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

Murder and Rebirth on the Prairie

Highway 13 cuts through a rogue’s gallery of America’s most brazen killers. The most ruthless killer in this area was a government employee: General Philip Sheridan. A Union General during the Civil War, Sheridan led a mostly unsuccessful raid on … Read More

The Sad, Strange Case of the Missouri Waltz

You’ve heard it a thousand times. At Mizzou games. On TV. Radio. The Mizzou band begins the familiar strains of the Missouri Waltz. Then the song morphs into a march that brings the crowd to its feet, inspired, hands clapping. … Read More

A ride they won’t forget

The train was late. That didn’t matter to seven men awaiting its arrival. “I’ve learned to be patient,” said Mason, sitting next to me in his prison issue gray trousers and white T-shirt. Earlier that morning, seven inmates had been … Read More

Souls on sale.

Road trip friends: Amazon is selling Souls Along The Road for lower than it costs the publisher to print it. Order your copy and take an armchair road trip for the price of a bag of peanuts.

Where will America’s new population center be?

Only a few months remain for the little Missouri town with a big name to reign as America’s mean population center. The way a census official described it: if you balanced America’s total population on the head of a pin, … Read More

One of the last little hardware stores in America

Under the only neon sign in downtown Weston, Missouri, is the venerable Sebus Hardware. Your parents remember hardware stores, before the advent of corporate chains. The Sebus claim that “if we don’t have it, you don’t need it” may not … 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

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

The Chicken or the Egg?

At Boynton, Erifnus swerved to miss the town water pump. There’s not enough traffic through Boynton to justify removing the water pump standing smack-dab in the middle of Route N, protected by heavy gauge railings and reflecting signs. It raises … Read More