Category Archive for: ‘Essays’


Wings Over Columbia


It was the largest crowd ever to invade Memorial Stadium. One autumn Saturday a dozen years ago, thousands of football fans packed together, and their colorful clothing attracted a million Monarch butterflies who rode the breeze across the stadium. From a distance, the butterflies had seen this big bowl, and they thought it was a rest stop with enough flower …

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To learn the value of a culture, check their barbecue.


The credit card machine kept disconnecting. I didn’t have cash, or my checkbook. “No problem,” said Perry Foster, “mail me a check.” Perry Foster’s Bar-B-Que embodied all that is good about humankind: Trust and harmony and world peace. Oh, and taste. My lunch was a combo sandwich, generously endowed with smoked ham, brisket, chicken and burnt ends slathered with sauce, …

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When the Big Wave Washes Us Away


It was a windy day, like today. As I sit in my sun room and watch gale force winds sweep dead leaves from the trees, I think back to another wind that took a close friend. The grand roster of tempests lists a thousand other storms that have taken much more from all of us. Joplin. Tuscaloosa. Moore. Today’s wind—a …

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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 for getting lost. On one sojourn to round up the company’s stray pack horses, he returned to the wrong part …

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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 new, and could boast a lofty ranking on somebody’s bestseller list. The familiar smell of leather-bound paper relaxed me, the …

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