Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Admirers join flock of reverend




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        So you were wondering, just how major is the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth? This major: A whole hoard of people gave up their Saturday last weekend to see him.

        Occasion was a do at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, where he and author Andrew M. Manis talked, then signed A Fire You Can't Put Out (University of Alabama Press; $29.95), Manis' account of the Rev. Shuttlesworth's civil rights activism.

        We spent our time eavesdropping on people. And heard ...

        • Eye's favorite quote of the day came from Cincinnatian Marlane Souder, who said to the Rev. Shuttlesworth: “Thank you for your life. For your example.”

        Souder, a child of '60s idealism, is such a follower she's also going to Mount Adams bookstore today (7-9 p.m., 1101 St. Gregory ) for his signing there. “He'll probably think I'm stalking him, but he's one of my idols. What all he did, it still rings true even today. He is history.”

        • Broadway star Pam Myers, toting a copy of A Separate Peace for son Max, say, “I really want to stay, but I have my groceries in the car. Fish, and I don't think it will last in this heat.”

        (She stayed. Don't eat the fish at her next dinner party.)

        • “I bought six copies I wanted to get signed and give people for Christmas,” said Jane-El Sant, a retired nurse who was arrested in the '50s during a civil rights demonstration.

        “But you know what? I'm giving them out right now. I have a daughter, and I don't think she should go another day without reading this.”

        • Waaaay back in line, late arrival Dorothy Doherty (“I drove down from north of Columbus. Nobody warned me about I-71”) was telling someone how “I met Rosa Parks last year when she was in Cincinnati, and I met Ralph Abernathy, oh, years and years ago. What I like about Fred is, he actually stuck his neck out and let them take a swipe.”

        YO, SPARKY: Know who needs a round of applause? Susan Eiswerth's dog Sparky. Because she never forgot where she came from.

        Eiswerth, public relations director for the Cincinnati Ballet, and husband Richard found Sparky years ago tied to an electrified fence. Hence the name.

        The lab golden-retriever mix has been with them ever since.

        So last week, Sparky was outside when an orphaned baby opossum wandered into the yard and fell in the pool. Sparky dived in, saved it, dried it and mothered it.

        Later, another fell in. Then another. Sparky saved all three.

        “So now, we have three babies,” Eiswerth says. “We checked the Internet — we're now members of some official opossum society — and with the zoo on care. We feed them this pudding concoction mixed with kitten chow and mashed biscuits with an eye dropper.”

        “But Sparky, she's amazing. Every night about 2 a.m. she wakes me to let her out. She goes out and sniffs them, sort of checks them, then comes back in.”

        Eiswerth is hoping Sparky doesn't get too attached: “As soon as they get to that really ugly stage, it's back to the wild. We asked Thane Maynard at the zoo, and he said they adapt well, even when raised by humans.”

        Or a dog named Sparky.

        Knips Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

        KNIPPENBERG ARCHIVE