Ozark Mountain Memories

missouri in the fallThis was our past five days…Branson, Missouri. My husband and I were very thankful to get away for a while. One of the days was spent driving around the country side. I grew up in Colorado and my husband lived in upstate New York until his mid-twenties. So neither of us were strangers to mountain roads. But it has been a LONG time! Needless to say, after several hours of driving around the back roads north, west, and east of Branson…we were a little jittery. Black-topped roads, twisting among the autumn foliage, no shoulder to speak of and local people driving with confidence, made for an exhausting day. I haven’t been car sick for a few years, so I had the wonderful experience of that again…even sitting in the front seat.

The beauty of the views was extraordinary! Climbing the steep grade, cresting the top with hills covered with the remains of color. Deep valleys below, water shimmering in the distance. You could just picture a small cabin, nestled against the hillside, puffs of smoke from the chimney floating lazily in the cool breeze.

Of course my mind had to drift back to the early years in the Ozarks. Before there were paved roads to make the travel easy. Back to the days when a small cabin was home to a very large family. Water was pumped from a well or carried from a mountain stream. Food for eating was planted on the steep hillside when no flat area was available. Chickens roamed freely, pecking bugs from the ground. The colors of each season greeted you in the morning and at night, the whispering wind sang you a sweet melody.

I didn’t grow up in the Ozarks and I haven’t lived there. But I can imagine all the above and it gave me a sense of homesickness as we were driving through all that beauty. A loss for what once was. The lives of the people that experienced that time period, were difficult, I’m sure. No modern conveniences like stores or doctors nearby. No running water or electricity.

What they did have, was family, friends, and time. Time to appreciate the seasons, time to plant crops, time to sit on the porch and listen to the night sounds. In our world today of ‘hurry, rush, don’t be late’, there isn’t much time for the simple pleasures anymore. The Ozark people of long ago just lived their lives, doing what needed to be done to survive. We do the same in our world today, but it seems so much more complicated. Am I envious of that long-ago world? Yes, in a lot of ways. If a person from that time were dropped in our world of today, they would probably think I was crazy to say that. Then they would return to their porch or hillside and look over the rolling mountains…and sigh with relief.

missouri mountains

Just some thoughts to share on a Thursday afternoon.


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