Happy October! The temperatures are beginning to drop and soon the trees will start shedding their leaves. With cooler air will come the smell of outdoor fires and the sounds of football fans cheering on their favorite teams. Best of all, everyone just seems to be a bit more cheerful this time of year. Thanksgiving is next month, after all, and the thought of a big, juicy turkey or ham and a cup of hot cocoa is enough to lift my mood.
Arkansas hunters are especially cheerful during this time of year as they've prepared all year for deer season and the time has finally arrived. Women make up only a small percentage of hunters in the U.S. and, keeping with the spirit of Autumn, for this month's cover story we chose to focus on two female hunters, Felicia Helms and Melody Root. Both have been avid hunters from a young age and have a deep appreciation for nature and the great outdoors. They tell us about their experiences out in the woods, the equipment they use, the game they prefer and why they enjoy hunting.
We also hear from Pat Peacock this month, a professional and award-winning duck caller from Stuttgart. Pat earned top honors as the world's best duck caller when she won the World Duck Calling Championships in 1955 and 1956 — the only woman to have ever won the championship in its 80 years of existence.
In this month's HER Career feature we spotlight two more Hot Springs women who are making waves in a once male-dominated industry: Katie Gordon and Robynn Sheets. Both employed at Gross Funeral Home. Katie is a licensed funeral director and embalmer and Robynn is a funeral director intern. Both women have a passion for service and helping people and they discuss with us the creative ways they are breaking the traditional funeral mold.
As we head into the holiday months, residents and visitors of Hot Springs must take advantage of everything our downtown area has to offer. The HER Home feature this month spotlights Wood Wick On The Row, a new retail store on Bathhouse Row. Owner Shelley Dewhurst and her team make all of their products in-store, which include candles, wax bars (you can also purchase wax burners), room sprays and more. Walk a little further down to Kollective Coffee+Tea on a Wednesday night and check out Wednesday Night Poetry, the nation's longest-running open mic poetry night. Read more about it in this month's HER Arts feature.
I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween this year!