Erifnus Caitnop

So I set out to feel every crack in Missouri’s pavement. As with all stories – and symphonies and carnal acts – it was an uneven ride. Although a dozen friends and a handful of reporters rode with me on … Read More

I drove all the roads

The map called out the names; I traced the stories. Every fold in the Ozarks, every bend in the rivers, every drive down the main drag in 700 towns reminded me that even as my map sets the stage, it … Read More

If E Could Talk

I climbed up and took a nap beneath the T on this sign, sharing space with the ghosts of travelers who stopped here long ago to add a sticky chapter to their Route 66 journey. Locals too. And Spring breakers … 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

Burma Shavings

It was about as far back as my memory goes, back when I was practicing my phonics on Burma Shave signs. My family unit rolled out of Rolla, leaving Route 66 in our rearview mirror, headed for the springs. Our … Read More

Ignored the Signs. Went In.

Johnnie’s Bar has been serving whiskey in downtown St. James since the Irish laborers built the railroad through here. Even from the outside, Johnnie’s looks foreboding, with its big neon Stag Beer sign over a doorway into cold, smoky darkness. … Read More

Book Club Gives Valentine to Governor’s Mansion

  On this day, next to the ancient fireplace where generations of Missourians warmed their feet, the Tuesday Club’s gift to the old mansion drew every admiring eye. Over many decades, the needlepoint art that stretched across the old wooden … Read More

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Along Highway 13, I found The Shrine of Our Lady of the Two Ugly Utility Poles Standing Side by Side in Our Front Yard. That’s my name for it anyway. It’s the world’s best attempt to divert your attention from … Read More

Sunrise with Coast Guard Cutter

Our sloop sailed all night across the Bermuda Triangle. At dawn we crossed the Gulf Stream. The cutter radioed us at 6 am, and boarded us a short time later. Professional. Courteous. Welcome. A safety check revealed we had the … Read More

Speech at Governor’s Mansion

I never thought I’d utter these words, as I turned to Cheryl: “What do I wear to a tea?” She dressed me, and offered one command: “Don’t slouch.” At the event I stood before five dozen attendees in the Governor’s … Read More