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Butterfly1

Wings Over Columbia

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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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IMG 93691

The Seven Wonders of Shannon County

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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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Daniel ODwyer

O Danny Boy…

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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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Winter Campfire Coffee

Winter Water

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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

Ice

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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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