As you know, we are back from Chicago and awaiting Hurricane Irma. But I never recounted the rest of our travels. Please come along and back-track with me.
From Dallas, we drove to Liberty Missouri to visit friend JR and his crackerjack hilarious little Aunt Nancy. JR does not like dogs. Bronson is the only dog ever allowed in his home. We intended to take our car on a planned field trip thinking JR wouldn’t want a canine passenger. Much to our delight, Bronson was welcome into JR’s automobile.
We drove to the neighboring town of Kearney and toured the birthplace of the notorious Jesse James. Jesse James wasn’t your typical western bank robber.
Jesse James’ legacy included being considered an outlaw hero, beloved by the public. Stories about him seemed to make him out as a hero, rather than a criminal (which he was).
Carl Sandberg, the noted author of several biographies including President Abraham Lincoln, referred to James as the “American Robin Hood,” stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
James was born and raised primarily in Missouri, a few miles from Kansas City. James was born on the Kearney farm and originally buried there. He was killed by Robert Ford at his home in St. Joseph, about 30 miles north of Kansas City.
Following Jesse’s murder, his mother, Zerelda, buried her son on their land. For the rest of her life, she slept facing the window so she could keep an eye on his gravesite. Afraid someone would dig him up kept a loaded shotgun next to her bed intending to shoot anyone who came near the grave.
Zerelda opened the home to tourists, selling them small rocks off the gravesite for twenty-five cents each. Our guide told us we were welcome to take a couple. Mine now live on the family room shelf.
Jesse was later moved to a local cemetery to keep him safe.
Back at JR’s, he drove me into his pasture to feed his cows. It’s a funny slimy experience.
JR made us a home-cooked beef stew meal. (Store bought meat, not one of his pet cows.) We sat at the kitchen table overlooking the cow pasture and pond. Nancy kept us laughing with her description of the eighty-two-year-old gentleman who is pursuing her. She’s convinced he’s only after one thing.