The writer Jonathan Franzen was born in Chicago but grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, the town where I have lived for 22 years. He wrote a novel, set mostly in St. Louis, called The Twenty-Seventh City. That was the city's U.S. population rank at the time. It's fallen considerably since, what with devastating suburban sprawl, although we remain the 16th largest metropolitan area if you believe Wikipedia. It doesn't look like much in this view from across the Mississippi but the Arch is ever glorious and we are covered by the boundless Midwestern sky.