Daniel ODwyer

O Danny Boy…


Daniel O’Dwyer would approve of new Pope Francis, I suspect. I have no way of knowing for sure, since Daniel O’Dwyer, my great grandfather, died eleven popes ago, shortly after the long reign of Pope Pius IX. Pius excommunicated Daniel over an act of love. He had been a Franciscan friar. But Danny complicated his own future by falling in …

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Yule Tied Hideout


The trout got plenty of attention. They always do on the first day of March. It happened suddenly. In the predawn, an armada of hip waders invaded their winter waterland. Pretty gifts dropped from the sky, tasty looking flies that fought against the rushing current. In a split second, a two-year-old trout bought the fake, ignoring the simple logic that …

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Winter Campfire Coffee

Winter Water


The air was cold, a few degrees above freezing. A north wind tried to aggravate us, but Cora blocked its best gusts. Cora is the island on our port side. We’d survived the toughest part of the trip: launching a 20-foot canoe into a swift current. “The Missouri River moves fast when the channel comes close to the bank,” Mike …

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Downed Power Lines



Long before The Weather Channel started naming continental storms, this one will be remembered as The Ice Storm of ’09. Its widespread devastation covered Missouri’s Bootheel like a glacier. In the two counties that form the heel of the boot, the ice brought down 12,000 telephone poles. For three days I drove the back roads of the Bootheel, and recorded …

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My ride and me, we never used a GPS. No compass. No MapQuest. We abstained from sextants. For the first third of this journey, a state highway map was our only guide. Deeper into our drive, untraveled roads became harder to reach. Just to find fresh pavement, we sometimes traveled a hundred miles over routes already covered. But there was …

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