Gustav Meets Kehde

Just outside Windsor, Gustav’s guts started spilling. Gustav had slammed into Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, and plowed north through Arkansas into southern Missouri. By the time it reached Sedalia, the storm had devolved into an extratropical depression, which … Read More

The Last Man to Beat Bill Hickok

Bellefontaine Cemetery holds stories that forged America. Good. Bad. Wild, like the story of Captain Bill Massie, the world’s greatest riverboat gambler. His unmarked grave belies his prowess. In the parlors of his riverboats, Captain Bill Massie could read the … Read More

When the Circus Came to Town

In 1933, the circus came to town.  And stayed.  For a dozen years, the Russell Brothers Circus made its winter home in Rolla. And each spring, the major three-ring extravaganza rehearsed in the fields around the old Civil War Fort … Read More

Legend

It was the ’80s. Ag Secretary Earl Butz told family farmers to get big or get out. In the painful transition from family farms to factory farms, Willie Nelson started Farm Aid with John Mellencamp. Thank you, Willie, for growing. … Read More

From the rubble

Joplin is history. Brothels and Bonnie and Clyde. Critical race theory through the eyes of Langston Hughes. The stubborn nonconformity of Thomas Hart Benton. Dennis Weaver’s gait and Bob Cummings’ airplane car. Oh, and The Mick, before there was a … Read More

My Favorite Road

“What’s your favorite road?” That question comes up a lot from people who find out I’ve driven every mile on the map.They’re curious. What’s my favorite restaurant? Favorite bed and breakfast? Favorite state park? The question came up in Trenton. … Read More

Mystery Among Trash

Pumping water out of the ground at 26 gallons a minute, Palm Springs, California, is an oasis in the American desert. And the desert surrounds this oasis like an ocean surrounds a life raft. I hiked out into the desert, … Read More