I was living in Florida when I bought a reproduction of a 1926 Rand McNally road atlas to try to plot out my trip back to Cape Girardeau.
I noted to Dad in a letter that “i got this new-fangled book from the AAA people, but they didn’t allow as how it was possible to get from fla. to mo., so they wouldn’t even give me a triptik.
[Editor’s note: It was my style to type informal communications on cheap newspaper copy paper and in all lowercase. My theory was that it signaled to the recipient not to expect clean spelling and grammar.]
Wait until the bridge is built
aaa suggested waiting a few more years until they get the bridge built across the river at cape-what-ever-it-is. they said there’s a ferry there, but it ain’t to be counted on.
Why don’t you just wave from Illinois?
aaa pointed out that you have to go all the way to either memphis or st. louis to drive across the river and, confidentially, they said it don’t look much different on the west side of the river than the east.
maybe we could just stand on opposite sides of the river and wave, they suggested.
I’ve been around some great writers and storytellers. Some days I can turn a sentence that makes me feel pretty good.
This weekend, though, I got to talk with and listen to Michael Wallis, a self-described “Son of Missouri,” who held an Altenburg audience spellbound Saturday night (except when my phone started reading out Wife Lila’s text message in the middle of his presentation).
In these days of LOLs and OMGs and 140-character Tweets, it’s refreshing to hear someone paint pictures of the mind using whole sentences.
Sitting next to Stan the Man
I was just going through the motions Friday night when he told how winning a Triple-A essay contest on being a patrol boy got him into the Cardinal dugout sitting next to Stan Musial on a night when Number 6 belted one out of the park with the Cards down 2, with two on and two out in the ninth. On the way home in an Augie Busch limo with his dad, there came that moment in the dark when he thought, “You know, this writing’s not so bad.”
When I got home, I listened to the digital recorder that had been stuffed in my pocket, then looked at some of the photos I had snapped off and thought, “maybe I can cobble something together out of this.” His words are definitely stronger than my photos, even if the audio is a little ragged in parts.
Wallis has written 18 books, but my kids will probably know him better as the voice of Sheriff in the Disney-Pixar Cars series. He lived upstairs in the Last Chance / First Chance Tavern when he was a student at SEMO and is considering writing a novel about Cape.