#428, October 16, 2006
COLUMBUS: Back in Ohio after spending a week wandering around Missouri. Stopped at Boonville, home of Kemper Military Academy. That historic school shut down five years ago, and they’re still searching for a good use for those old brick buildings and hallowed ground.
Kansas City is one town that knows how to preserve and celebrate their history. If you’ve never been in one of those old train stations, you have to see this one to believe it. It is massive, and they use it for about everything. If need be, the Chiefs could play their football games in it. And yes, the trains still rumble through; it’s the depot for Amtrak. You can step off the train, walk out the front door of the station and look up the hill to see the famous World War I memorial. Nothing can equal that massive stone edifice for sheer size and imposing presence over a city.
Speaking of memorials, I saw on television some of the dedication of that new Air Force Memorial in Washington. “My” old friend, General Billy Mitchell, kinda laid the foundation for it back in the 1920s when the Army and Navy, and most of Congress, couldn’t foresee any reason to ever fight a war in the air.
Kansas City is getting geared up for the American Royal Livestock Show later this week. They’ve been bringing the best of the breeds here for over a hundred years.
Drove down to Branson to see some shows. This is a town that’s making history. It just shows what you can do with a small town and rocky hillsides if you build a whole slew of theaters, motels and country restaurants and leave room to park all the tour buses. Saw Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, the Platters and a country music show, but missed out on the Gatlin Brothers.
You may think I drove all the way to Missouri to escape the politics back East. Even if it had been the purpose, it didn’t work. They got a Senate campaign here that’s just as down and dirty as the ones in Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania. This is a year when we should just load up all the candidates in railroad box cars, ship them to Miami and tell them to duke it out like those football players did on Saturday. Then after the Brawl has ended, you bandage up the losers, curse the winners, and suspend them all from politics for two to six years.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“Missouri is a state where they breed mules and politicians, the best in the world of both.” WA #554, August 6, 1933
“Old Missouri? Some mighty poor farms but mighty good schools. You can learn something, but you can’t raise much. Boonville, one of the finest Military schools anywhere (Kemper Military Academy). I was two years there, one year in the guard house, and the other in the fourth reader. One was about as bad as the other.
Lots of politics in Missouri. Wherever you find poor soil you will always find politics. When you see you ain’t going to raise anything, you just sit down at the end of the row and cuss the party in power. There is a lot of fertile ground in that historical old state too, but the limestone ridges is where the long winded old congressmen come from.” WA #523, January 1, 1933
“Why last week when I was (in Kansas City), there was 17 hundred young boys and girls brought there by that great paper, the Kansas City Star, from over 30 states. They were taking vocational training and had led their various districts back home in the studying of farming, and stock raising, and had been brought to see the American Royal Livestock Show.” WA #207, November 28, 1926
“Twenty thousand people in Missouri gathered to see twelve farmers in the world’s championship corn husking. No wonder the farmer has nothing. If he had been smart enough to put these on under the guise of college athletics, hired a coach and a stadium, why then the farmer would be sitting as pretty as Notre Dame.” DT #1032, November 15, 1929