Reporting pitfalls aboundTL

By Tammy Keith Originally Published June 23, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 21, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
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You know it’s going to be a fun interview when your source says, “I’ll bring the bug spray.”

I love my job, but I’m not exactly an outdoorsy girl.

I’ve never been an athlete. I was a cheerleader when basically having a big mouth was enough, and a majorette when prissing was the primary requirement.

I’ve been in all kinds of interesting situations since I started in this career when I was 20. Good grief, I was a baby.

I remember going on a “crank” lab bust in Randolph County, accompanying the sheriff and his deputies.

I had never heard of such a drug, and we walked through the abandoned shack without a mask or anything. I remember the sheriff saying it might give me a headache.

Boy, did it. I got a little concerned and called the EPA, and I found out it wasn’t such a smart idea to have walked around inhaling the stuff.

Getting chiggers is also a hazard of the job. I remember going to an interview one time wearing a little sundress, and the older man (he was probably the age I am now), insisted on showing me around his farm, where the water system I was writing about was used.

It made sense. Lord knows why I wore a sundress. And heels.

He had me sit in a little wagon, attached to his four-wheeler, and off we went.

I wish I had a video of me on that bumpy ride, sitting back there like a kid on the little train ride at the fair.

What I remember most is that I got chiggers. Lots and lots of chiggers.

It was bleach-bath time, my husband’s remedy.

Then there was the time I went out in the boonies to the old man’s (really, this time) house to do a story on the baskets he weaved.

His wife met me at the door holding a baby pig in one hand and a switch in the other.

You know it’s gonna be a good day when that happens.

While I interviewed them, the baby pig licked my leg. Again, I was wearing a dress. I used to have legs I’d show to the world.

A mangy dog roamed the room.

I did not go home with the mange, just some pig spit, I guess.

Last week, I met some cool guys who took me to Blaney Hill, which they’re planning to develop into an outdoor recreation park.

One of the guys took two bottles of bug spray — he said ticks and mosquitoes were the biggest problems up there — but none of us used it.

We had to climb a fairly steep embankment (to this teetering-on-50-year-old, anyway), and I started sliding backward. One of the men, a fit cyclist whom I probably outweigh by 20 pounds, caught me from behind and pushed.

It was hot up there, overgrown, and we heard lots of insects and birds. To my surprise, when I got home that night, I did not have one single bite.

Still, I think I’ll stick with indoor interviews till fall.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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