It’s tough when everybody wants a piece of you. It might be because you’re pretty, or rich. It might be because you’ve left a trail of bad deeds. But it’s especially tough when people want you just because of your … Read More
Two agonizing pages into The House of the Seven Gables, the spine on my book fell off. Should I keep reading? The book itself was old and brittle, stiff as its author’s language. But I kept reading, whereupon from the … Read More
Scariest Cave Names Ever
Caves are fissures where evil seeps. And some of these must’ve been named by people who were scared shitless. In Texas, don’t stumble into Toad Frog Falling Floor Fissure, Left In a Lurch Cave, Coon Crap Cave, Putrid Pit, and … Read More
Ode to frost
Tonight your plants and mine sit outside under a carnival of covers. Old bedsheets and tarps. And six old deck umbrellas, cranky and unwieldly. My back yard looks like the circus came to town.
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
Outlaws need pants.
Just south of Lawson, in the pastoral countryside, a huge factory, built more than 150 years ago, made pants and sweaters. The factory may have sold pants and sweaters to Harry Truman, who sold pants and sweaters when he was … Read More
Route 66 Icon
That’s a lotta ladders, Vanna.
The Church in the Wildwood where “Good Father Gus” Tolton Was Born
St. Peter’s Church casts its short shadow beside the cemetery, awaiting parishioners from Monroe City and Perry, Spalding and Rensselaer, as it has ever since the church was built back at the beginning of the Civil War. Nowadays, the faithful … Read More
Snakes? Shamrocks? Patrick’s Real Story Is Better
Researching for a novel about my Irish priest great grandfather, I’ve come face-to-face with the real St. Patrick. Two tales make him less caricature, more saintly. Every Irish child knows the first story: Patrick ascended Clough Patrick (the Irish Mount … Read More
Turquoise, Green Chiles and the U.S. Treasury
Gallup, New Mexico. Stopped at Jerry’s Cafe for the chiles, specifically New Mexico hatch chiles rellenos. We slid into a cozy two-top booth across the aisle from a spittin’ image for Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin. No shit. Doppelganger. I didn’t … Read More