Posted by: krpooler | September 17, 2010

The Music of Missour-a

JUST PLAY WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN”– Deway Balfer, Cajun Musician

Trenton,Missouri  is nestled in the rolling green hills of North Central Missouri; a small town with a heart as big as Texas. Once my home for three years where friendships as  strong as family ties were  forged and memories as special as prized family photos  were made, my annual pilgrimage back to the heartland always makes me feel a sense of security and comfort that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Our Trenton friends became our family-away-from-our-family. I have traveled back almost every year since 1989 when my children,Leigh Ann and Brian and I piled into our 1986 Ford Tempo with suitcases, blankets , pillows and Muffin, our “Show Me ” cat who adopted us . I mean ,he jumped right into the back seat of  our car one day after hovering on the deck for several weeks before we moved. We were headed back to our roots in New York State, moving on but leaving parts of our hearts behind.

Now ,if anyone thinks a small  town in rural Missouri has nothing to offer, let me set you straight…

Saturday evening, I was welcomed into town by “The Wild Women of Kansas City” at the local community center. For two hours, four beautiful,soulful black women in glittering sequenced dresses belted out jazz tunes that had us swaying in waves and clapping in the top bleacher. The highlight of the evening was hearing the throaty reverberations of the 93-year-old member as she treated us to her imitation of Louie Armstrong.

After church on Sunday, we stopped by the Lakeview restaurant for a buffet that left us vowing to not eat again until at least the next day. From there , we went to the Grundy County Museum for the “New Harmonies” Celebrating American Roots Music display on loan from the Smithsonian where we were treated to Old Time-y (form of folk) music. Here is D String, a vibrant trio of women from nearby Jamesport ,Mo on  a lap dulcimer, a hammer dulcimer, mandolin  and a guitar who  delighted us with lively Civil War and Blue Grass tunes. Their harmony and lightheartedness  kept us spellbound and fastened to our seats:

I even met Santa Claus. Tom ,a professional Santa, was every bit as jolly and wonderful as the Santa of my childhood

 But the best part, as always, was  sharing around the kitchen tables,  walking around the track with friends, running into acquaintences, reminiscing about Brian’s role in his 6th grade talent show or the chocolate chip pancakes Leigh Ann and her friends made in our kitchen the mornings after  slumber parties….this is the music I believe in. It is the music of friendship that keeps playing over and over again to enrich my life and nurture my soul.

Are you playing what you believe in?


  1. What a great post, Kathy. Your descriptions are so rich. I enjoyed it very much.

    • Thanks Lynne. I had a great week and as always it flew by!

  2. Kathy, your writing is improving by leaps and bounds! The word pictures are so descriptive, the memories you recalled are so heart-warming, and I almost felt as if I, too, were visiting Missour-a with your family! I loved your story about the cat — I had one adopt me when I was living in Texas, and I’ve never even been a “cat person”!

  3. Wow Deb, thanks for your kind comments! I appreciate the feedback. BTW,Muffin went on to be our loyal companion until 2002 through thick and thin. I never thought I was a cat person either,that is until I met him.

  4. A lap dulcimer and a hammer dulcimer? What joy to be listening to these instruments. You must have had a wonderful time.

  5. Yes,Vagabonde, I did have a wonderful time. Not only was the music great,but the collective energy of the three women was very uplifting. Thanks for your comments!

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