Real Life Luthers

The Missouri Luther

A man called Luther was a friend and helpmate of my grandparents in a little town in southwest Missouri. I met him while visiting them as a very young child. I’m not sure how I actually remember Luther, but he made a big impression on me. He was kind and talked to me like a friend. Luther took time out of his adult day to show me around the greenhouse he kept for my grandmother.

Later, when I was older, but still a child, he was gone. I was living on the property then but my siblings were elsewhere. I spent a lot of time alone. I was convinced then and now I saw and felt Luther there.

This gentle man whose full name I never knew made such an impression that I have never forgotten him. I believe he has heard and felt my gratitude over the years.

Rev. Carl E. Andersen, Burro Guru

The Real Luthers

Luther Andersen, a primary character in my novel, is an amalgamation of every good mentor I’ve ever had, both women and men. Some have passed while most are still alive. Luther’s looks and last name come from the late Reverend Carl E. Andersen, who also went briefly as The Burro Guru. Carl was a WW II veteran Army officer and a real mystic. Like so very many others, I loved him dearly. I didn’t know him when he was young, though I did see a few photos. He was a tall, slender, gentle Dane with beautiful blue eyes, a thick head of hair, and amazing insight he’d honed over his long, adventurous life.

I have been graced to cross paths with many wise souls―family members, teachers, ministers, friends. These Luthers shared their wisdom with me in ways that stuck. Their gentle kindness and intelligent humor opened my mind, heart, ears, and eyes. Some literally saved my you-know-what (butt)! I am so crazy grateful that I’d love to post the long list of their names here, but I choose to respect their privacy. Still, thank you.  (You know who you are.)


New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

7 replies
  1. Randy Jiner
    Randy Jiner says:

    That is so cool! It is so nice to see how people pass on a little piece of themselves and how that piece becomes a big chunk of someone else’s future. You have given them immortality.

  2. sarah
    sarah says:

    love love love…the title —acknowledging ‘working’ — grabbed me..very comfortable and familiar (maybe familial)…?. you are a Luther for me…so grateful for that… so exvited for this.

  3. AuntY
    AuntY says:

    You are speaking of Al R___’s greenhouse,aren’t you? He,too,was a dear and darling man. He could have been called Rev. as he spoke passionately re: his love of God and importance of the spiritual life. He showed me how to milk a goat when I was seven years old..his wife was my roll model growing up. How I love them these 70 years later.

  4. George White
    George White says:

    Hi Tanya D.,
    Well, the proof is in. I truly am disconnected from my media sources. I see, after checking here for your activity, that I received a message from you in 2018. I laugh at me…
    I am interested in the progress concerning the life and times of Luther Anderson, and how that has affected Tanya D.

    • Tanya Dawson
      Tanya Dawson says:

      As always you have the great inspired insight! Your interest in Luther will be somewhat satiated in Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel and further in Book 2. I will say one important effect Luther has had on me is that he calls me to be more. I will write more about this in future. Thank you, George White!

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