The Wild Horses of Shannon County

Downstream a bit, a feud has brewed for decades. At the heart of the fights are horses along the Jacks Fork and Current rivers. Back during the Great Depression, a farmer turned his herd of 30 or so horses loose … Read More

Seven Wonders of Shannon County: Alley Spring

Some folks claim that Alley Spring Mill is the most photographed spot in Missouri. The two story gristmill sits astride this emerging underground discharge of 81 million gallons per day, where Alley Spring Branch flows a half mile to add … Read More

Seven Wonders of Shannon County: Jam Up

Jam Up Cave is a barn-sized hole at the base of a sheer rock cliff. The cave opens into a sinkhole directly behind the cliff’s face. The sinkhole itself drops from the mountaintop like a landscaped funnel, big as a … Read More

The Seven Wonders of Shannon County

Judge Pegleg Shannon would have a blast in this neck of the woods, assuming he wasn’t sick of rivers and caves and general exploring. As a pup, this youngest member of Lewis & Clark’s Corps of Discovery had a propensity … Read More

Ode to the Independent Bookstore

I was among friends. Some of them were worn and tired. Some showed classic lines. All had something to say. They were books. Many were well seasoned, having felt the hands of at least one previous owner. Some were brand … Read More

Out, out, brief candle

Within one lunar cycle they were gone. Over a 28 day period, Columbia endured a tragedy in three acts, and lost a major chunk of its soul when three of the city’s most visible luminaries died. City officials? No. Big … Read More

Snakes? Shamrocks? Patrick’s Real Story Is Better

Researching for a novel about my Irish priest great grandfather, I’ve come face-to-face with the real St. Patrick. Two tales make him less caricature, more saintly. Every Irish child knows the first story: Patrick ascended Clough Patrick (the Irish Mount … Read More

Goodbye, old girl

We traced Highway 47, crossing the Missouri River into Washington’s movie star face, a gorgeous riverbank town with chiseled features, church spires and storefronts peeking from under a brow of hills draped in nature’s thick mane of hardwood forests. The … Read More

Mark Twain, Fabius and Troublesome Creek

If you travel at all around Mark Twain’s boyhood stomping grounds, you’ll likely cross the Fabius River. There are three branches, paralleling Troublesome Creek as they all wind their way to the Mississippi. The Fabius rivers are named not for … Read More