed to scatter away from the bike, bumping into a fence. The gate was open. Cletus rushed to the corner of the fence, waiting for the boy to come after him. The boy stopped the bike. “Stupid dog. You’re nothing but a scaredy cat! You know I can’t go back there. Stupid…stupid dog!”

Cletus took a deep breath. He fell fast asleep. If only he could find his way back to the red brick house.

Dreaming again, he thought of the place he left. If only he hadn’t been so curious. Walking around the fence, he found a loose piece of wood. His feet scratched at it. The soil was soft. Before he knew it, the hole was big enough for him to slide through. He looked back, at the door. The blonde headed lady with a sweet voice wasn’t there. Cletus wasn’t certain he should leave, but something inside of him said Run. Go on. Set yourself free…where humans can’t hurt you. Go…Run!

The dogs told him he was in a safe house. Shakespeare, the alpha dog, teased him, but he could tell that Shakespeare, Sandy Bear, and Shadow were happy in the red house. Shakespeare didn’t know what a cruel world it was. Sandy Bear knew. Sandy Bear was the same color of Cletus. He told Cletus he might want to give these humans a chance. Sandy Bear barked, “If you give her a chance, you’ll love her. She pets you. She rubs your belly, and at night, she lets you snuggle up close to her. Sometimes she sings to us. We watch TV together. Sometimes we watch doggie shows, and she laughs, telling us Doggies on TV. And if you’re scared when storms happen, she’ll hold you close and sing to you. Such a soft and sweet voice, you’ll feel safe and warm. She doesn’t raise her hands to hit you, and she’ll give you treats and make sure you eat well. There’s no violence here. Ever.”

Shakespeare jumped. “Violence?” He barked. “What’s violence?”

“Oh get real,” Shadow interrupted. “Don’t you know what violence is? I forgot – you came to this house when you were a puppy. No one’s ever been mean to you.” Shadow was midnight black, a giant schnauzer that loved to jump high in the air. Tall with wiry fur that shined in the sun, Shadow pranced around with grace. “Violence is when humans throw their hands up and hit you. Sometimes they’ll kick you with their big feet with hard shoes. And sometimes they’ll get a shovel, and poke it at you. Sometimes the shovel cuts. It hurts. Humans don’t give you food. And if you tear up things, they’ll take you for a ride and drop you off somewhere. You’ll end up sleeping outside in the dark of night. Alone. You’ll have to find your own food. Maybe that’s why I love to catch squirrels. Humans are mean. But Mommy and Daddy, well, they’re from a different world. The sweet lady I call Mommy has a pretty smile. They drove all the way to Georgia to rescue me. They let me sleep on a soft and warm blanket in the back seat and drove a long ways to bring me here. I met Shakespeare and Sandy Bear when we arrived. They told me to let these humans love me, but Shakespeare said, he was first…the most important and alpha dog. He gets the most attention. At least he thinks he does. Never have I seen these humans hit any of us. They sit with us on the floor when feeding us. I’ve never seen a human do that. And the lady? She walks us, but she won’t allow us to chase squirrels. I guess that’s the only bad thing I can say. She wants us to behave and prance around with grace. She combs us. Heck, she even sings to us. This house is a good and happy place to live. You’ll learn to find out what love is.”

“Love?” Cletus barked. “What’s love?”

“Oh silly. Hush,” Sandy Bear spoke. “Love is something that makes you feel warm and toasty inside. Just like you feel after eating a good meal. I fell in love with Mommy when she looked into my eyes after rescuing me. She rubbed my floppy ears, smiled and kissed my forehead. She told me I was going to a new home with her and some more doggies who would play with me. She said I’d have a warm, fluffy bed and a soft blanket to sleep on. Mommy gives us all attention. If she feeds one, she feeds us all. She even sits in the floor with us, to make certain we all eat and no one steals the food. This family will give you a good life, Cletus. You might be sorry if you escape.”

Cletus turned to look at all of them. “Don’t you want to go with me, guys? I can dig a deeper hole, Shadow.”

Barking in unison, they sang, “No. Don’t go, Cletus. Don’t go!”

Cletus rushed away. Shakespeare poked his head out, watching him as he ran away. “You’ll be sorry!”

Sandy Bear rushed to the back door, barking a high pitch. “Mommy. Help!” Mommy!”
Sandy Bear jumped by the window. Mommy wasn’t there. “But she’s always here,” he barked. “She sits there and has her hands working across some silly board with a big picture screen on a shelf.”

“Computer, stupid,” Shakespeare grumbled. “Mommy’s always at the computer.”

“Not now,” Sandy Bear barked.

“I hear her,” Shadow shouted. “See. She had to get some coffee.”

“Mommy!” Sandy Bear screamed. “Help Cletus!”

The door opened. The dogs rushed inside. “What’s all that barking for? Where’s Cletus?” Mommy said. “Cleet…Cleet…Here Cleet Cleet. Here Little Buddy…”

Cletus was gone. Escaping into the sidewalks, woods, bushes, roads, and shrubs of the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

Mommy rushed around the back yard, looking, sighing, singing, “Cletus…Here Cleet…Cleet. Come here, Cleet…Cleet…Mommy won’t hurt you.”

Cletus heard her sobs but he kept running. No one will ever mistreat me again, He cried.

Later, as Cletus frolicked along the sidewalks, he chased squirrels. He drank from a stream. He heard sounds from a school. Children on bicycles. His eyes widened. Quickly he dove into the shrubs. The ground was warm. For the first time in his sad life, Cletus felt safe. He curled his body into a tightly woven frame and slept, the first real sleep he felt in much too long. When he awoke, it was dark. He listened. Only the sounds of night were around. An owl on a tree. A cat meowed a frightening sound. A fog horn hummed along the coast. Cletus heard a growl recognizing it was his stomach.

I should’ve caught that squirrel. I could’ve had a nice meal with him. I’m hungry. Maybe I should go back. He stood, rushing away from the shrubs. Which way do I go? Oh no. I’m lost. Help me. Shadow. Shakespeare, Sandy Bear — where are you?

The next morning, Cletus awoke lost and frightened. He heard a familiar voice.

“Cleet…Cleet…Here Cleet…Cleet.”

He ignored it. He sniffed the familiar scents of Shakespeare and Shadow, choosing not to respond.

I’ll be all right. The world is a big place. I don’t need humans to take care of me. No one will mistreat me again. Ever! I am free. Tears rushed down his face.

“Here Cleet Cleet…Little buddy…”

Cletus lifted his head. She’s here. He lifted his tired body, praying she would not hear his growling stomach. He sniffed. That smells like her.

Moving closer, he heard the school bells ringing. Cletus dropped to the ground.

“Come here, little Buddy. I’ve got you some food. Aren’t you hungry?” She shook a brown bag dropping it. Cletus sniffed. Food!

Shivering, Cletus did not move. If he moved or made a sound, she could grab him. He was tired of people thrashing their long, extended arms to him, only to hit him or push him around. The lady seemed nice, but he was still afraid what she might do. He let out a gentle sigh falling into an exhausted sleep as the lady turned and walked away.

The next morning, Cletus sniffed the bag, finding kernels of dog food. He tore the bag open, eating every bite, hoping she would return soon.


Top 10 Workout Songs for October 2015


The Top 10 Workout Songs for October 2015

Fort Wayne, IN – October 6, 2015 – In a workout playlist, balance is key. Too much familiarity can be boring. At the same time, too much novelty can be jarring. Getting the right ratio often takes a little work, but the songs voted into this month’s top 10 list manage the feat naturally.
Starting with the familiar side, the list features singles from Macklemore, Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, and Pharrell—all of whom shot onto the charts following their performances at the Video Music Awards. On the fresh side, there’s a masterpiece of sass from Tink and a lightning-fast rocker from Fenech-Soler. Somewhere in the middle, you’ll find hits from Andy Grammer and X Ambassadors reinvented as a country song and a club track, respectively.
Not every month produces a mix varied so perfectly for a workout. Moreover, as we edge closer to winter, the days fit for moving outdoors will start getting scarce. So, don’t let October’s bounty go to waste: grab some new tunes and get out among the leaves.
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee & Grandmaster Caz – Downtown – 110 BPM

Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean? – 125 BPM

Kaskade – Never Sleep Alone – 127 BPM

Tink & Tazer – Wet Dollars – 124 BPM

Fenech-Soler – Last Forever – 171 BPM

Nick Jonas – Levels – 102 BPM

Pharrell – Freedom – 95 BPM

Andy Grammer & Eli Young Band – Honey, I’m Good. – 123 BPM

Zedd & Jon Bellion – Beautiful Now (Big Gigantic Remix) – 148 BPM

X Ambassadors – Renegades (Astrolith Remix) – 115 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred

The Calvin Gilmore Theater is open and ready to entertain!

For Immediate Release
October 6, 2015
(843) 913-1453

The Calvin Gilmore Theater is open and ready to entertain!

The Calvin Gilmore Theater extends deepest sympathies to those affected by the recent flooding in South Carolina. Fortunately, The Calvin Gilmore Theater was not damaged in any way and our parking lot is free and clear. The theater is open and all shows are running as usual. Calvin Gilmore adds, “We survived Hugo in 1989 and now we have survived the Thousand-Year-Flood. In the great show biz tradition—the show must go on!”

More About the TCO Show

Gilmore Entertainment has long been the leader of musical variety show entertainment in the Southeast, with the classic TCO show (The Carolina Opry) and their newest hits, Time Warp and Thunder and Light. Gilmore and his shows have been featured by USA Today, ABC Nightly News, Southern Living Magazine, Variety and a host of other newspapers and television shows. TCO is the only Myrtle Beach show to receive the coveted South Carolina Governor’s Cup, as well as being voted South Carolina’s Most Outstanding Attraction. In recent years, Gilmore has performed regularly on The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and he is designated as South Carolina’s Official Country Music Ambassador.

For further information contact:
Jordan Watkins • 843-913-1453

Rainy Days…Rainy Nights…Will Charleston, SC EVER See Sunshine Again?

Dearest Readers:

As I glance outside at the window by my desk, I see gray skies…Raindrops are dripping slowly to the ground. Trees are covered with so much moisture, they almost lose their color. The mimosa trees drip with a grayish color as if to say they are sick and tired of this rain and don’t want to see or feel anymore! Pine trees are leaning over a bit. These pine trees are the seeds I planted after Hurricane Hugo, so the two that grew are just a bit special for me. My husband gripes about them always saying he plans to cut them down. Pine trees are reminiscent to me, reminding me of my childhood in Georgia. How frightened I would become while laying on the grass, noting their height and strength. I always feared those pine trees might pop and fall on top of me. Nevertheless, pine trees are prevalent in Georgia. I remind my grumpy husband that we lost five trees in our yard after Hurricane Hugo. Again, he grunts knowing that IF he cuts those trees down, he will have to deal with me – an unhappy woman sad that her little children of trees are gone due to his selfishness. We have three mimosa trees in the back yard now – planted from seeds from the hands of Mother Nature. How I love those mimosa trees, although today the branches are leaning down. Perhaps they weigh a bit too much now from all of this monsoon rain. Perhaps later, I will slide my rain boots on and walk outside, just to touch the tree branches I’ve watched growing from a tiny seedling to the height of 20′ – maybe a bit less. I’m much too short to measure them! I want those precious trees soaked and probably curious from the hands and moisture of Mother Sunshine to understand I still love them, and I want them to flourish. All in time. I am hopeful this monsoon rain will end soon…and just when I think I might see a bit of relief, I glance outside again to see sheets of rain. My yards are so wet I would not dare to walk outside in my stiletto or pump high heels. No doubt if I made the attempt, my feet would stick in the sandy moisture and pull me downwards. I don’t want to get soaked or dirty. I have a thing about dirt under my nails, but enough about that.

Last week, the rains began – at least I think it was last week. On Wednesday, Tammy, Sara, Chris and I walked the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. It was a humid, gray morning with only a slight breath of wind. Walking up the first incline, I struggled with my breath, stopping several times to use my inhaler. I encouraged the girls to go ahead.
My asthma is leaving me a bit short-winded today. Go ahead, I’ll be fine.”

I stopped several times, just to catch my breath. I counted the lamp posts, telling myself that If I made it to the last lamppost at the first twin towers, I would rest, and I did. Still, I pushed myself, anticipating the approaching rains. I am proud to say, I accomplished my walk – but it appeared to take me forever. Thank you so much, silly asthma. How I wish I did not have asthma, although it is something I have battled all of my life.

For me, there is something magical I feel while walking the bridge. DSC_0033

While walking — sometimes it appears I am crawling, up the first incline, I feel as if God is pushing me, guiding me, telling me – take just one more step. You can do this! And so I do. I believe it doesn’t matter how long it takes. All that does matter is I am taking baby steps to my health. I am accomplishing something I’ve always said I would do “One Day,” after the bridge opened in 2005. I see walkers, runners, bikers, strollers, and I’ve seen a few walkers walking dogs (you do realize dogs are not permitted on the bridge – don’t you?) On one morning, a dog left a calling card. I missed stepping on it by just a few baby steps. Honestly, some people love to break the rules, don’t they!

I suppose you could say I believe in breaking rules – sometimes; however, I am considerate of others. I do not take my dogs on my walk. Accomplishing that bridge walk is something I take extremely seriously. I don’t want interruptions. Now that we have about three to five women walking with us, we all move at our pace. We don’t compete. We encourage, and If one of us gets behind like “slow poke Barbie” a nickname I’ve given myself — we text to make certain all is ok. These women are the greatest! Did I mention one of them is a high school friend from — let’s say — a few years ago in another town? Her name is Melanie. In high school, we were not close friends, and that is all my fault. When I was in high school, the only thing I wanted was to graduate and leave my childhood home. I failed to make close friends, only wanting to get out of Bibb City and the traumas of my youth.

Now, a different place. A different time. A different woman. I am proud of the woman I have grown into in my adult life. Gone is the wallflower. Gone is the child afraid to speak up. Replaced by someone who speaks her mind, believes in herself and is proud for the small accomplishments I have achieved. Finally, I can smile, look in the mirror and say, “Hey woman…You’ve got this! You is smart. You is determined, and you Is a better person for breaking that mold!” Thank you, God!

So today, I suppose is a day to reminisce…to ease the gloominess of all of this rain. A day to erase all of the past, or should I say — a day to WASH the past away!

Glancing out my window again, the rain has stopped. I am confident it will start again. I’ve lost count as to how much rain we’ve had, but I imagine it is close to 15 inches, possibly more.

I imagine the mosquitoes will be increasing now, along with the disgusting mold, mildew and ragweed. Wouldn’t it be nice IF the ragweed was washed away. I think I’m looking forward to a day where I awaken to the sunshine peeping thru the windows. I am so sick of all of this rain.

It is time for all of us to smell the flowers…inhale the scent of fresh rain…and to move on with our lives.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Treadmill vs. Walking the Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Dearest Readers:

Today is a bit humid, compared to the crisp fall air I felt yesterday while walking on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Walking with two of my friends, I had just a bit of difficulty walking today, stopping twice to use my inhaler.

I detest when I must use an inhaler; nevertheless, since I am an asthmatic, I must stop when my breathing is difficult. I suppose today was a challenge since the humidity has returned to Charleston. Maybe it was challenging because I still remember the bullying effects of children who laughed at me whenever I had an asthma attack as a child. Sometimes children can be so cruel.

I am an advocate for walking since I have walked for years. As a child, I walked ten miles to school. Walking has never been an issue for me, even with asthma. Walking inspires me. When I walk on the treadmill, I work out the difficulties of writing. If I think of an unusual line or character, I stop the treadmill and jot it down. Walking on the bridge is different. Why? There is a 4.1% incline. Anyone who has attempted the bridge can understand how difficult it might be IF you are not accustomed to walking. I have flat feet. Probably the flattest feet ever! Nevertheless, when I walk, I thrust these flat feet to keep moving. My friends say my ankles turn inward. Don’t ask me. I cannot see them. No, they do not hurt. After all, these are my feet. No one understands them better than I do. And I STILL wear my platform heels, just not on the bridge!

Today while walking on that gorgeous, breathtaking bridge, I logged 22 floors, 69 active minutes, walking 4.95 miles and 9,242 steps. I will meet my goal of 10,000 steps daily today! Walking on the treadmill, my Fitbit One numbers would be something like:
0 floors
40 minutes active (provided the Fitbit counts these activity points on the treadmill). Sometimes it does, other times – it does not.
4 miles (maybe)
6700 steps

Apparently, I’m getting a better workout on the bridge than on the treadmill. Walking on the bridge is a goal I have set for weekly. On the days I do not walk the bridge, I will probably do the treadmill. My goal is to work out five days weekly. Wish me luck!

To those who haven’t walked the bridge, I encourage you to do it, especially if you are planning a trip to Charleston. There is something magical when walking on it. I do not focus on the traffic since I was hit by a car as a child. The view is the greatest view of the Charleston Harbor. Walking on the bridge, I do my best to reach the first tower, and then I stop to rest on the concrete bench. Next goal – the second twin tower. My final goal is to walk the entire bridge down to East Bay Street — just like I did the FIRST TIME I walked the bridge.

Today was a bit of a challenge for me — nevertheless, I did it! Next week, I must remember to use my preventative inhaler before I leave the house. Breathing will be so much easier IF I pay attention to my body and do what I know I should do.

Here’s a toast to continuing walking on this magnificent bridge even with my crazy FLAT FEET.

In Remembrance – 9-11-01

Dearest Readers:

Fourteen years ago on this date, I awoke, deciding not to listen to the morning news. I suppose I was tired of ‘shootings…crimes…rapes…murders…’ all of the ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ stories. Sipping a fresh cup of coffee, I turned my computer on to write. The screaming phone broke the silence.

My husband asked, “I know you always watch the news, so I wanted you to know we are all OK here.”

“I decided to ignore the news this morning. Whatever are you talking about?”

“Turn on the TV. A jet just crashed into the World Trade Center.”

My heart skipped a beat. Sporadic news reports were pouring in from people sharing cell phone reports, voice mails, and horrors.

“Oh my God,” I remember saying aloud in my home. “This isn’t just an airplane crashing. This is an act of war.”

Never did I realize how true my words were.

Every year on this date of remembrance, I am sad for two reasons. On 9-11-01, the world stopped moving due to the shock of the terrorist attacks in America. On 9-11-02, my mother died – unexpectedly, under questionable circumstances. When I received news of her death, a cold, uncalculated family member said, “She died on 9-11.”

“NOT THE 9-11,” I said.

The morning sun shined brightly on 9-11 in Charleston, SC. While watching the news, I watched the beautiful skyline of New York City turn from a beautiful sky blue, dissolving to a faded gray. Plumes of gray smoke covered the area from a day of beauty to a day of darkness.

Watching the TV, somehow I knew this was not an accidental crash but a premeditated attempt at terrorism. Just how could a jet crash into a historical skyscraper? How?

Reports continued pouring in as another jet hit the other tower. Additional reports included not only the Twin Towers, but a third plane attacked the Pentagon in Washington, D.C, a fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. I thought of Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t alive during the Pearl Harbor attacks. I remembered reading about them in history books, writing projects in school and learning all that I could about Pearl Harbor. I’ve met several World War II veterans, and my husband is a Vietnam Veteran, so the military holds a significant portion of my heart. These attacks seemed to be happening all over the United States. I asked myself, “Is Charleston next?”

I phoned my husband, just to make certain he was safe. He has a government job. No doubt his safety was a great concern. Only two weeks prior to 9-11 he was in a meeting at the Pentagon.

How did I feel on 9-11? Angry. Shocked. Fearful. Just what was happening to our world? I had family members who worked at some of these venues. I prayed they were safe while feeling as if I was a bit selfish. How could I pray for safety when Washington, DC, New York City and an area in Pennsylvania was not safe?

9-11 is an unfortunate, perfect example of how quickly life can change. Thinking back to that date, I imagine someone on the top floors of The World Trade Center. Perhaps an administrative assistant sitting at her desk, reviewing the schedule of events for that date, only to glance up to look out at the view of this amazing structure just in time to see something coming a bit too close. “What is that? No. It can’t be. Planes don’t fly this close…”

Were those her or his last words? We shall never know. Everything happened so quickly. In the blink of an eye, our world changed. We, the stunned viewers of the news could not believe what was happening. I heard people saying, “Oh, this is someone overtaking the media…maybe a computer virus…this cannot be going on in America.”

But – it was…and it did happen to America. For days, we prayed. We joined together to pray for the victims while praying in hopes another victim would be found alive, trapped under the debris.

Days after the terrorist’s attacks began like other days. We planned to go to work, to church, our children would go to school. Although our nation was in mourning, we had to continue living. Truly a hard reality pill to swallow daily. There was a thick air of gloominess in our communities. How could this happen to the United States of America? Why? Just why did our world stop turning?

For days, I was glued to the television. My entire life seemed to revolve on the news. I saw news reports of people jumping out of the buildings. One report mentioned a pregnant woman jumping from one of the buildings, knowing she nor her unborn child would survive.

New York City was covered in a blanket of gray ash and debris. People were running down the streets and bridges in fear for their lives. Airplane flights were canceled IMG_0572and all airlines were forced to land by the federal government. Not only were we in mourning, America was crippled.

Today, 9-11-15, I still grieve for those who died from these dreadful terrorist attacks, and I grieve for my mother. Never did we become close as a mother and daughter, although I tried to resolve the issues of our relationship. On the day of her death, I was extremely ill with Acute Bronchial Asthma. My doctor prescribed Prednisone, resulting in a dangerous reaction that left me a zombie. My husband was in Italy at the time of her death so I could not get to the funeral.

Losing a loved one, including a distant loved one, is unbearable. After my mother died, I felt an emptiness I cannot describe; nevertheless, I learned that we must walk through the grief so we can continue living. Fourteen years after 9-11, America still grieves. Perhaps we are more observant about questionable events. Maybe we are more cautious. Speaking only for myself, I do have the tendency to look carefully and cautiously whenever I am out in the public view. I look behind me. I carry my car keys pointing the tip out, in the event someone attacks me. I suppose I am now more pro-active and prepared while remembering how quickly life can change. Yes, in the blink of an eye our world can change — not necessarily for the better. May God protect us — Everyone.

On 9-11, I burn a candle and pray.