Return to the scene of the crime

This is a peek at a Missouri Life Magazine cover coming together. I’m at the helm of the second boat. The day before, that boat was damn near sideways in a thirty-knot wind. The story was fun, sanitized a bit … Read More

Alone in the Wilderness with coyotes

Downriver, I found a suitable gravel bar where I beached my canoe to climb the riverbank and set up camp deep in the Irish Wilderness. Because the wilderness deserves a “leave no trace” campsite, I packed light: a tent, sleeping … Read More

Surprise, Missouri

As I paddled down the Eleven Point River, I knew that within the better part of a county in every direction, I was a population of one. This is the Irish Wilderness. Along the river there used to be a … Read More

Missouri’s Unknown Superstar

Next time you sit down with the kids to watch Disney’s Pinocchio, listen to the cricket. He was born here. At least, his voice was born here. When that loveable bug sings “When You Wish Upon a Star,” the voice … Read More

Insanity

St. Joseph. Jesse James died here. And the single most unsettling image–of a vengeful John Brown–hangs in the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art. But no unsettling emotion compared to the final stop on my self-guided tour. The first thing I saw … Read More

The Candy Bomber

A cold corridor in the Truman Library recreates Berlin’s postwar reality: refugees who didn’t freeze to death had nothing to eat. Enter the Berlin Airlift. A photo captures the spirit of that humanitarian armada: an American plane flies one hundred … Read More

Requiem for an Old Broadway Star

The demolition ran into a snag. A piece of equipment broke, and the wrecking of the old hotel stopped for a few days, leaving a solitary four-story turret rising above the rubble. Maybe it was an elevator shaft, I couldn’t … Read More

Retirement Reversal

He said, John, in your life, there won’t be 10 people who you can really count on. That may be true for most of us. But he was a teacher. And one of his most important lessons wasn’t something from … Read More

Ava is a palindrome. It looks the same coming from any direction. The water tower sits atop a hill off the center of town, shouting “Ava Bears” from its steel sides. This garden spot in the middle of the Mark … Read More