I left my home in Virginia and took a road trip with my favorite cousin to revisit my Missouri roots and promote The Night the Chimneys Fell, a book about the New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes. First stop was Jefferson City where I signed at the Downtown Book and Toy store. The First Lady of Missouri, Georganne Nixon, made a surprise appearance and gave me a thrill!
(Photo at right: Marty Rhodes Figley signing a copy of The Night the Chimneys Fell for Georganne Nixon.)
Then we drove four hours to New Madrid way down in the “bootheel” of the state where a whole lotta shakin’ went on in 1811-1812. The Mississippi looms huge at the edge of the town. It covers much of pre-earthquake New Madrid. People were hospitable and kids were polite when I signed at the New Madrid Historical Museum. Made me want to move back to the “Show Me State.”
The next day my cousin and I had tea at the Governor’s Mansion. The First Lady added my book to the mansion library. She gave us a tour of the grand old home that was built in 1871. The First Dog, a Welsh springer spaniel named Daniel Boone, was exemplary in his behavior. He could teach my Airedale terrier, Scarlett, a manner or two!
(Photo at left: Missouri First Lady Georganne Nixon and First Dog Daniel Boone.)
I’ll long cherish my memories of this Missouri trip. Maybe the best moment was when a shy, young girl from New Madrid asked me if she could give me a hug and thanked me for writing a book about her town. Now that’s what it’s all about.