Stars and Stripes born in the Bootheel

Tucked in gentle rolling hills on the brink of the Bootheel, the Bloomfield Cemetery tells a story. The chapters unfold one-by-one on the white tombstones of Confederate soldiers from around Bloomfield who died during the Civil War. Many are now … Read More

Joining Lewis and Clark

“Hands!” the sergeant barked at me. “Let me see your hands!” I stuck out my palms, and the sergeant inspected them for calluses. Seeing none, he dismissed me with a grunt. “Yer too green to make the crew. You’d never … Read More

My First Tropical Storm

And now, no wiser, I found myself in another bad situation. I had no idea that the winds outside were approaching 200 miles an hour, a nascar made of wind. With debris smacking the outside of the cabin, I slunk … Read More

Head Games

We launched a johnboat from the conservation access point and motored upstream along Big Muddy, upwind, toward a sprawling sand bar a mile away. Our most experienced hand assured us that the river, though deserving of respect and awe, is … Read More

The Ghost of a Roadside Inn

Took a nap beneath this sign, sharing space with the ghosts of travelers who stopped here long ago to add a sticky chapter to their Route 66 journey. It was a time when cars had crank-down window air-conditioning and tube … Read More

Dancing on the Edge of the Storm

Our bow cut a frothy wake as Scotoplanes bit through four-foot swells, rising to meet the front of each swell, gliding down the backside of the wave into the trough, then rising again. Fixed at the center of both sails, … Read More

Murder and Rebirth on the Prairie

Highway 13 cuts through a rogue’s gallery of America’s most brazen killers. The most ruthless killer in this area was a government employee: General Philip Sheridan. A Union General during the Civil War, Sheridan led a mostly unsuccessful raid on … Read More

The Sad, Strange Case of the Missouri Waltz

You’ve heard it a thousand times. At Mizzou games. On TV. Radio. The Mizzou band begins the familiar strains of the Missouri Waltz. Then the song morphs into a march that brings the crowd to its feet, inspired, hands clapping. … Read More

A ride they won’t forget

The train was late. That didn’t matter to seven men awaiting its arrival. “I’ve learned to be patient,” said Mason, sitting next to me in his prison issue gray trousers and white T-shirt. Earlier that morning, seven inmates had been … Read More

Five minutes in an old veteran’s life…

Water Tower, Radio Tower, Tower of Power

He was going the wrong way down Broadway. As I approached him head-on, I could see he was holding a can of Budweiser. But that wasn’t the issue. It appeared he didn’t care if this trip ended in suicide. He … Read More