Category Archives: College

#Schummer14: Day 27-28 recap ~ the end of Summer of Schnyder 

#schummer14 driving home midwestOur last two days of the Summer of Schnyder (#schummer14) road trip were spent driving through familiar territory – from Cincinnati, Ohio, we went across Indiana, Illinois (which we passed through at the beginning of the trip, although farther north) and then into my home state of Missouri and finally Kansas.

We arrived in my hometown of Columbia, Mo., on Sunday afternoon in time to have dinner with my step-dad, my nephew and his wife and my sister-in-law at G&D, a small, family-owned steakhouse that opened a year before I was born. I remember having meals here every Friday night with my parents and aunt & uncle in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Since I wasn’t sure exactly when we would get to Columbia, I didn’t make plans with anyone ahead of time, I just texted a few people on my way into town. I was able to see a couple of friends briefly but it didn’t look like my schedule was going to work out with my dad, who lives about an hour northwest of Columbia. It turned out he had a doctor’s appointment in Columbia on Monday morning so he wouldn’t be home for us to stop by and see. Since he doesn’t have a cell phone, it would be hard to coordinate in the morning not knowing exactly how long his appointment would go. I talked to him on the phone and we just decided that I would get back in the fall and see him then.

When I woke up Monday morning, it was bothering me that I wasn’t going to get to see my dad. So I told Lee I wanted to just drive by the doctor’s office and maybe if it wasn’t a real big place we would see my dad’s car and we could wait for about 30 minutes to see if his appointment went quickly. We were trying to time leaving the hotel with when my dad’s appointment started. While we waited, Lee made a phone call to turn our cable back on. It should have been a quick call but Cox Communications made it a difficult process and transferred Lee to two people. Finally, I told him we needed to go so we would have to chance the call dropping as we took the elevator (it didn’t). We headed to the address of the doctor’s office and as soon as I turned the corner I see that it’s right next to one of the huge hospitals and there are huge parking garages and multiple buildings. “Well, there’s no way we will find his car here,” I said, as I turned by the building to turn around and head back out. As we drove by the building Lee spotted my dad standing outside waiting for his car to be brought to him! What are the chances?!? Lee jumped out of the car to go tell my dad we were there and to coordinate where we could meet up for breakfast. Getting to have breakfast with him made my day!

On the way out of town we drove by Memorial Stadium, home of the Missouri Tigers. I couldn’t believe how much the renovations during the off-season have changed the profile of the stadium. Can’t wait to catch a game there this fall!

After breakfast we drove home to Wichita. As a sign that we weren’t yet sick of each other, we actually took the long way home. We’ve never done this before and I highly recommend getting off the major highways in Kansas, either if you’re a Kansan or a visitor passing through the state. We followed part of the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway from Emporia down to I-35 just east of Wichita. It was a beautifully, sunny day and it was nice to not feel like we were in a rush to get where we were going, even after 28 days in the car together.

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> A sure sign we were getting back to the real midwest — Sonic drive-thrus!

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> I didn’t catch a photo of the super moon in Columbia but the sky earlier in the evening was beautiful.

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> Me and my step-dad Charles.

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> Me and my dad, Jim.

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> Flint Hills of Kansas.

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> Reflection of our vehicle.

#schummer14 driving home midwest

<photo> Lee driving us the long way home through the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway.


#Schummer14 – Lee & MeLinda Schnyder are turning their home in Wichita, Kan., over to a friend and taking a month-long road trip. They’ll travel from Kansas to Ontario and Quebec, Canada; then through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The trip home will include stops in Ohio and Missouri. Beyond the blog, you can follow #Schummer14 on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Also posted in Family, Friends, Lee, travel

One of my favorite all-time Tigers: Corby Jones

Mizzou_Corby_MelindaLee is a really good gift-giver (unlike some of my failures, like this bad move I made last year). He’s very generous when he’s gifting and he really likes the element of surprise. He pulled off a good one in December with a well-timed stop in Kansas City as we were driving to Columbia to see friends and family for Christmas.

He told me we had a stop to make but I thought we were just dropping in at a store that had something he couldn’t find in Wichita, instead it was a stop to get an in-person autograph from Corby Jones.

Corby was Missouri’s starting quarterback in 1997 and 1998 and is one of my all-time favorite Tigers for a couple of reasons — we attended the same high school (Hickman High School), he chose to stay home and play for the Tigers when Nebraska was recruiting him to replace Tommie Frazier, he snapped a long streak of losing seasons and he was just a really nice guy.

Look, I don’t analyze statistics like Lee or most other sports fanatics do — my analysis is with my heart not a calculator.

Records of 7-5 and 8-4 don’t jump out as stellar seasons unless you put them into context — before Corby led Mizzou to that 7-5 record in 1997, we had suffered through 13 losing seasons. That losing streak pretty much spanned the time in my life when I paid attention to what was going on with Missouri sports (1984-1997, which were ages 13 through 26 for me!).

Corby made watching Missouri football fun for me to watch for the first time in my life. (Anyone remember the game at Faurot against No. 1-ranked Nebraska that went to overtime because of a miraculous kicked ball in the end zone?!? We ended up losing 45-38 in OT.) It doesn’t hurt, either, that Corby’s timing coincided with me moving to enemy territory (Kansas) and getting out of sportwriting … so I finally found my voice as a Tiger fan. (I’m sure it’s hard for some of you who’ve only known me for the past decade or so to believe, but it took me quite awhile to convert from being a reporter to being an outspoken Mizzou fan!)

Corby’s father was a former Tiger and when he returned to Mizzou to coach under Bob Stull, Corby also moved to Columbia and finished out his high school career at Hickman. He chose Missouri over powerhouses like Nebraska, and in my opinion he paved the way for Mizzou to start landing some of the better in-state talent and for out-of-state quarterbacks like Brad Smith and Chase Daniel to come play at MU.

Since his playing days, Corby got a law degree from Mizzou and is now practicing in Kansas City. It was fun to talk to him for a few minutes and, as I remembered from interviewing him during his high school days, he was very gracious.

So below is a photo of where the helmet signed by Corby lives. It’s one of the new design helmets, which I’m glad Lee went with. It’s next to the old style block M helmet, which I got signed by running back Brock Olivo several years ago.

Thanks for great memories, Corby … and thanks for the great gift, Lee!



Also posted in Lee, Sports

Trip Guide: Columbia, Missouri

When my Mizzou Tigers left the Big 12 Conference to move to the Southeastern Conference in 2012, one of the few benefits I could see was that this could be my excuse for visiting areas of the country where I haven’t traveled much.

Yet one of the obvious downsides for me is that same geography. I’m no longer in the heart of my team’s conference – my home base of Wichita, Kansas, allowed me to get to nearly all of the Big 12 towns easily.

My husband, Lee, and I made one road trip during the Tigers’ inaugural SEC football season, going to Columbia, South Carolina, in September 2012. As we struggled to find good logistical information on where to stay, what to do while there and the best way to get to the game, I realized that I am an expert at both living in and visiting Columbia, Missouri.

So why not share 41 years of expertise with others, including some SEC fans who might be visiting our beautiful college town for the first time.

A common question people ask is whether you prefer living in the city or the country … I prefer a college town, like my hometown of CoMo. I was born there, went to college at the University of Missouri and left when I was 23 to take a job in Wichita. Since leaving, I’ve returned to CoMo up to 12 times some years; now I would say I average four visits a year.

I may do more than one post on this topic because there are several angles I could take. For this post, I’m going to make a list of places you shouldn’t miss on your first trip to CoMo. This isn’t a comprehensive list, just enough for someone who will be in town for 2-3 days.

Note: I’m putting this together with specific friends in mind so it’s skewed to what I think they would enjoy based on what I know about them and the fact that they are staying near downtown/campus and attending Mizzou baseball games. However, this list is applicable to many first-time visitors.

Pepperoni pizza at Shakespeare’s Pizza in Columbia, Missouri

Where to eat/drink:

Shakespeare’s Pizza

Have the pepperoni because it’s thick cut and the taste is unique. They also offer a pepperjack cheese option I occasionally get.

The pizza here is legendary. Alumni from around the world voted in November 2010 to help make Shakespeare’s the winner of Best Bites Challenge: College Edition on ABC’s Good Morning America.

There are now three locations: downtown, south and west. Go to the original in downtown CoMo unless it’s a football Saturday. On a game day last fall at the west location, the wait to get to the counter to order was more than an hour and you couldn’t even get through on the phone to place a to-go order a to-go. You have to call hours ahead (like before the game) and place your order for pick-up later.

Flat Branch Pub & Brewing

Compared to the other restaurants on this list, Flat Branch is a newcomer – they opened in late 1994, as I was heading west. The pub is just a couple blocks off campus, in a cool 1927 brick warehouse that was once a Hudson car dealership.

The entire menu is good but you MUST order the chokes & cheese appetizer. I’ve even had it as a meal. And if you really want to indulge, go for the freshly-baked, gooey cookie topped with locally made Tiger Stripe ice cream. I’m not a hand-craft beer drinker, but if you are you will want to check out their offerings.

Murry’s Restaurant

I would call this place upscale casual. It’s got a fun menu. I usually eat from the appetizers. My favorites are: fried green peppers with powered sugar, the onion rings and Bob’s Bobs. I’ve never been there for the live jazz but I’ve heard it’s a good time.


I’m sure you’ve noticed breakfast is missing from my list. I don’t have a go-to spot for breakfast in Columbia. I tend to eat some fruit or eat something light, but if you want a full breakfast go to Yelp (which will likely lead you to Ernie’s or Broadway Diner for a greasy breakfast, Uppercrust for pastries).

Tropical Liquers

A wall full of slushie machines mixing fruity goodness with hooch. That’s all I need to say.

Who got the hooch? Trops in CoMo

M-I-Z …

Where to get outside

Mizzou’s campus

You can’t come to Columbia for the first time and not see the University of Missouri. I can (and may) write an entire post about the campus of the first public university west of the Mississippi River.

What you do on campus can be customized to your interests (museums, architecture, history) and by what events are taking place (sports, concerts, arts). Check out the campus event calendar because there’s always something going on.

The columns are iconic, but so are many other spots on this beautiful campus. You can arrange for a 1.5-hour campus tour on weekdays or take a self-guided audio tour or follow this historic walking tour guideAt the bare minimum, visit the columns and other historic sites around the Francis Quad, see Memorial Union and go inside the Student Center.

One more link, to a campus visitor guide:

The District

We called this downtown when I lived there! It’s a great collection of mostly independent shops, restaurants and bars. It’s fun to sidewalk shop with a group of friends, and it’s adjacent to the campus so you can hit the whole area at once. My favorite shop is Poppy.

Stephens Lake Park

This is a sentimental place for my family and it is a nice spot to get outside and run or walk.

Memorial bench for my mom, in front of memorial tree for my brother Roy at Stephens Lake

Katy Trail

If you want a longer distance to walk, run or ride a bike than Stephens Lake Park or Mizzou’s campus, go to the MKT Trail, aka the Katy Trail. It’s now the nation’s longest rails-to-trails project – Missouri-Kansas-Texas railway – and offers a very level path.

There are several points of entry around town, including one that is walking distance from campus or downtown. You can walk for 15 minutes or if you wanted, you can journey to either end of the state from here.

Les Bourgeois

This could fall into the where to eat or the where to get outside category. Technically it isn’t in CoMo. It’s just 15 minutes to the west of Columbia along I-70 and it’s on the way into the tiny antique town of Rocheport.

The views from this blufftop winery overlooking the Missouri River make it a good spot, especially if you like wine. They have a Blufftop Bistro that’s a full, upscale restaurant and they have the A-frame, a seasonal spot that attracts students and tourists wanting to see the view while having a nice spot for a bottle of wine and picnic.


So let me know if you think I left out a must-see or must-do for someone’s first visit to Columbia, Missouri!

Also posted in Photography, Sports, travel

Lessons learned on Valentine’s Day 1992

I learned a couple of valuable lessons on Valentine’s Day in 1992.

I was a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Missouri. D.T. was also a sophomore, but he was about 8 months older. It’s not a huge age difference but significant because it meant he had turned 21 years old the past December and was now able to go to bars … without me.

Mizzou campus

We’d been dating about 18 months and this was my first long-term relationship, unless you count my torrid affair with J.V. that spanned fifth and sixth grades at Benton Elementary {lots of intense dates at the Skate-or-Bowl in Columbia, Mo.!} <– sarcasm font goes there

It was not a super serious relationship – we did spend much of our limited free time together and we didn’t date other people. But I don’t remember ever thinking about marrying him. I don’t really remember thinking any farther than plans for the next weekend.

I was going to school full-time and working a part-time job to pay my way through. Also, as part of my coursework in the news-editorial sequence in the School of Journalism I had a full-time beat covering the Columbia College men’s basketball team for the Columbia Missourian, the city’s morning daily newspaper.

Just painting the picture that I was busy and D.T. wasn’t my reason for being or anything.

So when it was brought to my attention by a third-party that my relationship with D.T. wasn’t quite as exclusive as I thought it was (that’s where access to bars came into play), I wasn’t very happy. I broke things off. I’m pretty sure I was the first person to say: “ain’t nobody got time for that”  – long before Sweet Brown made it famous.

D.T. wanted to talk and explain what had happened. I didn’t want to listen.

A few nights later, on Feb. 13, he showed up at the newspaper and caught me at the door when I returned from that night’s game. I told him to go home, I needed to write my article for the next morning’s paper. When I came out several hours later, he was still there –  teary-eyed and shivering from the cold. I told him again that I didn’t want to talk. I got in my car and drove off.

I remember looking in my rearview mirror and seeing him standing in the middle of the road with his hands up in the air in exasperation. There are just some images you never forget.

I went home and struggled to clear my head; I eventually fell asleep. The phone ringing was what woke me up. It was a call from the ER telling me that D.T. had overdosed on pills and they needed to know if I’d seen him recently and if I knew anything about his condition when I saw him – had he been drinking, did I know what he might have taken, etc.

I couldn’t help, I hadn’t been close enough to him the night before to notice anything.

I rushed to the hospital that Feb. 14th morning. And I was there every day after – some 30-plus days. D.T. was in a coma the entire time and eventually his family took him off life support. He passed away during spring break that March.

Why hadn’t I let him talk? What if he would have given me a clue of what he was thinking of doing and I could’ve prevented it.

Why had I been so angry with him when it wasn’t that serious of a relationship? What if I’d told him it was OK, we’d both move on, we’d both be fine. He could have turned his focus to his other issues.

All of these ‘what ifs’ nearly broke me. I considered dropping out of school. I considered a lot of things, none of them good.

But the people closest to me picked me up and helped me see that this wasn’t all about me – it wasn’t what I did or didn’t do that caused him to overdose on a prescription medication he was taking for epilepsy. D.T. had other issues going on besides our failed relationship.

That spring, my editor at the newspaper assigned me to be the beat writer for the Missouri football team the next fall. It was a coveted assignment (even though, yes, it was during some bad years of football at Mizzou). It gave me something to look forward to. That is probably the one thing that kept me in school. And being in school kept my mind busy.


The sports crew from the J-school and the Columbia Missourian, circa winter 1991. In fact, D.T. was at this party and he may have taken this photo because he wasn’t studying journalism and he didn’t know any of this group. The sports editor I mention in this post, Paul, is the third from the left in the front row. I’m in the middle in the back, standing on a chair because I definitely wasn’t as tall as our assistant editor, Jim, standing to my left!


So what lessons did I learn that Valentine’s Day?

  • just be willing to listen
  • sometimes you have to forgive someone for hurting you or disappointing you – more for your own good than for their benefit

That last one, especially, has come in handy through the years when close family members repeatedly disappointed me by not reaching out to me as much as I wanted or by not showing the support I wanted during some of the biggest moments of my life. Based on that lesson from my last moments with D.T., I chose to keep those people in my life – at a safe distance – instead of writing them off and not talking to them again.

I didn’t do this for them, honestly. I did it so that if something happened to them, I would have fewer ‘what ifs’ and, hopefully, no regrets.

Also posted in Family, Friends Tagged , , |