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

March Paddleness

My bracket was busted. I had little interest in Duke and Kentucky. Besides, a more compelling shade of blue was luring a platoon of paddlers to the Prongs. And our submarine. So we headed to the Prongs. 33rd year. 33 … Read More

Ride to the Devil

The Great Flood of 1993 pushed the Grand River into the streets and homes of Pattonsburg and residents moved up the hill to form a new Pattonsburg. They left behind beautiful buildings like the old Methodist Church. When Ang Lee … Read More

Alma Right

Three types of sliced cactus surrounded the taco al pastor, lovingly lavished with carnitas and pineapple. I glued them with guacamole. doused the mixture with tomatillo salsa, and washed it down with gulps of Cheryl’s margarita. El Alma Cafe y … Read More