There hasn't been a lot of time to explore the Poplar Bluff, Butler County, and Southeast Missouri region since I arrive at the Daily American Republic on the morning of Nov. 1. But what I've been able to do has been enjoyable.
Since my wife and I are taking turns hitting the road on weekends between here and Indiana, our free weekend time in the area has been limited. But that will change a day or two after Christmas when a semi arrives at our home in Indiana and delivers our belongings to Poplar Bluff a day or two later.
One thing Deb and I have thoroughly enjoyed has been our two visits to the Rodgers Theater. We watched "A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas" on Nov. 30, and we were there again Dec. 14 for The Best of Motown.
The newspaper ran an editorial a couple of weeks ago encouraging area residents to help with the matching-grant money needed to replace the Rodgers' roof. Rodgers Theater Board of Directors President Wally Duncan announced at The Best of Motown the financial support is getting close to $10,000.
Sometimes a community doesn't know what it has in something like the Rodgers until it's too late. Kudos to the individuals who have done an outstanding job of bringing it back to life and scheduling quality entertainment for area residents to enjoy.
Deb and I hope to be in attendance Jan. 5 for the Opry At The Rogers, featuring Double Edge from Memphis, along with Jonathan Len, the former lead singer of Blend. According to the Rodgers' website, they will perform hits from classic artists such as Elvis, Conway Twitty, Gene Watson, Patsy Cline and others.
If you'd like to learn more about the Rodgers or to donate to the restoration project, you can find additional information at rodgerstheatre.org.
Another form of entertainment has filled several of my nights during the week since Deb is five hours away and so is our TV: High school basketball. In 49 states it's a game, but in Indiana, it's a religion.
Missouri basketball is pretty enjoyable too.
I've watched games at Poplar Bluff, Puxico, Twin Rivers, Dexter, Doniphan, Bernie and Three Rivers College. I have yet to see the new Three Rivers College arena, but I believe it would be fair to say that Dexter's gym is impressive.
When I walked into the Bearcat Event Center the first thing I noticed was the small scoreboard above the concession stand in the lobby. It allows those in line to keep up with the game if they get hungry or thirsty before the quarter or halftime breaks.
The jumbotron-like scoreboard on one end lists the current players in the game and what they have scored and their fouls.
I didn't get a chance to see the Puxico trophy case when I was there. After reading part of the book "My Name is Mister Ryan" I wanted to see the state championship trophy.
Kudos to whomever in Doniphan is responsible for making the popcorn and deciding the serving size. It's a huge bag for a $1. I couldn't eat it all, though I certainly tried.
The weeks and months ahead will provide many days for Deb and I the opportunity to enjoy what Southeast Missouri has to offer. We're looking forward to it.