Jared Felkins: Most everything sounds a lot worse when there’s a horse involved

In about a month, the Felkins family will celebrate its two-year anniversary of its move to Lebanon.
Jul 12, 2014
Jared Felkins

“Bad news isn't wine. It doesn't improve with age.”

— Colin Powell

In about a month, the Felkins family will celebrate its two-year anniversary of its move to Lebanon.

We moved to Wilson County from Fort Payne, Ala., which is in DeKalb County. Though we have certainly enjoyed living here and hope to call Lebanon our home for many years to come, there are always those nostalgic moments that seem to reach up and grab anyone who has lived in more than one place during their lives.

Now what you have to know is that every time I bring up my former residence in Fort Payne, I almost immediately know what’s coming next.

“Hey that’s where the group Alabama is from,” they most often say.

“Yes, it is,” I respond.

In fact, Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Mark Herndon all still live there. Jeff Cook, the guitarist, moved to Guntersville, Ala. about four years ago. When we moved, his castle on Lookout Mountain was for sale for $6.3 million. If it’s still on the market, I bet most anyone could get it for an even $6 million at this point.

I love that joke. It never gets old, at least to me.

But DeKalb County apparently made national headlines for a different reason recently. I came across the story a week or so ago, and it hit home when Seth Meyers referenced it in his monologue Tuesday on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

The following is the report from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Police say a drunken woman rode a horse to rob a store.

Deputies responded to a call from a shop in DeKalb County, Ala. on July 5.

Authorities say 45-year-old Christine Saunders of Fyffe, Ala., had items from the store on her. Outside the store she had apparently tied up a horse she was riding.

Officers recovered three cans of beer from a Walmart bag tied to the saddle. The horse was later returned to the owner who didn't want to press charges.

Saunders was arrested and charged with public intoxication.


But that’s not the first time the words “horse” and “intoxication” appeared in a news story from DeKalb County. And that’s where the nostalgia kicked in for me.

Back in 2007, a similarly strange incident happened involving a horse. I was the managing editor at the Fort Payne newspaper at the time, and let me say it’s pretty exciting when something like this comes across your desk.

Apparently at the time, a 40-year-old woman was charged with DUI while on a horse in Sylvania, Ala. No, I’m not making this up.

The woman was apparently under the influence of drugs when she decided to go for a late-night ride. She was reportedly causing a ruckus, because several motorists nearly hit her and the horse before police arrived.

When officers did arrive, they said she rammed the horse into the patrol car in an attempted getaway. At one point, an officer had to get in his patrol car and follow the woman after she coaxed the horse into a trot.

She also faced drug charges after she apparently threw a pill bottle into the grass. Officers who found the bottle said it contained a small amount of marijuana, some crystal meth and several unidentified pills.

Fortunately, the horse recovered from only minor injuries.

Needless to say, after we broke the story aptly headlined, “Woman gets DUI on horse,” it became the butt of several jokes from Jay Leno, David Letterman and others.

So, as they say, that’s life in a small town. You see Sylvania is about half the size of Watertown. And Fyffe, well let’s just say it’s not nearly as big as Sylvania.

Both towns do have a red light, and both work most of the time.

It appears now Fyffe will have to get used to ­– like Sylvania did – getting a whole lot more attention than a one-horse town deserves.

I just wish they’d treat those horses a little better.

Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins. 


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