A Toast to the World’s Hottest Museum

A witling would say it’s a description of Hell: 4,000 toasters, no bread. But hey, if Richard Larrison ever used all his toasters at once, it might create Hell, or havoc, or at least a lot of heat, pulling enough … Read More

Well-traveled children…

“Got a ham bone?” I asked the undertaker. I pulled a two-pound bag of great northern beans out of my overcoat pocket and plopped it on his desk. He looked puzzled. “Last request,” I said, and told him about my … Read More

I broke in…

Lewis Café doesn’t look like much from the outside. It sits on Main Street in downtown St. Clair under an old 1930s-looking awning in an old 1930s-looking beige brick building. But in the restaurant world, the homely facade means there’s … Read More

Watery Grave

Looking upriver from the Hermann bluff, I could almost see Sonora Chute. It was a cold February day in 1856 when Captain Bill Terrill ran his sidewheeler Sonora through ice floes near Portland, Missouri. At 363 tons, the Sonora was … Read More


Detouring to the top of a high cliff, I stopped to see an old friend. On a clear day, she’s hard to miss, built on the edge of this bluff and sticking out of a forest canopy like a Bavarian … Read More

The fountains of Sundance Square

On a recent trip through Texas, we stopped in Ft. Worth to eat at Joe T. Garcia’s, world’s greatest Mexican restaurant. We greeted the cowboys in the paintings by Remington and Russell. And we played in the fountains in a … Read More

Local flavor. Local stories. Missouri’s back yard.

In the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11, folks wanted to stay closer to home, closer to loved ones. They didn’t trust travel, especially airline travel, until airlines started offering round-trip fares for fifty bucks. Then, magically, people felt … Read More

Mother Earth, Artist.

Beyond this peaceful spot, on this autumn afternoon, the Great Impressionist had turned expansive soybean fields into giant green-and-gold palettes. Some fields, planted earliest in the spring, already had turned brown, the beans ready for harvest. The drive through the … Read More

Hillbillies, Hay Bellies and Hostess Twinkies

Shuckin' Hostess

It was a dream. A nightmare. When I was a kid, I don’t remember seeing any over-sized hillbillies. Hill folk worked hard to squeeze a living from rocky soil. They were rugged, independent, self-sustaining people. Skinny, mostly, but healthy. They … Read More