News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Even without feet, he could walk and fly

On Jan. 29, 2002, Richard C. Trulson was working in a hangar at his business, Ardmore Aviation, converting a half-inch-thick steel cabinet into a barbecue pit.

"The cabinet was about 8 feet tall, and it fell on Dad as he attempted to move it, cutting off both feet just above the ankles. He got prosthetics, and doctors didn't expect him to walk for 18 months," Richard Lynn Trulson told Ronnie Thomas. "He was walking in three."

An aircraft mechanic and a pilot, the elder Richard piloted his own plane on Jan. 29, the third anniversary of his accident.

On Monday, Richard C. Trulson, 59, and his wife, Loretta, were to leave in their new recreational vehicle on their second trip to Alaska. He died Friday of an apparent heart attack.

"The last years of his life were awe-inspiring to many people," his son said. "He became quite a miracle man."

Shared taste in shoes

There's no accounting for taste — in people or dogs.

Patrice Stewart heard a young woman tell a store clerk she wanted another pair "exactly like the last two pair I bought."

It seems she took home the perfect canvas summer sandals, and her dog took them off for a chewing session.

She bought a replacement pair. The Westie soon got hold of that pair, too.

They had a third pair in her size, and the clerk, a dog lover, shared his sympathy and dog-training tips.

Celebrity encounter

Kristi Tapscott had so much fun watching Willie Nelson perform in Birmingham that she wasn't ready to call it an evening.

"I've always wanted to meet Willie Nelson," the 34-year-old Decatur resident told Lauren Howard.

She boldly headed for the band's buses parked behind the Hoover Met, concocting an excuse for the security guard.

She'd lost her sister, she told him, and would need to search in the restricted area.

And she was in.

"Hey!" she called out to Luke Wilson, stopping to chat with the actor and band members.

Turns out, Willie was already gone, but the confidence boost may be her ticket to future famous run-ins.

No bet on the long shot

Jackie Gershwin of Decatur became friends with record producer Jerry Moss and his wife, Sandy, during her Hollywood years. The couple also owns racehorses.

Jackie told Ronnie Thomas that once when the Mosses were traveling, Sandy called and told her to take Jackie's daughter, Gina, to the races at Santa Anita and stand in for them in case their horse won.

"That horse didn't win," Jackie said. "But what happened at this year's Kentucky Derby for me was embarrassing."

Jackie said every year for the Derby, she placed bets on the underdog. She said this time she and her husband, Bobby Joe Ryman, were traveling and she forgot about the Derby.

"Would you believe Jerry and Sandy own the underdog I would otherwise have bet on — Giacomo, the Derby winner? They'd never forgive me," she said, "and it's hard to forgive myself. I'd have made a few dollars on that one."

DAILY Weekend Editor Steve Stewart compiles and edits You Don't Say. If you have an item of community interest, call Steve at 340-2444, e-mail him at, or write to You Don't Say, THE DECATUR DAILY, P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609. DAILY staff members contribute many of the items you see here.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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