Waving Goodbye at Lambert

Anne Rodgers at STL airport 07-02-2013Friend Anne and Wife Lila hopped on a plane at St. Louis’s Lambert Airport Tuesday morning. (Lila isn’t in the picture because she’s still on the shuttle.) Just as I started to pull off, I thought, “Maybe I should bookend the trip by getting a final shot of her leaving Missouri.”

‘It’s just my daughter….’

Anne Rodgers at STL airport 07-02-2013I got out of the car, called her name and watched heads swivel around. To avoid attracting the attention of the security folks, I announced in a loud voice, “It’s OK. I’m just sending my daughter off to school.”

(I’m pretty sure Anne paid that woman to say, “Looks more like his granddaughter,” but I could be mistaken.)

On our first day on the road, the server said, when I asked about an item on the menu, “I find that a little on the spicy side. The couple behind you ordered it, though.”

I started to get up. Anne put her hand on my arm. “You wouldn’t, would you?” Yep, I would. The server was right. The couple agreed that it might be a bit too spicy for a long road trip that late in the evening. Anne knew from that moment on to expect the unexpected. I have no shame.

Stuff to remember

Jackson mailbox 06-27-2013Once she gets past the cringing and embarrassments, I hope she’ll remember all the cool stuff we saw and the people we met.

The gas tank read somewhere between “Low Fuel” and “Who gets to walk for gas?” when we pulled out of Wib’s, but Anne and Lila wanted to shoot a sunset. While they were making art, I was looking at this mailbox and thinking that sometime over the next couple of days, maybe a mailperson would come by and take the survivors back to civilization.

Boat traffic on the Mississippi

Trail of Tears - River - Bald Knob CrossWe stopped at the overlook in Trail of Tears State Park only to be greeted by a nice ranger who said, “This part of the park closes at 7:00 and it’s 7:05.” Anne must have batted her eyelashes at him, because he waved us on, saving me from having to pull out one of my “we’re newlyweds” stories. I knew there was a reason to bring her along.

Bald Knob Cross

Trail of Tears - River - Bald Knob CrossLooking up and to our right, we saw one of the clearest views of the Bald Knob Cross I’ve seen in years. Anne resisted directing any bald knob comments in my direction, for which I was grateful.

Spectacular rainbow

Irrigation system Charleston 06-29-2013Shortly after I took this photo of an irrigation system, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and we were met with a gust of wind that sent umbrellas flying, accompanied by a brief squall. After the storm moved on, a double rainbow of incredible intensity formed off to our side. It’s the first time I can recall actually feeling like I could see where it was touching the ground.

Good persimmon crop

Tower Rock 06-28-2013I can’t take anyone to Missouri without showing them the Lutheran Heritage Museum in Altenburg and Tower Rock. We coasted into town after the museum closed, but we spotted Gerard Fiehler pedaling down the street. He recognized my van, pulled over and agreed to open the museum for us even though he was hot and sweaty from mowing.

If they don’t fall or get blown off, it looks like Mother’s favorite tree is going to have a good crop of persimmons.

Flood not so good for fish

Dead fish after 2013 flood 06-28-2013We spotted lots of vultures sitting on the wires of the suspension pipeline, but didn’t think much of it. When we drove out of Wittenberg and over to Frogtown, we saw lots of white wading birds off in the distance. When we got past where the old train depot and church would have been, we noticed all sorts of white objects in the fields.

They turned out to be huge carp and other fish who had come in on the flood waters, then gotten trapped when the waters went out quickly. My guess is that the white wading birds were going after the live fish because they weren’t bothering the carrion. The vultures had probably had their fill for the day (or like their food a little riper).

Years have taken toll

Barn near Altenberg 06-28-2013_5116The years and high winds have taken their toll on this old barn seen on the way back home from Altenburg. You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.

Here are earlier Anne road trip stories:

Don’t forget First Friday

If you missed me at Hastings, stop in at Annie Laurie’s Antiques on First Friday, July 5. I’ll have Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars and Smelterville books. I’ll be there from 6pmish until 10 or when I start snoring and Laurie kicks me out.

2012 Top 10 Posts

Cape Girardeau Central High School girls in physical education uniformsNews outlets always run Top 10 stories at the end of the year because (a) they are usually short-staffed; (b) readers and viewers are busy with family activities and drop off; (c) it’s easy and can be done in advance, and (d) it’s traditional. So, for all of those reasons, except (c), here are the highest-read pages of 2012.

A 2010 post about the old gym uniforms topped the 2012 list because it went viral on another site. It was viewed 3,576 times.

#2 Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968I covered Simon and Garfunkel at Ohio University in 1968. This story was seen by 1,736 readers.

#3 Johnson’s Shut-ins

Johnson's Shut-In State Park circa 1978I was hoping to get back to update my Johnson Shut-Ins photos last summer but didn’t make it. Still, 1,674 folks looked at my old pictures.

#4 Queen Elizabeth II

web 1024 Queen Elizabeth layoutMy tale of getting to cover Queen Elizabeth II in the Bahamas because I was the only guy on the staff with a suit ranked 4th, with 1,462 views.

#5 David Holley’s obituary

David Holley of Wittenberg 07-18-2011David Holley, the last man living in Wittenberg and a storyteller supreme died April 11 of lung cancer. I only talked with the man twice, but he’s a character I’ll remember forever. His wife, Joanne, lives in one of only two buildings left in the once-vibrant Mississippi River town

#6 Low water exposed Tower Rock Quarry

Tower rock and quarry at low water 10-28-2011Low river levels has put Tower Rock in the news. A November 2011 story on the abandoned quarry south of The Rock was viewed 1,193 times.

#7 Geocachers conquer Tower Rock

Tower Rock geocachers 08-04-2012_6180

I was hoping the river would drop low enough for me to walk over to Tower Rock like Brother Mark and I did in 2003. It didn’t quite make it, and I didn’t want to take my inaugural kayak ride solo in the Mississippi River when these geocachers made the climb. The page was viewed 1,120 times, and 407 people clicked through to watch the video I produced about the day.

#8 “Rush Limbaugh is a horse’s patootie”

1024 Rush Limbaugh on Cape Girardeau's Floodwall 04-12-2011_3594I was interviewing Wife Lila’s Uncle Ray Seyer on a wide-ranging number of topics. Somehow or another, Rush Limbaugh came up. He described the high school Rush as a “horse’s patootie” for the way he monopolized the CB radio channels even when truckers were trying to get directions to local businesses. The page had 1,104 visitors.

#9 Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh

1969 Girardot Rush Limbaugh senior photo P 132A 2010 story pointing out the coincidence of Koran burner Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh both being members of the Cape Central Class of 1969 is still getting hits. It came in 9th with 1,099 readers.

#10 Lila turns fire photographer

Fire Wilmot and Georgia 05-21-2012I was running some errands when a warehouse across the street from our house exploded into flames. Wife Lila dialed 9-1-1, then grabbed her camera and started shooting. The West Palm Beach Fire Marshall and 1,099 other readers were interested in her handiwork.

Remember my Amazon link

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffIf you were one of the folks who stopped by 357,930 times during the year, don’t forget to place your Amazon orders by clicking on this big button or on the links at the top left of the page. I get a small percentage to keep the lights on and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.





Ordinary People Doing Ordinary Things

I shipped off the first draft of the book I’m putting together for my Altenburg presentation to some friends who used to get paid for making nasty comments to writers. Let’s see if they’ve lost their edge after the newspaper business shook ’em off like fleas flung from a stray dog.

Here’s a peek at facing pages 24 and 25. Click the image to make it larger.

Don’t forget October 16

I know you all are getting tired of hearing me talk about it, but I’d love to see some of you at my preview presentation on October 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Altenburg museum. Admission is free. In addition to still photographs, I’ll be showing videos and telling war stories.

Wittenberg Minus One

Kristie Freeman called Wednesday afternoon to say that her stepfather, David Holley, had lost his battle with lung cancer, and to ask if they could use one of my photos in his obit. When I went to see him July 18, 2011, he was actually in better shape than some folks in Altenburg had led me to believe.

Chemo treatment had left Holley gaunt and his beard had picked up some gray, but he was still the same old storyteller with a gentle manner and a twinkle in his eye. “I’m on my third round of chemo,” he said. “I’m hoping I’m in the 60% that makes it, but I haven’t had a whole lot of luck in my life,” he added, matter of factly.

Wittenberg, a once-thriving Mississippi River German settlement community, was down to two buildings – the house Dave and his wife lived in and the former post office. The floods of 1973 and 1993 had pretty much washed the town away.

Wittenberg Bomb Shelter

Back in the 60s, I did a bunch of pictures of the town, including his house, which had been a brewery, and the “Wittenberg Bomb Shelter,” caverns that had been used to cool and store the beer.

Holley and his home

In October 2009, I knocked on the door of the old brewery and a long-haired David Holley came out and graciously gave me a tour of the old caverns.

Part cave, part manmade

Holley said the brewers took advantage of a natural cave in the hillside, then added on to the front of it with bricks and stone.

Caverns are well-preserved

Despite being over a hundred years old and receiving little or no maintenance, the old beer cellars are remarkably well-preserved.

The last train robbery

Holley was a natural storyteller. Without any preamble, he launched into a story about the last train robbery in Missouri that ended in gunfire almost in front of his house in the 20s. I’m glad I was able to capture it on video.

Holley’s stories took very little editing. He had a knack for being able to tell it short and sweet.

Always searching for treasures

He was a storehouse of knowledge. He could talk about train robberies one minute, then point out the scrape marks made by steel-wheeled beer carts in the rocks in his front yard. He enjoyed roaming around the ruins of the German settler community looking for old horseshoes and other memorabilia.

Our last visit

I captured about five minutes of video of Holley talking about recent and past floods and the whirlpool at Tower Rock that could swallow up a 30-foot cottonwood snag. Midway through the account, he tells about how he’d have to put his four-year-old daughter in a boat at midnight to pick up his wife coming home from work when floodwaters had them cut off. She’d start off doing a great job of holding a flashlight so he could pick his way through the trees, but then she’d start shining it around in the air like a coonhunter, he said with a chuckle.

David Holley Obituary

Here is the obituary from McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center:

Charles David Holley, 59, of Wittenberg passed away Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at his home.

He was born May 25, 1952, in Memphis, Tenn., son of the late Charles Edward Holley and Ada Ruth (nee Tony) Holley of Memphis, Tn. He and Joanne Byerly were married July 11, 1987.

David worked as a deck hand and laborer until he was no longer able to work due to declining health. He loved the outdoors, especially exploring for Indian artifacts and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. David enjoyed spending time with his family, friends and always had a story to share or a helping hand for anyone. He also served in the US Marine Corps from 1970-1972.

In addition to his loving wife and mother, survivors include step daughter, Kristie (Dusty) Freeman of Herculaneum, Mo.; daughters Melanie Yount of Imperial, Mo; and Rachel Holley of the home; a brother, Clifford Holley and a sister, Pam Holden both of Memphis, Tenn.; two sisters-in-law, Janet Tyner of Jonesboro, Ark.; Barbara (Fred) Graham of Catron, Mo; two brothers-in-law, Bill (Shirley) Byerly of Fairhope, Al; Rick (Camilla) Byerly of Chaffee, Mo., five grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and many cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father.