Proud Dad Moment

Longtime readers of Show-Me Missouri will remember that photos of my kids once accompanied this column. The baby photo below first appeared in the Spring 1999 issue—the publication’s second issue—to announce the birth of our son, Matthew.

Over the years, the practice evolved as Matthew was dressed in a manner that reflected the theme of each issue. When his sister, Lily, arrived two years later, Matthew was forced to share his little corner of fame.

When he was four years old, I had the brilliant idea to take him on one of my research and photography trips, and we loaded up and headed to Bucks and Spurs Dude Ranch in Ava. It was not only the first time I had taken him to “work” with me, but it was also the first time he and I had traveled anywhere by ourselves, and even after all of the trips we have taken since, it is still the one that I
remember the most vividly. Riding through the woods and across creeks with this little cowboy sitting proud and tall atop his horse erased any doubts I may have had about bringing him along. He chatted incessantly about his horse, Fancy, and nature’s nighttime symphony that surrounded us as we plodded back to the ranch under a sliver of moonlight and a star-filled sky following a full day of trail riding. Every hundred yards or so he would pause from his ruminations to say, “I love you, Daddy.”

Nearly 15 years later a young man bearing a striking resemblance to that little boy stood before a packed football stadium and challenged his classmates to find their individual places in the world. It was only one of a number of “lasts” that have taken place over the past few months, but it was the moment that brought about the emotional realization that the little cowboy had truly grown up. And he has become a much better person than I.

Not every journey over the past 18 years has gone as smoothly as our first trip together not all that many years ago, but many of the bumps along the way seem insignificant at the moment. I hope that those times I was perhaps too demanding were properly tempered with admiration, for I have delighted in witnessing him accomplish things I never attempted and reach heights I never attained.

I am both anxious and dreadful of the roadtrip that will take place later this summer as we haul him to college. I can’t wait to see him find his place in the world and make a difference in someone else’s life. But what I wouldn’t give for one more trail ride and to hear that little voice say, “I love you, Daddy.”


Ozark Tourism Pioneer Dies

Mark Trimble, and early visionary in the development of tourism in Missouri and the Ozarks, died Sunday morning at his home in Branson. 

Guiding the growth of the
Shepherd of the Hills, at one time the number one outdoor drama in the nation, he possessed the foresight of what Branson could be. After acquiring Fantastic Caverns in the early 1960s he was inspired to create a cave tour that everyone could enjoy by riding on the tour.

His enjoyment of classic cars and vintage airplanes led to the creation of the Ozarks Auto Show and annual auto auction. Many will remember the nightly 'air shows' over Highway 76.  His most recent passion was the collection of antique and unusual outboard boat motors with over 1000 restored examples.

One of his real talents and pleasures was marketing. As one of the founding fathers of the Ozarks Marketing Council (Ozark Mountain Country), Mark was still actively involved with tourism through his guidance at Fantastic Caverns.

Show-Me Missouri Writer Speaks in Caruthersville

Emmy-award winning writer John Drake Robinson will be speaking Tuesday, July 28, at a free evening symposium sponsored by Show-Me Missouri, The Travel Magazine of Missouri.

Robinson is a columnist for Kennett-based Show-Me Missouri and is the author of two books, "A Road Trip Into America's Heart" and "Coastal Missouri".  The two books are "on the road" adventures that blend local characters and mom-and-pop food establishments into a archipelago of tasty stories.

In a bizarre experiment that lasted 13 years, Robinson traveled every mile of every road on his Missouri state highway map, marking each mile off the well-worn map throughout his journey. Along for the quarter-million-mile ride was his trusty sidekick, Erifnus Caitnop, a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire that has logged nearly 500,000 miles. Together, the two have criss-crossed the State of Missouri, traveling more miles than the combined travels of Marco Polo and Magellan, Columbus and Zebulon Pike, Lewis and Clark and Dr. Livingston. His books, as well as his Show-Me Missouri column, are not travel guides, but are, instead, commentaries on life as he penetrated beyond the edges of civilization, peeked into the real American heartland and lived to tell about it.

Robinson captured a Mid-America Emmy award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Short Format Program for an episode of Finding Wild Missouri, a video series hosted by him and produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

In the free Caruthersville event, audience members will hear about his journey and his unique commentaries on life in a humorous presentation. He will be available to meet with audience members and to sign copies of his books before and after the presentation.

The symposium will begin at 7 p.m. in the Baxter Southern Auditorium at the Caruthersville Public Library at 707 West 13th Street.

Show-Me Missouri Columnist Wins Emmy

Congratulations to Show-Me Missouri columnist John Robinson on capturing a Mid-America Emmy award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
John and his car have driven every mile of every road on the Missouri state highway map. He’s written two books about their adventures, and now a video highlighting their discoveries has won an Emmy.

“Mighty Confluence” captured the Mid-America Emmy award for Short Format Program, according to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), Mid-America Chapter. The Mid America Emmys were announced September 27 in Kansas City.

The Emmy-winning episode, part of the
Finding Wild Missouri video series produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation, follows John and his car, Erifnus Caitnop, to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The video series encourages Missourians to discover the state’s natural treasures.

Robinson wrote
A Road Trip Into America’s Hidden Heart in 2012, and Coastal Missouri in 2013.

Show-Me Missouri Editor Gary Figgins chatted with John after the release of his first book, A Road Trip Into America's Hidden Heart.
Click here to read the interview which first appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Show-Me Missouri.

Be sure to watch "
Mightly Confluence," the Emmy-winning video.

You can also follow John's adventures on his website at

Norman Rockwell Covers Come To Life

People with the inventiveness and willingness to create a living Norman Rockwell illustration are being sought in a collaborative project between George A. Spiva Center for the Arts and Mark Neuenschwander of 9art Photography in Joplin. 
The project involves recreations of pieces from the exhibit Norman Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers, now showing at Spiva. Each recreation will be photographed by 9art and displayed at Spiva for public voting on the best re-enactment. The winning team will receive a Norman Rockwell prize package.
People wishing to participate may sign up through October 14 by contacting Spiva at 417-623-0183.  The re-enactments photo shoot is set for 6 p.m. October 21, at Spiva. Costs are $25 per team with each team receiving one 8x10 color copy of the photograph.
Participants will select a piece from the exhibit and interpret it in any context desired, whether true to the illustration or with an approach that is modern day, ancient times, science fiction or any other interpretation. The only requirement is that the essential action and poses are the same. Teams will be responsible for all props, costumes and direction of the scene with 9art providing only the photography.
Norman Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers will be on view at Spiva through Saturday, November 8.  Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA, the exhibit is sponsored by Sharon and Lance Beshore and Family with additional financial support from the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Missouri Arts Council.