Opinion

Colorado is My Second Home

Happiness is losing track of how many times one has visited Colorado. By my estimation, I believe I’ve visited the Centennial State more times than any other place outside of Missouri. (A native of Hannibal, I refuse to count Quincy, Illinois, a.k.a. “America’s Armpit”, because I only went there for their mall and off-track betting.)

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How America eats

​In November 2007, Saveur Magazine published a feature story about Clementine Paddleford—a pioneer American food writer who championed American regional cuisine from the late 1920s through the 1960s. I recall wondering at the time, “Clementine who?” Why had I never heard of this Nellie Bly of culinary journalism who crisscrossed the country for three decades,

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In Defense of the First Amendment

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” – The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution When mass shootings occur, and gun-control advocates talk about banning certain types of weapons such as assault-rifles with high-capacity magazines,

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Sweet Summer Memories of Corn and Tomatoes

Imagine summer without corn and tomatoes.  You can’t, can you?  That would be like thinking about French cuisine without chocolate and vanilla, Irish food without potatoes, or Italian sauces without tomatoes.  In the American Heartland corn and tomatoes are as essential an ingredient in the recipe for summer as capsicum pepper is to an Indian

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We sang, we danced, we learned, and we laughed

Because I will miss the final week of summer school while I am on vacation with my family, tomorrow will be my last official day of serving as the music teacher at Southern Boone Primary School. What a long, strange trip it’s been. In the weeks leading up to the start of the 2019-2020 school

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A Literary Remembrance of Margaret Sayers Peden

Recently, our literary community and the world lost a great friend. Margaret ‘Petch’ Sayers Peden was at once a beloved professor in MU’s Romance Languages Department and a renowned translator of Spanish-language literature.  Kit and I met Petch over two decades ago at a Peden Prize event—an annual event honoring her first husband, Dr. William

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Can we return safely back to school this fall?

The question on every parent’s mind right now is, “What will school look like in the fall?” Knowing that I am a teacher, people have naturally asked me my opinion on the matter. As an educator and as an opinion writer, my honest answer is simply this: I do not know.  No one knows. I

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Why Baking Together is a Good Thing

There are basically four ingredients in a loaf of bread.  Flour, yeast, salt and water.  That is all.  But once upon a time, someone figured out that when these common ingredients were mixed together, allowed to rise, and baked in an oven in high heat, they became something quite extraordinary.  Since that time, bread has

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Back to (Summer) School

For the first time in nearly four full months, school is back in session in Southern Boone County. Whether or not you agree with the decision to send kids back to school during a worsening pandemic, one thing we should all be able to agree on is that being a superintendent of schools in the

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The Nature and Industry of Country Spiders

Early one morning in late spring, Boomerang Creek was awash with spider webs cast out on land and in the air.  Across the meadow’s sea of grass, delicate gossamers of spidery silk woven in the night sparkled with dewdrops in the dawn light.  Wherever there is a tree branch, barbed wire fence line, porch post

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