Kirksville Stories

Kirksville TravelStorys Kirksville TravelStorys map

During a visit home to Kirksville over Labor Day weekend, Dad and I drove around town on a history tour. We used the Travel Storys app, which uses GPS to automatically launch an audio description of interesting sites as we drew near. Using our car rather than proceeding on foot, in two leisurely morning drives consisting of about an hour each, we were able to visit all of the sites marked with a green bubble on the map.

What a joy and delight it was to experience some of the stories of Kirksville! We are thankful to Mayor Zac Burden and the City Council for making this history tour available. The mayor narrates the tour, and there is no better voice we would rather hear guiding us around the sites… clear and distinct enunciation, yet with a contagious sense of appreciation for those whose stories have shaped us.

What I discovered from doing the tour is that it makes me wonder all the more about all the other stories Kirksville offers in the older homes and structures that were not included! Such a tour as this is an entry, a doorway, a starting point, not an endpoint. It changes the way one looks at old familiar places, or how one responds when certain names are mentioned. It is a guided introduction not only to the history of Kirksville, but also to beginning to think historically in general.

In other words, it’s not just for tourists! Even more so, it deepens a sense of civic identity for those who live in Kirksville, or grew up there, and causes us to look more attentively to appreciate similar stories as we encounter them among us, wherever we are.

Now hopefully Truman and ATSU will sponsor their own tours that coordinate with the Kirksville tour for a comprehensive and integrated picture of Kirksville’s past.

If I have another home than Kirksville, it would be Wyoming, and in the Travel Storys app I see a long list of tours for Wyoming. Not so much for Oklahoma. So a big thank you is in order for those responsible for creating this tour, who made it possible for residents and visitors to Kirksville to enjoy experiencing a historical dimension of the place we all hold dear.

To try out the tour, download the free TravelStorys [sic] app from the App Store or Google Play. Open the app and then search for “Kirksville” and download the free tour (about 60MB). I granted permission for the app to know my location only when I am using the app; this GPS location awareness is necessary for autoplay of location descriptions. Alternatively, one may browse any location manually, wherever one may be. Note: The platform includes some premium tours, but the app and the Kirksville tour are available at no charge.

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The Old Churchyard

Madderty Church, Scotland Madderty Church, Scotland

The Old Churchyard.

Over Labor Day weekend, Candace, Rachel and Hannah got a chance to learn several songs, among which was Old Churchyard, an Appalachian folk song. Here it is from the last practice session, Monday September 5, 2022 at Dad’s. There was no sheet music to go by, so they worked by listening to the recording by the Wailin’ Jennys. They are holding their own individual notes and squiggles to guide them. The last frame shows their surprise at how it is coming together!

The Old Churchyard (lyrics PDF)

Come, come with me to the old churchyard
I so well know those paths ‘neath the soft green sward
Friends slumber in there that we want to regard
We will trace out their names in the old churchyard

Mourn not for them for their trials are o’er
Why weep for those who will weep no more?
For sweet is their sleep, though cold and hard
Their pillows may be in the old churchyard

I know that it’s vain when our friends depart
To breathe kind words to a broken heart
And I know that the joy of life is marred
When we follow lost friends to the old churchyard

But were I at rest ‘neath yonder tree
Why would you weep, my friends, for me?
I’m so weary, so wayworn, why would you retard
The peace that I seek in the old churchyard?

Why weep for me, for I’m anxious to go
To that haven of rest where no tears ever flow?
And I fear not my fate when it’s time to depart
I will sail with the sun in the old churchyard

I rest in the hope that one bright day
Sunshine will burst through these prisons of clay
The trumpets will sound in the hills near and far
Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard

I rest in the hope that one bright day
Sunshine will burst through these prisons of clay
The trumpets will sound in the hills near and far
Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard

The trumpets will sound in the hills near and far
Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard

Highland Park Cemetery, Kirksville, MO

The next morning at Highland Park Cemetery, Dad and I visited Mother’s gravestone (photo by Laura). At some point in the future, I’m planning to go there myself so to speak.

Above is a photo of Madderty Church in Scotland, a half hour north of Dunblane, which Candace and I visited in 2018. A number of Magruders are buried at both locations (Dunblane and Madderty). The gravestone epigram is from Madderty (photo by Rachel earlier this year). Our relatives struggling over the centuries in Scotland probably never imagined that someday some American descendants might return to Scotland to visit their gravesites in gratitude for their lives (cf. Communion).

Another song they practiced is Bird Song, again from the Wailin’ Jennys.

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Reading with imagination

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Morning prayer

Morning Prayer, Episcopal Church of Garrett CountyThe Garrett County morning prayer podcast is high on our list when considering which life changes from the Covid lockdown will continue on. We still often start off our day listening together, sipping tea (Candace) and coffee (me), watching birds at the feeders, as the morning sun rises higher through the east windows. If our eyes aren’t too groggy, we follow along in our copies of the Book of Common Prayer. Thank you, Episcopal Church of Garrett County, for providing this ministry. We appreciate it so much.

  • Morning Prayer podcast (Episcopal Church of Garrett County, Maryland; get)
  • Book of Common Prayer: compact | hardback | leather

Compline: Evening Liturgies for Anxious SoulsAnd a hat tip to the Center for Worship and the Arts, Samford University, also, for their Compline podcast which complements morning prayer with an evening liturgy to close out the day.

  • Compline: Evening Liturgies for Anxious Souls podcast (Center for Worship and the Arts, Samford University; get)

“To speak of liturgy is really to speak of scripture in another mode. For the most part all the great liturgies of the church are made up from loved and remembered passages of scripture, but this time it is no longer scripture flat on the page, but scripture that has been invited to get up and dance, to move us and to move with us.” ā€“ Malcolm Guite, The Word within the Words, p. 49

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Information vs. wonder

ā€œIā€™m very concerned that our society is much more concerned with information than wonder, in noise rather than silence. How do we encourage reflection? ā€¦ Oh my, this is a noisy world.ā€ Fred Rogers

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In unlooked-for moments in thin places we may glimpse the communion of saints together, already and not yet, running through the years and the generations. Our ancestors likely worshipped with the Drummonds in Innerpeffray Chapel, north of Dunblane, Scotland. Rachel and Stephen are visiting and sent back this video. It captures for me the reality of hope, regardless of present circumstances, arising in mystical communion across five centuries of intermingled sorrow and praise.

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Death has lost already

The Arcadian Wild: website | YouTube

Dear Lincoln, Isaac, and Bailey,

My wife Candace and I watched Andrew Peterson’s virtual Easter Monday show. It was so moving in that Andrew’s music and reflections always seem suffused with hope in the new creation. Your music is a natural fit, amplifying that wavelength. We very much enjoyed your appearance on his Christmas tour last winter, and were delighted to see you with him again this spring. I was simply overwhelmed by the resilient beauty and articulate vision of the three songs you performed (“Wandering in the Wild”; “Where God comes to Rest”; and “Benediction”).

Your lyrics stand on their own. Simply as poetry, I would gladly read them avidly and repeatedly. They have the depth and staying power of Bruce Cockburn or Annie Dillard. Yet they are animated in a special way through your masterful instrumental performances and stunning harmonies. I was emotionally riveted.

Over the period of access to the show on the Mandolin platform (now sadly ended), I went back often to watch all three over again (now how I wish they were on You Tube). “Benediction,” in particular, was a continual encouragement to me because of the way it connected me in dark times to the hope-filled weeks of Easter season.

Your creative work bears the marks of persons made in the image of God who have known much suffering and grief and yet hope in the Lord, waiting for the new creation with both the eyes of the forehead and the eyes of the heart wide open. Thank you, thank you, for your perseverance in your pilgrimage and for your faithfulness in creative art.



When it seems you’re all but drowning
May the water quench your thirsting
When the sun is nearly blinding
May you, by it, see everything

When your worry leaves you weary
May your sleep be sound and healing
When the road is long and winding
And the wrong story is selling
May you find your own worth writing
When the fairies tell of weeping
May you show them all the glory
When there’s too many to bury
May you know death lost already

When the burden’s beyond bearing
May you know it’s not yours only
When your body’s worn and wasting
And time is only taking
May you find it all worth giving
In the silent war that’s waging
Keep quietly rebelling
When there’s always more to bury
May you know death lost already

In secula seculorum

When it seems you’re all but drowning
May the water quench your thirsting
When the sun is nearly blinding
May you, by it, see everything
As it was meant to be
A wonder, extraordinary
Made to wander free and fearlessly
Unto all eternity

Because death has lost already

Listen: Website | Apple Music | Spotify

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Mary Anning

Dedication of a Mary Anning sculpture in Lyme Regis last month:

PS: Here is the provisional content for a Mary Anning exhibit in the OU History of Science Collections this fall, to be installed in late July and August: PDF (4 MB).

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VLA photo VLA in the movie Contact

This summer Candace and I are going to Alcon2022 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We’ll be presenting an update on The Sky Tonight project (; see overview).

The program and speaker line-up look exciting. It even includes an all-day trip to the Very Large Array!

Very Large Array and Astronomical Lyceum: website | Wikipedia

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The Swing

The Swing (song)

When our girls were young, Candace took the poem “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson and gave it a catchy tune. They loved to be pushed in a swing as she sang the poem. Here’s the poem and her musical notation, which she wrote out last night.

The Swing, Michael Hague The Swing, Michael Hague
The Land of Nod and Other Poems for Children by Robert Louis Stevenson,
selected and illustrated by Michael Hague
(New York: Henry Holt, 1998); Amazon.

The Swing

The Swing

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