This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2013 - For the Beacon's fifth birthday, we've asked people to share five favorite things from over the years.
1. Experiencing firsthand the resilience and graciousness of residents of the Missouri Bootheel under the most trying of circumstances: While covering the aftermath of the 2011 flooding, these incredible Missourians -- who had all lost their homes -- not only trusted me to tell their stories, but some even cooked for me. On a blustery fall afternoon, Milus and Wanda Wallace treated me to delicious beef stew, pulled pork sandwiches and banana pudding, served from the back of pickup trucks parked in a barn they were rebuilding on their farm. And 73-year-old “Miss Aretha” Robinson, displaced from Pinhook, Mo., made lunch for me: fried AND baked chicken because she didn’t know which I’d prefer. (I liked them both.) People are amazing.