Rural Missouri - February 2014 - (Page 12)

T by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop his winter has been a tough one. Waves of snow, freezing rain and bitter cold have taken their toll. And spring is too far away to even consider. February is the perfect time to stoke the fire, pull up the easy chair and settle in with a good book. Something that takes you away is a good start, and these recent writings from Missouri authors will do just that. Here's to the end of winter - and enough reading material to get us there. Hook, Line & Sinker Edited by Mark Morgan "Everyone loves a good story, and anglers have many to share. Just ask them." Mark Morgan, an associate professor at the University of Missouri, shares that belief in this collection of fish tales. Mark asked anglers statewide to tell their fish stories, and then he enlisted the help of 15 students enrolled in his Social Aspects of Fishing class to narrow them down to 50 "keepers." The result is a fun read for anyone who has ever cast a line in a Missouri stream, pond or lake. The stories run the gamut from a lunker trout that fishes for squirrels to a mighty blue catfish that leads four men on an unsuccessful four-year quest. Whether you believe them or not, these stories are certainly entertaining. This book would be a fine addition to any tackle box for those days when the fish don't bite. "Hook, Line & Sinker" is available from The Mizzou Store in Columbia, at the UMSL and Missouri S&T bookstores or online at themizzoustore. com. All proceeds benefit the University of Missouri. The Longest Year By Stan Crader Tommy Thompson is back in this third volume in Stan Crader's "Colby" series, and this time he has a long wait. Anyone who was the youngest in their high-school class knows what's happening to Tommy. While his classmates gain the newfound freedom only a driver's license can provide, Tommy must wait an interminable year for the big day to arrive. In "The Longest Year," the band of boys introduced in "The Bridge" and "Paperboy" come of age in Colby, a place some might recognize as Stan's hometown of Marble Hill. It's hard to tell if these are written for teenagers or for their parents. The book is engrossing for the former, and the later will see themselves reflected in the characters. Readers of "The Longest Year" can lose themselves in the nostalgia of growing up in small-town America. Or they can search for the deeper meanings as Stan deals with topics such as the Vietnam War, race relations and the heartache of young love. It's almost sad seeing Tommy, Booger, Flop, Melody and Wendy grow up. You know graduation is looming, and the friends soon will be flung in different directions like leaves in the wind. There's also the sense that some- 12 A mid-winter read New books from five Missouri writers thing of great value has been lost as the Colbys of the world also come of age, losing their innocence and downtowns. In "The Longest Year," Stan Crader reminds us that while you can't go back, it's not too late to save the foundations on which our nation was built. "The Longest Year" and Stan Crader's other books are available in print and e-book formats at book stores and online at www.amazon.com. All proceeds go to help veterans in crisis through the Resurrecting Lives Foundation. You can learn more about Stan's books at www.stancrader.com. Coastal Missouri By John Drake Robinson In John Robinson's second book about his travels down every road in Missouri, he keeps telling his readers "the end is near." It's good that John documented so many small towns, so many scenic byways, so many interesting people. As anyone who has held John's vantage point looking through the windshield of a car knows, those people and places that have made Missouri such an interesting state are an endangered species. John writes about many such places that have succumbed to the passage of time. He recalls the heyday of Lee Mace's Ozark Opry and the Goldenrod Showboat, now a rotting hulk but once a river-cruising dinner theater. Once director of the Missouri Division of Tourism, John took on the job with the gusto of one determined to speak from experience. His official travels took him to most of Missouri's tourism destinations. His unofficial travels - in a red Pontiac Sunfire named Erifnus Caitnop - form the basis for this book and the previous one, "A Road Trip into America's Hidden Heart." Here, John shakes off the mantle of tact he had to wear as Missouri's chief tourism official and tells it like it is. This is no travel guide. It's unvarnished Missouri, including encounters with meth users, litterbugs and even the "devil" himself. There's also solid citizens piloting ferry boats, cooking mom-worthy meals and bringing hope to small towns poised for a return to greatness. Who knew the Snickers candy bar got its name from a Blackwater woman? Or that Petticoat Junction was inspired by Eldon? Hats off to John for taking good notes in his role as a modern-day explorer of Missouri's final frontier. His books would make a better history lesson than most textbooks. "Coastal Missouri" is available at www.amazon.com, many local bookstores, and through John's website, www.johndrakerobinson.com. The Maid's Version By Daniel Woodrell If John Robinson paints a picture of Missouri without varnish, Daniel Woodrell has been known to strip it down to below the woodwork. His WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP eight previous works include "Winter's Bone" and "Woe to Live On," both made into major motion pictures and both featuring less than savory accounts of rural Missouri's residents. Daniel writes the way literary giant William Faulkner would have written had he grown up in the Missouri Ozarks instead of Mississippi. Drawing on the landscape around West Table, a thinly veiled alias for West Plains, his latest offering continues to tell the story of the downtrodden, scarredby-life characters for which he has become known. In this case, he assumes the voice of a poverty-stricken maid - Alma DeGeer Dunahew - who gradually gives up her version of who caused a tragic (and true) explosion in a crowded dance hall. In Alma, Daniel has created one of the most interesting characters since Huck Finn. He traces her miserable life back and forth from the time of the tragedy. You will read this book like a gawker at a trainwreck, somewhat horrified by what takes place but unable to put it down until the last page is turned. Lurking under the surface is a social commentary and a cautionary tale of class conflict. This is classic Woodrell, one of Missouri's greatest storytellers. "The Maid's Version" is available at bookstores and online at www.amazon.com. Damming The Osage By Leland and Crystal Payton Previous works by Leland and Crystal Payton have explored the fragile beauty of the Ozarks, including the definitive work on the Irish Wilderness. Forgotten history also is a common theme in their work. So they were a natural for this look at how a pair of dams changed a way of life for generations of people living along one of Missouri's great rivers, the Osage. While others have dipped their pens into the river, no one before has taken such a close look at the river's past, present and future. In more than 300 pages, you'll discover a vanished way of life before this region was flooded by lakes. The book runs the river from its prehistoric past to the worn-out turbine used as modern art at Bagnell Dam's scenic overlook. Unlike the other books reviewed here, this one is profusely illustrated, both by Leland's fine shooting eye and with hundreds of old photos, maps, historic travel brochures, news clippings and postcards. Some of these images show places that were doomed by the rising lake waters. Others will just make you laugh. Despite giving readers a sense that something wonderful has been lost under these two great lakes, the Paytons leave you with a sense of wonder at a region chocked full of cultural history and natural beauty. This book brings back to life a bygone era and records forever an important piece of Missouri history. Future generations will turn to this book as they debate the construction of any new dams. "Damming the Osage" is available for $25 from Lens & Pen Press, 4067 S. Franklin, Springfield, MO 65807 or online at www.beautifulozarks.com. http://www.amazon.com http://www.amazon.com http://www.amazon.com http://www.stancrader.com http://www.amazon.com http://www.johndrakerobinson.com http://www.beautifulozarks.com http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2014

Rural Missouri - February 2014
Contents
Comments
Columns
Ministering to motorists
A mid-winter read
Fighting more than fires
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Metal & music
Honest Abe
Hearth and Home
The Missouri Dinosaur
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - February 2014

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