Opinion

A Situation Report on the Coronavirus Global Pandemic

On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.  It’s not a seasonal flu or influenza.  What’s referred to as covid-19 is a coronavirus—the first to reach pandemic levels.  WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus predicts the situation will worsen.  It probably originated in bats but passed

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I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry

“Hear that lonesome whippoorwill, he sounds to blue to fly—” While writing lesson plans for our unit on Country music, I knew that I needed to include Hank Williams on the list of essential artists of the genre. Hank’s contribution to not only Country music, but Music (with a capital “M”) in general, cannot be

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Notes From Mister Naughton’s Neighborhood

“Mister Naughton, I just thought you should know that my daughter refused to go to bed last night until I agreed to play her some James Brown.” When a blonde-haired, blue-eyed second-grader in a small midwestern town demands to listen to the Godfather of Soul before bedtime, you can be sure of two things: One,

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What Did the Influenza Pandemic a Century Ago Teach Us?

A century ago, Europe, the Middle East and Africa were engaged in the first truly global conflict.  In 1918, the final year of World War I, the most severe flu pandemic in recorded history broke out.  It infected one-third of the world’s population and claimed at least 50 million lives—more people in 15 months than

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United We Stand

“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” –LL Cool J Where do I even begin? That is the question I’ve been asking myself over and over since learning that I would be writing my first column for the Boone County Journal in over five months. How do I explain to you, my

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Why Reading and Celebrating Black History Matter

This February, Black History month, I reread Margot Lee Shetterly’s terrific historical narrative, “Hidden Figures.”  When it was the Columbia One Read selection a few years ago, I discovered a story that had been missing in the American history books I grew up with in the late 1950s and early 60s when I attended McLean

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An Inspiring Message from President Dwight D. Eisenhower

On Presidents Day 2020, I offer this remembrance of Dwight D. Eisenhower.   In 1948 while serving as president of Columbia University, Eisenhower wrote an inspiring open letter to America’s students.  As head of the university, he received many letters from young people asking for his advice. “Shall I keep on with school,” they asked,

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Dreaming in Italian

Throughout the long month of January, an almost audible stirring begins in the hearts of all held captive by winter’s icy grip. By February, the hours of daylight are becoming noticeably longer. But still, cold winds persist, and I bundle up like an Eskimo for my early morning walks. To feed my spirit, I begin

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January Ice-O-lation

In Missouri, you never know what January will bring. One day temperatures rise into the 50s, rain falls all night, and creeks run high.  A day later, temperatures dive, and the soggy ground freezes solid. The only way to stay upright outdoors is with ski poles, golf shoes, or Yaktrak traction cleats attached to your

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The Flavors of Calcutta Style Biryani

In my friend Nina’s kitchen near Fayettye, MO, there are traces of distant other worlds, and something is always combusting.  While preparing recipes from her mother’s Indian kitchen a few years ago, the idea for a culinary memoir, Biting Through the Skin:  An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland, took shape.  Rich in food and geographic

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