Gravy

There’s a sad phenomenon in so many of these precious old towns. Generally, more people lie under the ground than on top of it. I thought back to an experience I had in London. The date was November 11, and … Read More

The Source

Hidden Waters Nature Park, the headwaters of the Niangua River. Headwaters are sacred, and townspeople have preserved this spot where the Niangua breaks into daylight. The water rushes from its spring and splits the park in half, cascading downhill at … 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

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

Smokin’

Coasting into Greentop, I would have bypassed the world’s greatest purveyor of smoked meats, without much more than visual contact with the big red building. But Sam Western had stuck his big barbecue smoker in the parking lot of Western’s … Read More

Harry’s Walks

After he left the White House, locals saw Harry almost every day during his morning walks from his house. What a house. The fourteen-room Victorian home sits in an old neighborhood not far from the town square. Today it’s preserved … Read More

The wild animal in my life

The ancient ash tree in our back yard reaches halfway to Orion, where its loftiest branches fork and fork again to throw new shoots toward the sun. Tucked into those soaring ash cradles—not big enough yet to make Louisville Sluggers, … 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