Signs and wonders

January 18, 2009

The most photographed water tower in Missouri? Very likely. Incidentally, the town IS named after the booze, not the city in France. It was a railroad town back in the day, and the store for the railroad workers had barrels of bourbon in the front.

One of my six great readers said he liked my Ozarks postings. It’s an indefinite term–I’ve read of places referred to as “Ozarks” that include pretty much everything south of I-44 and west of Missouri Highway 67. I’m partial to the parts around the Meramec, Huzzah, and Courtois rivers and creeks (you’re from the area if you can pronounce that third name correctly). There have been “Galts” in this part of the state, Crawford County, in an unbroken line since long before the Civil War. Many of my Catholic ancestors are buried in Sacred Heart cemetery in Leasburg, and the Protestants are buried in Lea cemetery. Shanty Irish, farmers and railroad workers. Legendary drinkers, a woman who ran a prison farm, mayor of a small town–all of them distant relatives.

I was in the area today–it got up to a balmy 40 degrees, so I decided to go look at a prospective Gulch. Wild country, lots of deer sign, but probably wouldn’t work. On my way back to St. Louis, I stopped by Meramec State Park again and walked three miles. Saw something I’d never seen before–ice had formed stalagmites and stalactites in a cave. At the third cave on the trail, a small stream flowing from the opening had frozen solid. This is a wild and beautiful area, and I truly long to find a great place there to call my own.


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