Opinion

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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Happy Anniversary to Me

This week marks the ninth anniversary of my debut as a columnist at the Journal. That is officially the longest period of time in which I have been employed in any occupation. Besides publishers Bruce Wallace and Gene Rhorer, I have someone else to thank for my longevity in the newspaper: You the reader. It

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What Past Pandemics Teach Us

Over the past four years, Turkish author Orhan Pamuk has become an expert on what pandemics teach us.  The Nobel Prize winning author has been writing an historical novel set in 1901 during what is known as ‘the third plague.’  In a NYT article (April 24,2020) Pamuk wrote “it is about an outbreak of bubonic

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The Magic of a Gravel Road

When I was a teenager in Hannibal, Missouri, (a lifetime ago), my friends and I spent most of our weekends cruising up and down the endless miles of gravel roads that connected the communities of Saverton, Palmyra, New London, Center, and Perry to America’s Hometown. We were young and carefree—and careless and reckless and thoughtless

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Of Writers and their Cats

What did I know of cats as a child?  When did a cat first allow me into its life?  Is a person whose given name begins with “CAT” destined to become an ailurophile (cat lover)? Or is it because I’m a writer?  On the subject of cats, Canadian journalist, novelist and playwright William Roberson Davies

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