We used to wave to the folks on this porch.


My bookshelf welcomes Hannibal’s favorite son; his complete autobiography serves up riveting entertainment that cements his legend. He reveals as much about himself as Walter Williams could dig up about the rest of Northeast Missouri. Twain wallows in more than … Read More

Now Showing

Of the thousands of drive-in theater screens that dotted the countryside, few remain. Many are ghost screens, forever blank. But now and then…

Crossing the Lexicon

“…ours is a mongrel language,” Mark Twain said about the world’s most expansive tool kit, “which started with a child’s vocabulary of 300 words and now consists of 225,000; the whole lot, with the exception of the original and legitimate … Read More

Winter Camping Alone

If you wanted to hide from creditors or a hit man, Lake Wappapello would do nicely. Isolated in rugged hills, wholly surrounded by the thick woods of Mark Twain National Forest, the lake stands apart from the crowd. Driving to … Read More


Downriver, I found a suitable gravel bar where I beached my canoe and set up camp deep in the Irish Wilderness. I sat alone by the campfire and thought about the strange evolution of this area: wilderness, then settled and … Read More

On Seeds

There are seeds in every abandoned house, in the dry rotted floorboards and the mildewy walls, in the moss on the roof where sunlight doesn’t reach. The seeds are in the windowsills, in the clawfoot tub with as many rings … Read More

A Tale of Two Stacked Ladies

1961. The first photo I ever took. I was much younger than Leonardo in Titanic. But at nine years old I knew this: a cabin-class kid would never make it past a vigilant crew to get to the first class … Read More

Scariest Cave Names Ever

Caves are fissures where evil seeps. They’re named by people who are scared shitless. In Texas, don’t stumble into Toad Frog Falling Floor Fissure, Left In a Lurch Cave, Coon Crap Cave, Putrid Pit, and Big Mutha Caverns. Georgians tiptoe … Read More