Friday, December 31, 2010

Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Rusty Arnold

SPRINGTOWN -- The long line of public-safety vehicles stretched down Farm Road 51 between Weatherford and Springtown just after noon Thursday. They slowly traveled the 17 miles from a funeral home to another long line -- a double row of Western hats and black-taped badges waiting at a high school football stadium to honor Parker County Sheriff's Deputy Rusty Gene Arnold.

Arnold, 32, was fatally injured in an off-duty wreck on Dec. 13. He died at a Fort Worth hospital on Dec. 21. Two other people were injured in the three-car crash.

The service focused on Arnold's time with the Sheriff's Department, where he had worked since 2001. He was a sergeant in criminal investigations when he died.

The Stephenville native was also an Iraq War veteran, serving as a sergeant in the Army Reserve in 2003 and 2004.

The bleachers quickly filled with Arnold's friends from Tarrant, Erath and Parker counties, and his adopted hometown of Springtown, population 2,639.

"He was a good guy," said Kara Harris of Weatherford, whose husband worked with Arnold in the Sheriff's Department. "You can't even say enough. Honestly, he was such a good officer, a good dad and a good husband."

Arnold always looked for the "teachable moments in his work," Riley said. "He could defuse a situation with his patience and special insight."

He once brought school supplies to a child he met on one of his calls, and on another occasion he counseled a hostile teen to stop blaming his parents for everything that went wrong in his life.

"Rusty's response to him was, 'If my parents were 7 feet tall, I'd be an NBA star, but they're not.' Rusty said, 'I've worked for what I have, and you can, too,'" Riley recalled.

Arnold cleaned up a paupers' cemetery for his Eagle Scout project, delivered Meals On Wheels with his grandparents, and continues to help people after his death as an organ donor, Riley said.

By Shirley Jinkins

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Serenade

It's 15 below on the prairie
the wind chill's down near 42
and I'm watchin' a Texas blue norther blow in
and I'm not sure what I'm gonna do.

'Cause the tanks are froze pretty near solid
and the handle broke off my best ax
and the feed's gettin' wet from a hole in the roof
where it's leakin' all over the sacks

And I'm feedin' more hay than I planned on
'cause the snow covered up all the grass
the tractor's broke down and the pickup won't start
and it's cold as a well digger's...shovel

It's the 24th day of December
and the sagebrush is covered with ice
and I think that a hot cup of coffee
or a good shot of rye would be nice

'Cause my feet are so cold I can't feel 'em
and my fingers are purty near froze
and there's icicles hung off my moustache
from the drip drippin' off of my nose

I was hopin' I'd get to quit early
and be back at the house Christmas Eve
but these baldies are cryin' and hungry
and there's no one to feed if I leave

And there's one little motley-faced heifer
who somehow got in with the bull
and she's just too little to leave by herself
'cause the calf's gonna have to be pulled

And there's one other thing I might mention
a fact that is painfully clear
I'm so broke that I can't pay attention
so I guess I'll spend Christmas out here

But it's pretty out here on the prairie
where the stars light the cold winter sky
and though I can't remember when things were much worse
I guess I'm still a right lucky guy

'Cause I've got a good woman who'll love me
no matter what time I come home
and my young 'un is happy and healthy
though I wish he weren't quite near so grown

And I've got that new 3-year-old filly
who's better than I even dreamed
and my old spotted gelding as good as they come
so things ain't all as bad as they seem

I've got no cause for being ungrateful
and to gripe and complain isn't good
'cause there's people all over this country
who'd trade places with me if they could

So I know that I'll have a good Christmas
in spite of my problems somehow
I'll just watch as this Texas blue norther blows in
and sing "O Holy Night" to the cows.

© 1996, J. W. Beeson