Arkansas Backstories: Hoochie-Coochie

By Joe David Rice To the best of my knowledge, only one person has publicly performed the hoochie-coochie within the hallowed halls of the U.S. House of Representatives in the U.S. Capitol. That unlikely dancer was ultra-conservative Congressman Ezekiel Candler “Took” Gathings, a devout Baptist who represented Arkansas’ First Congressional District for 30 years. But…

Arkansas Backstories: Razorbacks

By Joe David Rice No way could I write this book without a mention of razorbacks. First, the fiercely beloved wild hog is the mascot of my alma mater, the University of Arkansas. But more importantly, the background story on this unique symbol presents a fascinating tale. Following its establishment in 1871, the University of…

Arkansas Backstories: Elvis

By Joe David Rice Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and later claimed Memphis, Tennessee, as home. But in the early days of his career, when he was still a mere prince rather than the King, Presley spent a surprising amount of time on Arkansas stages — usually in the eastern and southern…

Arkansas Backstories: Turkey Scratch

By Joe David Rice Over in East Arkansas, about halfway between Helena and Stuttgart, is a community known as Turkey Scratch. Straddling the Phillips-Lee county line, the unincorporated settlement is what my father would charitably call “a wide spot in the road.” Turkey Scratch has no post office, but visitors will spot a church, a…