The unfolding tragedy in Joplin, Missouri has tempered the excitement surrounding the release of my latest book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, the pending journey to the International Route 66 Festival in Amarillo in June that will serve as the kick off for the promotional tour, and the excitement that always precedes the start of a grand adventure on Route 66. The prayers of my family are for those who have lost so much in this tragedy.
I can not imagine how devastating it would be to loose family, friends, treasured mementos, and even the very neighborhoods called home. It is my sincere hope that through this tragedy the city of Joplin, and the nation, will find common ground, cast aside differences, and rebuild something wonderful from the ruins.
From the perspective of Route 66, I have yet to hear what treasures and landmarks, if any, were destroyed or damaged. For updates on the tragedy and its affect on the Route 66 community, I suggest Route 66 News as a primary source of information.
Tornadoes are terrifying and fascinating things. I remember as a kid the warnings and the dash to the cellar that made you as jumpy as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs every time a thunderstorm rolled by.
However, the memory that embedded a fascination and respect for these storms in my mind came with a visit to friends of the family whose home had been erased by a tornado. We were there to help. My dad helped clear debris and search for things that were salvageable. My mom pitched in with sandwiches and such, and I chased petrified livestock.
The slab for the once stately two story home was swept absolutely clean and the resultant debris was spread like a fan across the fields as far as the eye could see. The exception was most of one standing wall, the one with the fireplace that was faced with a series of shelves for Mary’s figurines and music boxes. Incredibly, many of the fragile figurines were still in place.
I have experienced moderate earthquakes, another unnerving but fascinating phenomena, blinding sandstorms in the desert and howling blizzards on the northern plains as well as hurricanes. As with tornadoes, all of these disasters are best read about rather than experienced.

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