Photo by Shawn Crouch

Often times I wish I were a statue: trapped infinitely in one pose, watching others carefully, as their lives pass by me, but I remained unchanged.

I wouldn’t be a quiet statue, a reverent, careful, memory statue.

I’d be loud.

I’d be trapped in Columbia’s Jamboree.

If I were forever rooted in one spot, I’d like to be like the sly cat, satisfied alligator, upturned rabbit, unfortunate gecko and sarcastic frog that play their instruments every day on the grounds of the Boone County Courthouse.

This statue watches my city. It watched me grow from a tiny tot who climbed all over the gator’s banjo, to a zitty pre-teen who posed awkwardly in front of them and now to a fully-fledged Columbian who understands these wise creatures.

The animals of Jamboree watch my city. And if I were a statue, I, too, would be contented to sit there with a silly grin plastered on my face through rain and snow and chaotic Missouri hail just to see the changes.

I think it would be easier to be a statue because I wouldn’t cry as seniors left my city; I wouldn’t worry as money for the town got tight.

I would be satisfied to attach my happy eyes on the skyline and my iron feet to the pavement and know that this city, my city, would be all right.

Jamboree knows. Jamboree has seen, and Jamboree will stay frozen there, in front of the Courthouse, long after I am gone.

As much as I call Columbia my city, Columbia is the statue’s city, forever.

By Maria Kalaitzandonakes

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“See zos chickens?” her old Greek grandfather would say pointing to the pigeons, “all of zos are yours.” Growing up, all little girls think they’re princesses. But Maria’s kingdom never had a prince, never a castle. She reigned over her “chickens” and olive trees. Yup, it was all Greek to her. Rules in this kingdom were strict. Only A’s in school. No sleepovers. No painting the walls. In pre-school the teachers had her hearing tested three times, thinking that her piercingly loud voice must come from some sort of deafness. Maria, herself, never realized her life was odd until grade school, when the very American idea of “personal bubble space” puzzled her. And when physically unable to abide by the “arm’s length apart rule” Maria’s teacher gave her a hula hoop, which she had to walk around with as to not disrupt anyone’s personal space. When a little boy bothered her in middle school, Maria’s hot temper (Greek Blood as Maria’s father called it), got the best of her, and she yelled out a curse “gammoto!” and punched him in the face. In high school she embraced the crooked nose, the Christmas boat and the five gallon olive oil tin in her pantry. When Maria’s grandfather first saw a squirrel he said, “See zos fings” pointing to the unknown animal, “Do not be afraid of zem. You are a Greek, baby.” And with that, she had confidence in her future, as a non-squirrel fearing Greek princess. Maria is also the editor in chief for "The Rock" and "Southpaw". You can contact me at



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