Monday, October 14, 2019

Milliron Monday: Abscess

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Do we take our veterinarians for granted? Maybe. They are on call 24/7, which we must consider the implications of being on call every second, and then weighing which animal requires the quickest treatment, fast medicine, etc. Being a veterinarian is not for the weak of heart, for wimps, or the lazy.

Last night, my mare, Zubedia, was lame. She was limping on her left front foot. Of course, my mind went every which way, and I put her in her stall overnight, which she hates because she likes being outside at night (sigh). So, I struggled during the night (only a horse owner knows), the thought of keeping Zubedia in her stall when she really wanted to be outside. 

This morning, after giving her a once-over, she was still lame. I called my veterinarian. "I'll be there in an hour." He was right on time. I thought maybe Zubie had stoved her shoulder, as she has done this before. The cooler weather made her a little frisky and she was dancing in the corral yesterday morning to the low temperatures; bucking, kicking, having a fun time. I relayed all of this to my vet when he came into the barn. "Well, I'll take a look." He started with her hoof and I asked him why, and he said he always starts there first. After about ten minutes of scrapping and digging, he found an abscess in her frog. A teeny-weeny pinhole that I would never have found.

Zubie winced when he pressed on it. It began oozing pinkish puss and the stuff that abscesses are made of. "Soak the hoof in Epsom Salts twice a day, warm water." You know, the abscess regime (if you're a horse owner). The vet left an anti-inflammatory, as well as a salve to put on the abscess to draw it out. 

Zubie doesn't like being in the barn. She's an outside girl. But, until she gets better, the vet knows best. He said it would take about a week for her to be back to normal. What would I do without my vet? I don't know and don't want to know. How many abscesses did Dr. Smith vet in his lifetime? Hundreds. Maybe thousands. Thank your vet today for their loyalty and expert care.

Zubedia at Monday Creek.
Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Cooper: The Making of a Service Dog by Clyde Hoch

Cooper: The Making of a Service Dog 
by Clyde Hoch
Available from

Cooper: The Making of a Service Dog is a delightful story of a Vietnam Veteran with post traumatic stress disorder who decides to get a service dog. He purchases a very young puppy. He chooses a Doberman because he likes the sleek looks and muscular style. He finds a school that will train him and his puppy at the same time. He and Cooper attend school one day a week for a year until Cooper is certified as a service dog. Read of the training that starts as soon as the puppy comes home and continues to this day. Cooper and Clyde learn to become a working team. They both attend meetings and while Cooper has a service dog vest on he knows he is to behave. When the vest comes off Cooper is fee to act like any other dog. When the vest comes off in meetings, he runs the room greeting everyone. Cooper rides in the back seat while driving. When Clyde gets road rage Cooper puts his head on Clyde's shoulder. When Clyde get angry at home Cooper comes to him and licks his arm. No matter how angry, one has to smile.

Book Review
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
July 20, 2019

Cooper: The Making of a Service Dog is a nonfiction memoir written by Clyde Hoch. Hoch was a tank commander in Vietnam in the late sixties, a time when that conflict was at its peak. He was hospitalized when the tank he was riding in hit a landmine. Having his superiors blame him for the incident made it even more upsetting. He came home from Vietnam feeling angry about the incident and the shoddy reception he and other Vietnam vets were receiving and had problems reintegrating into society. He couldn't find a job and had trouble dealing with crowds and loud noises. When he did find work, interpersonal relations on the job were challenging. Hoch had trouble accepting himself. "l thought I was one of the most screwed-up people ever."

His first reaction on reading about PTSD was that he could "grow up and get over it." Then, as he learned more about the symptoms shared by many vets, he began to accept the situation and the idea of a service dog. Hoch wanted the experience of training his service dog himself. When he began seriously considering it, he decided to go with his long-held admiration for Doberman Pinschers, and he found a breeder close enough to deal with. He also located Tails of Valor, an organization that works with shelter puppies and was willing to work with him and his new pup.

Cooper is a well-written and informative look at the process of training a service dog. Hoch's work with his best friend, Cooper, starts from the time he brings that puppy into his life and it's marvelous to see how well the two of them become a committed and enduring team. The photographs he includes in his memoir are outstanding, and watching as Cooper grows from a six-week-old pup into a strong and muscular two-year-old is a marvelous experience. I loved learning about the work that goes into training a service dog and found this account moving and powerful. Cooper is most highly recommended.


Read Clyde's childhood story about Spike, a cherished Clydesdale...

More Books by Clyde Hoch:

Tracks Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran This is Clyde’s military experience as a tank commander in Vietnam.

A Tribute to Tankers has a short description on a type of tank and follows with stories of people who served in that type of tank in combat, starting with WWI and ends with Iraq.

B. A. R. Man Browning Automatic Rifle Man is the story of a young man who does some amazing things in the Korean War until he is wounded and captured by the Chinese. He is forced to march 200 miles with no medical attention. He is held as a POW for two and a half years.

A Man Down is the story of four young men who gave their lives for their country. This book won a bronze medal from Readers Favorite.

Albion is Clyde’s first work of fiction. It has eight chapters. Each chapter is a different story and different period in time.

God Help Me! Cause No One Else Will is Clyde’s sixth book. It is about post-traumatic stress disorder and veteran's suicides and how to prevent them.prevent them.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Equine Massage: An Interview with Taryn Stillwell

Equine Massage: An Interview with Taryn Stillwell

by Gina McKnight
Archived from the September 2019 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission.

This summer, my dapple Quarter horse, Mac (ornery Mac), sprained his front right shoulder. He hobbled around for a few days, then I decided to call our local Equine Massage Therapist, Taryn Stillwell. This was my first time hiring an equine therapist. The results have been amazing. Now, Taryn is the official therapist for my stables and has worked on both of my horses – Zubie and Mac.

Today, Taryn arrived at my barn to give Mac a second treatment – to make sure he is completely sound. It was an early morning appointment and just last night Taryn flew in from Florida, servicing equines there. She’s a trooper and always dependable. Besides that, her massage technique and barn manners are top drawer.

Taryn is the proprietor of Yarnell Equine Massage, servicing the Ohio valley as well as clientele in Florida, working in the Wellington and Ocala areas since 2016. Taryn lives in Junction City, Ohio, just about a thirty-minute drive from my stable. Taryn writes, “My passion for horses began at a young age, and I always knew my career path would somehow revolve around that love. After graduating from Hocking College with an Associates degree in Equine Health and Complimentary Therapies in 2014, I hit the ground running with big goals. In just a few short years, I take great pride in being known as one of Ohio's premier therapists and being the chosen professional to many well-known riders including Jesse and Stacy Westfall and Luke Gingerich.”

Welcome, Taryn!

GM: When was your first encounter with a horse?
TS: I have been blessed to have been around horses most of my life. My parents made the mistake of setting me on the back of our miniature horse we owned at the time, Sunny, at about four years old and walking me around the garage. The "bug" bit me immediately and the passion grew from there. Not long after the initial encounter, I was enrolled in riding lessons in various disciplines, attended horseback riding summer camp, and took every opportunity I could to be around horses. A short time after that, my parents found my perfect first horse. She was a little paint mare, Kalisa, who was being used as a therapy horse at the time. Over the next few years, that little mare taught me more than I ever expected.

GM: What horses do you currently stable? 
TS: I currently own two geldings. Senor Blancopepper, Sgt. Pepper, is my 20-year-old heart horse. He came into my life 14 years ago when I was transitioning back to barrel racing from western pleasure. In his prime, 2009-2010, he carried me around the country - as far west as Ft. Worth and Oklahoma City. Some highlights include: 2009 APHA Reserve World Champion in Novice Youth Barrel Racing, 2010 Pinto World Championships Open Gymkhana Highpoint Champion, and an IBRA National Finalist that same year.

In 2012, my world was shaken. While at a friend’s house for a few days, Sgt. took a bullet ricochet straight into the bottom joint in the hock. That wound then got infected with an anaerobic infection The Ohio State University had only seen this once before, and in that case, it was eating bone and fatal at two weeks. They weren't sure that they would be able to save him, and if they did, they assured me he would most likely only be pasture sound. Thanks to financial help from my Dad and my grandparents, we told them to do anything possible to save this horse. After two weeks, Sgt. was released to come home. He qualified three years later for the NBHA World Championships and remains sound to this day. Though I don't have as much time as I'd like to ride, he lives happily out in the field and will, one day, take my kids to the top of the Peewee division.

I also own an 11-year-old appendix gelding, Braggs Hot Cat. Cat was raced on the track in his younger days. When digging into his racing career, I learned that he lost every race he was entered in. He would lead the race most of the way, and then look back at the rest of the pack and wait for them to catch up. His track career was short lived. Though he may not be the brightest bulb in the pack, he has the sweetest personality, is trustworthy, and has the athletic ability to go far as a barrel horse. 

Recently, I added a 10-year-old gelding donkey to my herd. Chico truly adds an element of personality on our farm that I didn't know was missing. He is loved!

GM: I’ve seen the photo of Chico! He’s adorable. And congratulations on your success! You have an impressive horse history! How long have you been an equine massage therapist? 
TS: I have been working in the field for six years. I was blessed to begin working while I was still in school, proved myself to a local chiropractor that is one of the best in the industry, and he really jump-started my career for me. In July of 2018, I took the leap of faith to leave my full-time job at Tractor Supply Company to work full-time for myself. Though that was a terrifying step to make, it turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. I currently service all of Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, and Florida. There is no place I won't go, as long as minimums are met to cover my expenses. My goal is to be the Equine Massage Therapist for Team USA!

GM: Taryn, I’ve seen you in action! You are amazing. Certainly, you will reach your goal. Where did you learn your trade?
TS: This is the part of the story I love to tell. Being an equine massage therapist was never on my radar. I was always told growing up and as a teenager, there are no jobs in the horse industry, pick something else. I listened to that advice for a few years. My Dad, now retired, was a Lieutenant for Westerville Fire Department, my cousin was a county deputy, and various other family members are first responders as well. I decided to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in law enforcement. In 2011, I started at Hocking College for exactly that. After one year, I realized that wasn't where my calling was. Discouraged and confused as to what my purpose in this life was, I made the decision to pursue a career in the horse industry. I changed to the Equine Health and Complimentary Therapies program with the hopes of becoming an equine chiropractor. I believe it was my first semester in the program, one of the classes was Equine Massage. Little did I know that's where it all would begin. At the time, the instructor tried to get me to drop the class on the grounds that I was currently in anatomy and physiology, not already completed and that the class would be too hard for me to pass. I missed one grade point the entire semester and began working while still in the class. I still laugh about that one.

I'm thankful for the in-depth anatomy and physiology education that I received at Hocking College. It gave me the fundamentals needed to be a successful professional in the horse industry. Since graduation, and over the course of hundreds of horses, I have formed my own technique that focuses on the performance enhancement and muscular rehabilitation of the horse. I do deep tissue therapy, and my specialty is with performance horses of all disciplines.

GM: Of all the horses you have worked with, what has been the worst-case scenario to success?
TS: This old gelding, Ranger, that I got called to work on just after Memorial Day of 2018. This guy was a retired Amish buggy horse that broke his hip at some point, and the current owner obtained him out of that situation. The hip had "healed" but he just wasn't right.  For years, she reached out to countless professionals to try to help this guy. All of the vets, farriers, friends, etc. that looked at him all recommended euthanasia due to quality of life, but the owner just didn't think Ranger was saying he was ready. Finally, she had a chiropractor out. He also suggested euthanasia but gave this owner my information to see if I could possibly help.

When I first saw Ranger and set a hand on him, I immediately told the owner that I didn't think there was much I could do for him and that maybe all of those professionals were right, but I also agreed that I would give it a shot. He was severely underweight, though the vet had looked at him and confirmed that his teeth were fine, etc., and didn't have any body mass to work with.  Discussing the weight issue, knowing that the teeth were fine, and Ranger had no visible reason to not be eating his grain, I asked if she had tried changing the feed? Maybe he just didn't like it? Yepp! He was started on a senior feed and has since put on several hundred pounds! The ole guy just didn't like the feed!

Over the next few months, amazing changes started to take place. Ranger started with countless muscles contracted and not functional, and slowly I started to get them to release. I decided to have the owner start to walk him a few times a week. Though he lived in the pasture, movement was minimal, so handwalking would encourage him to stride out more than he does on his own. That then progressed to her riding him at a walk bareback to be able to push him forward a little easier. Every session, I was seeing more and more release. The walks started out with five minutes and are now at 20 minutes every other day! The horse that everyone said put down is now being ridden! 

Here we are a year later, and the amount of change in this horse is incredible. I just received a video from the flabbergasted owner of Ranger running with the herd to the top of the hill out in the pasture. He may not last all at that speed long before he breaks down to a walk, but to see him doing that at all is incredible and, per the owner, he has never done that since I got him! He also can pick up all four feet for the farrier, who used to struggle with the back feet as a result of the injury and surrounding contractions. I see Ranger every four weeks and we continue to take consistent steps forward. Though massage therapy made a life changing difference for this horse, I credit a good portion of the success we have seen to the owner. Her devotion to this horse is what has given me the opportunities I have with him. Ranger is a prime example of the importance of the "team" concept between professional and owner. Each time I see Ranger, I post an update on my business Facebook page, Yarnell Equine Massage, because so many people have taken an interest in his journey.

GM: For horse owners who don’t know, how should they prepare their horse for therapy? What should they expect from the treatment, and what do they need to do afterward?
TS: I am used to working in all conditions, so I am pretty easy to please. A horse free of crusty mud does make my job easier. The mud reduces my ability to slide my fingers across the surface and apply the correct pressure when needed. Over the winter, a warm horse is easier to work on than a cold horse. A short lunge to get the heart rate up circulates the blood and warms the muscles up. Through the summer, this isn't as important. Fly spray is appreciated though, as a constantly stomping and twitching horse is difficult to work on.

For the session itself, I prefer to work wherever the horse will stand most quiet. For some horses this is in the stall, others it may be in crossties, etc. I am not picky. Some horses react to discomfort by moving away, so some movement is normal and not grounds for discipline or frustration. My feet move, too.

As far as during the session, I work front to back, top to bottom. I will address all superficial muscles one by one, working to alleviate as much tension as I can in that session. Once I'm satisfied with the release throughout, I will transition to a variety of stretches that focus on poll release, if needed, and a deeper release of the front end. Once finished, I will observe the horse at a walk for a short period, to ensure that what I felt with my hands matches the motion and that I didn't miss anything. I generally recommend turnout post session. Movement is key for these horses so that mentally they can realize what hurt before may not hurt now. Horses are smart and learn how to protect themselves. Walking and turnout helps prevent them from tensing back up.

In cases with significant widespread tension or contraction, multiple sessions may be needed, but my goal is to give you as the owner, stretches and tools to be able to continue progress on your own, minimizing the need for multiple sessions and being able to get the horse onto a maintenance routine faster.  

GM: The "old" cowboys probably never had their horses treated by a massage therapist. However, in history, racehorses have been known to receive treatments to help them perform on the track. When should a horse owner consider the need for massage therapy and how often?
TS: There are a lot of factors that determine when you need a massage therapist that I think people don't always realize. First and foremost, if your chiropractor is at your barn regularly and always finds the same things "out", usually it’s because a muscle pulled it that way. If they haven't mentioned that to you as an owner, find a new chiropractor. They are taking your money because it will continue to be a repeat issue, instead of having the best interest of the horse in mind and helping you find a solution that truly fixes it.

Second, if your trained horse suddenly starts having behavioral issues such as cross firing at the canter, refusing jumps, not backing up, ducking barrels, etc., it’s probably muscle! Finished horses don't act up for no reason.

Third, if your horse does any of the following, you probably need a massage therapist: dragging the back toes, lack of flexibility one or both directions, backing crooked, tripping, bucking especially during gait transitions, trail horses zig-zagging up and down hills, unlevel knees or inability to even pick knees up in jumpers, lack of forward "flick" in dressage, the list goes on and on. Massage therapy, at least with the type I offer, is so much more than a relaxing rubdown. It is a therapy session that is vital for maintaining an athletes ability to do its job.

As far as how often, it varies. I see my upper level endurance horses every four weeks through season. A recreational ride that's worked a few days a week, maintenance sessions are no more than 12 weeks apart.

GM: Do you have advice for those looking to pursue a career as an equine massage therapist?
TS: If this is truly what you want to do, study. Get the anatomy base and then apprentice with a professional to learn the technique. You will build your credibility as a professional when you can tell the owners what the horse is doing, good and bad, under saddle based off of your findings in the muscles, without them giving you any hints. This comes from a thorough knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics, as well as studying, evaluating, and watching hundreds of horses to be able to link tension severity to function. 

A college degree is worth more than a weeklong certification, and years in the field is worth more than a fresh out of school student. Be aware of what market rate is in your area and price yourself accordingly. Market rate in my area is $60-$75/ session. I started out of school at $35. It didn't cover my gas or expenses, but it got my hands on a lot of horses to learn and grow. Over 6 years I have been able to raise it slowly to compensate for experience and continuing education.

If you have to drive an hour and a half one way to do one horse, do it and work to the best of your ability. That one-horse turns to two, turns to a barn full, and then you’re doing their neighbors as well. Word of mouth is your best friend and in this industry it’s all who you know, or who knows you.

Be ethical. Always keep the best interest of the horse in mind. Give the owners the tools to continue your work. Make it your goal to only need to be there every few months. Again, this is an ethics and credibility thing.

Be ready to sacrifice everything. Any business owner will tell you that success doesn't come without sacrifice. 2018, before I left my full-time job, a 15-hour day was short. I worked Monday- Friday 7-3 at TSC, and then would hit the road and invest another 8-10 hours into my clientele. I am incredibly thankful for a husband that took care of my animals and the house as well as tolerated my absence as I worked 15-18 hour days. There are days I would be walking into a barn two hours from home at 10PM, but I had a smile on my face every single day. Friends disappeared because I could no longer invest time in a social life, and don't get me wrong, there were times I struggled with that! But I had my goals and I kept pushing forward. That perseverance gave me the opportunity to work full time for myself, which few therapists succeed at. Now, coming up on a year later, I am scheduled almost a month out and am back to working 12-15 hour days. However, this "growing pain" I'm feeling right now is preparing me to bring a second therapist on, so I will persevere knowing the plans in store.

Lastly, be smart. Learn how to use your body. This is NOT an easy field and if you don't learn how to take the weight off of your hands and wrists, you'll have physical issues within a matter of years. I went on vacation in March and when I came home, I did 43 horses in a week. By Friday morning, I was sore in my traps and my core, but not my hands and wrists. Learn how to lock your arms in a way that puts the stress on larger muscle areas instead of isolated joints.

GM: As an equine massage therapist, have you encountered horses that do not do well with massage therapy?  
TS: Not really. Some horses are more antsy than others, but patience is key and generally by the second or third session they settle down and realize your there to help. Horses that have significant tension and soreness can be reactive as you palpate, but experience teaches you to alter your pressure and work up as the horse tolerates. Flexibility in your methods allows for widespread success. I had one mare a few years back that, out of the blue, started double barrel firing repeatedly at me. Thankfully I was able to push away and get to safety without incident, but I was left frustrated because I had been working on the same spot for several minutes with no reaction. They ended up hauling her to the vet a week or so later and found that she had a pinched nerve up by her sacrum. When I was working, she shifted in a way that made that nerve fire and she kicked out. So, when explosive reactions happen, it’s important to look at all avenues.

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
TS: Horsemanship is the ability to adapt to the needs of the horse by being flexible in your methods, while continuing in the pursuit of a realistic goal.

Connect with Taryn on facebook @yarnellequinemassage.
Gina McKnight is a freelance writer from Ohio USA

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Notes from Sherry: Country Music by Ken Burns

Now Playing On PBS: Country Music by Ken Burns 

Premiering on September 15th, Country Music was broadcasted on PBS through September 25th. The 8-part documentary is a chronological telling of country music and its root genres, from the early 20th Century to 1996. Episodes are available to stream now through October 6th-16th (see schedule). Viewers can learn more about the film, access extra behind-the-scenes content and order the film and soundtrack here.

Country Music represents a uniquely American story that touches every corner of our nation. And this is evidenced by the enthusiasm and excitement surrounding it. Watch parties are being held at music heritage sites featuring live music in many states. Belmont University in Nashville is developing a collection of educational resources to accompany the 16-hour film with classrooms across America being able to access it all for free on PBS Learning Media, a platform that reaches one million users each month throughout the school year. Social media is abuzz with daily content from PBS, Director Ken Burns, interviewees and industry leaders as well as fans and communities embracing their local music history, many for the first time. I just joined my twin sister Sheryl on her study tour to Brownsville, Tennessee for Tina Turner Heritage Days with the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and I lost track of how many times the film was brought up in conversation. 
The roll-out campaign for Country Music began in March with screenings and discussions being scheduled in 30 markets leading up to the premiere. Burns embarked on a promotional bus tour along the Tennessee Music Pathways with stops and events with local radio stations and other partners, bookended by the PBS airing of Country Music: Live at The Ryman Concert. “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring film excerpts of Country Music to those areas that gave birth to this most American of art forms. Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, is a character itself in our film, and hosting this concert there was a dream come true for us. We are thrilled to now share this special evening with PBS viewers across the country,” said Burns.

From the start, it has been a national experience. With most viewers tuning into the TV broadcast instead of streaming on demand, it hearkens to yesteryear when Americans gathered in front of their televisions for American Bandstand. There’s a communal feeling about viewership, but at the same time, the film is as intimate as those rural regions it visits, transportive through total immersion. Each episode is prefaced by a promo: “Nothing connects the country like country music.” Indeed. Music, memories, places, buildings, artifacts. We’re all connected through art, our built environment, socio-cultural perspective and human interest. And as agents of this living and ever-evolving history of which we are a part, our collective voice is one of great power and beauty. It gives rise to the meaning, identity and potential of our American community. This is the essence of Burns’ epic. To quote American author H.A. Overstreet, “I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality.”  
Country Music represents a reawakening. The film’s two-week airing schedule and it’s October streaming availability gives us the opportunity to celebrate and share in this particular part of our history as we’ve never done before. And as a preservationist, I can’t describe in words my optimism about this resurgence of interest and appreciation for our musical past. There’s an energy surrounding the series, and it’s already making an impact. I believe Country Music will translate directly into greater support for music history and heritage. We’re going to see greater demand for records by Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. We’re going to see more amateur and professional musicians covering songs and artists featured in the film. We’re going to see audiences asking for more of the Americana sound. We’re going to see more artists embrace historically informed performance practice. Case in point. Forbes just published an article, “Nashville Readies For Boost In Tourism Following Ken Burns’ Country Music Documentary.”
The documentary’s role as a catalyst for music heritage tourism and support for preservation initiatives has tremendous potential. In fact, it could soon influence the outcome for an endangered landmark mentioned in its script. 152 Nassau Street in Atlanta, the former home of Okeh Records where Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded the first country hit in 1923, is facing demolition. A developer wants to build a Margaritaville-themed hotel there and the case is currently in court. A stop order was issued by the judge which halted demolition at the 11th hour, but the fight is far from over. With Burns shining limelight onto this history in his film, will it be enough to make a difference? 
Country music journalist Bobby Moore asked Burns about it a few days before the Country Music premiere: “Do you know about the Fiddlin’ John situation in Atlanta where they’re going to build a Margaritaville where he recorded his first hit? There’s a fight to save the building, or at least have its history commemorated.” To which Burns responded: “I’m all for commemoration. I’m all not for tearing things down. Americans, despite how old we are, behave like we’re really young. We’ve lost a lot of beautiful things because we haven’t thought to save things. I’m happy that folks are doing it. I’ve made noise about developments of battlefields and noise about this and noise about that because it’s better to keep these things.”     
Agreed. At a time when Nashville itself is razing historic buildings on Music Row at record pace (even the beloved Ryman was once on the chopping block in 1974), we desperately need a larger voice and platform to drive education, awareness and dialogue to save our heritage. And Country Music will be a key player. The significance of film as a vehicle for saving historic places and cultivating broader audiences cannot be underestimated. For example, it was the popularity of the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line that ultimately saved his boyhood home and revitalized Dyess Colony. My twin sister Sheryl had the opportunity to join the preservation effort through a student project with the Arkansas State University. We attended the inaugural Johnny Cash Heritage Festival in 2017 and were filmed at the restored Cash home for Rosanne Cash’s music video for The Walking Wounded, a posthumous collaboration with her father. My article, “Channeling Cash, Poet Laureate Of The Walking Wounded,” offers an inside glimpse of our experience. Rosanne is an interviewee in Country Music, and as always, offers an education on “The Man in Black.”
Shenandoah, Iowa is featured in the first episode of the series for its pioneering role in radio with farmer friendly stations KMA and KFNF. And this is gratifying for the community as well as myself, my sister and our small team who have been working diligently to bring greater recognition to the town’s significance not only in radio, but also in music through our work for the Everly Brothers Childhood Home Foundation. There has been increased interest in the Everly Brothers partly due to the release of a 2016  documentary, entitled The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven, which also received some distribution on PBS. It’s still not widely known that Don and Phil Everly spent their formative years in Shenandoah where they received all of their musical training and made their professional debuts as child stars on local radio in the 1940s. Earlier this year, we finished a new short film, the first ever made about the Everlys in Shenandoah, that represents a step towards our future goal of creating a feature length documentary. 
The medium of film is such an integral part of preservation and the profoundness of Country Music strengthens my faith in what is yet to come. Spanning nearly one century in 16 hours, Country Music is triumphant in its delivery, managing to capture the spirit of an entire genre through brilliant storytelling. The documentary creates a point of entry for audiences to learn more and indulge in this music, which is a tremendous supplement for those working to preserve and advocate this history and heritage. Burns and his team have not only given us a gift, but an instrument through which we can educate, enlighten and unite. "At the heart of every great country music song is a story,” says Burns. "As the songwriter Harlan Howard said, ‘It’s three chords and the truth.’  The common experiences and human emotions speak to each of us about love and loss, about hard times and the chance of redemption. As an art form, country music is also forever revisiting its history, sharing and updating old classics and celebrating its roots, which are, in many ways, foundational to our country itself.” 

Born in Athens, Ohio, Sherry Davis is a scholar-practitioner focusing on the preservation and advocacy of music history and heritage.

Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4

  Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - Ma...