The young minister had come to town while in his mid-thirties. The people in the little church were surprised by what they saw. He was about six feet two and weighed 125 pounds. He was tubercular and would fight the illness for much of his life. Church members accustomed to fire and brimstone were surprised when the preacher delivered a quiet sermon, a fireside chat type of presentation. In his spare time the young preacher made his headquarters at the office of a local lawyer. There he wrote his sermons and worked on a book about some people he had known few years before. Often he wrote parts of it while on fishing and hunting trips with friends. It became one of the most famous novels ever written about Missouri, a book which gave its name to an entire section of our state. For a man who started life with so little and finished life with so much, he never seemed to consider himself above the common people who filled the novels which made him rich. Once he told an interviewer, “You know, I understand my limitations. I don’t write literature. I write books.” Later he said, “Take your work seriously, but not yourself. My first commandment is ‘Thou shalt not kid thyself.” His name was Harold Bell Wright.

AUDIO: AOWM May 4, 2005 (mp3)