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A Well Told Story

June 4, 2010

I’m going to kick off today with a bit of a retro post.  In April I toured Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, tragically on my own without my dear wife Nikki.  I’ve had some pictures and stories I’ve been meaning to share here for awhile, so now is as good a time as any to turn the clock back two months.

On my first day of travel, I left Kansas City headed for Bloomington, Illinois to stay with my buddy Kevin McCarty and his wife Brooksie.  The three of us go all the way back to our middle school and high school days and it was great to catch up with them a couple of days while I met pastors in the area.  On the way, I could not resist making a pit stop in Hannibal, Missouri, home to the revered Mark Twain.  In spite of the rain, I took time to grab lunch and walk around to some of the landmarks around town.  My first stop was a statue of Tom & Huck.

From there I saw signs pointing the way to the Mark Twain Lookout Lighthouse.  Well that sounded pretty cool, so I purposed to go seek it out.  Unfortunately, the trail led me up numerous flights of stairs straight up the side of a tall bluff overlooking the river.  Between the slippery wet stone steps and steel hand rails that made the path treacherous, and my being severely out of shape, I came to regret the strenuous task I had committed myself to as I huffed and puffed my way to the top.  Out of breath, I was met with a fantastic view of the river, in spite of the overcast sky and non-stop drizzle.

For the record, this picture was taken after climbing 3/4 of the way up the cliff.  The trek down the stairs proved to be more treacherous than the one up.  I took a walk down past the Samuel Clemens boyhood home and museum.  The museum will have to wait for another trip, but I did get to walk along a recreation of the famed white-washed fence from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

I took a stroll down to the riverside park as the rain began to pour down harder.  I thought about just making my way out of town, but I wanted to go see the Mighty Mississippi River that Clemens/Twain so affectionately wrote about.  They had a statue there dedicated to him.

As I peered up at the visage of Mark Twain, lightning began to render the sky in a very menacing manner.  At that point standing next to a giant metal monument in a low level plain next to the river with no cover around me seemed like a rather untenable position.  It was time to bid adieu to this quaint little town, with the hopes that some day I could return and have more time to explore its historic treasures.  I end with a picture of the Mississippi that I took and manipulated.  It appears not as it did on that dreary day but as I’ve pictured it in my mind so many times, thumbing through the pages of Twain’s novels and enjoying his dry wit and keen sense of story-telling.

Twain once said, “I like a good story well told.  That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself.”  I can wholly sympathize with that sentiment.  It is the reason that I feel the inner drive to put my thoughts on paper (or screen) and share them here.

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