Getting back to the Midwest, and our Roots

In my last post, I mentioned being from Kansas. But this week has been about being with family in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

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My dad hates his picture being taken so these were captured on the sneaks. Here he is (left) showing us his filing system. Note the labels on the bottom two drawers. He took a break from working on his 1932 Ford (right) to show us a few other engines he’s working on and mom’s 1969 Airstream that’s taking up a large portion of his shop. If anyone is interested in purchasing it—it’s in WIP condition—please DM me.

If you haven’t spent any time at the Lake of the Ozarks, then you are missing out on a part of this country that expresses itself in a way like no other. More than just backwards “R”s and a different way of thinking, the people of Missouri would claim they are real. And judging by their pace, they have no reason to be otherwise. I love my parent’s cabin on the lake. Despite the spiders, hornets, bats, and slugs it’s still one of my favorite places to visit. I often dream of what it would be like to live there or do extended stays where I could write and create art (like at a residency). With an outdoor shower and a quirky indoor bathtub, this place has everything you need (except hot water from time to time) including a beautiful view you can wake up to or say goodbye to as the sun sets.

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Sunrise is beautiful on the Lake. I sat for over an hour just listening and watch the birds and the colors and surface of the lake change. The Mimosa trees are in full bloom. And ghost signs are always fun to find—this one was spotted in Cole Camp.

I swore to myself I would never go back to Arkansas. Now I know why I didn’t like it: sitting in the backseat while my aunt Linda drove us on those windy roads. But I appreciate the love my mother has for this part of the country. It’s where my grandmother, her mother, was raised. The theme in Mountainview is all about music and the arts. Mom participated in a dulcimer workshop while my sister, Ray, the kids and I enjoyed the crafts village. And what is a trip to Arkansas without opening the evening performance with a little Cowbell?

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Brooke, Mom and the kids take the stage. I have no idea who the kid on the left is, he pretty much took over the stage. Gunner and Heidi love to pose for the camera. After the stage manager asked me to meet backstage, I discovered no one was there except me and the cowbell so I took this photo with available light. It was fun to open the show. DM me if you want to see the video. Gunner quizzed me on animal tracks. I got 90% of them right!

The Ozark Folk Center and State Park is a wonderful creative asset to the state of Arkansas. Hundreds of artists have the opportunity to occupy the creative studios covering the folk arts and crafts of the region including: blacksmithing, gunsmithing, knife making, printmaking, ceramics, basketry, jewelry, apothecary, gardening, and much more! We acquired fun things like an iron-forged hook, garnet earrings, handmade soaps and salves, letterpress printed goods and an Arkansas Wooly Booger (for Gunner).

At the beginning of our adventure back in March, Ray and I would look at each other and ask, “Are we crazy?” Now we look at each other astonished and say, “We find ourselves in the most unexpected places.”

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Ray’s big catch and family finding a place to cool off after exploring the Blanchard Springs Caverns. Who knew that we would find ourselves sitting in a river in Arkansas in the middle of summer?

While we had a great time…It. Was. Hot. And thanks to the kid who poo’d in the pool, we won’t be enjoying the daily cool down at the hotel for the rest of our stay.

So on that note, we say goodbye to my kin and are headed to Oklahoma to visit some of Ray’s family then back to Mancos where his roots are for the annual Mancos Days weekend where both of his grandmothers have been previously recognized as Mancos Queens and we have enjoyed the Sharing the 81328 Perspective (that Ray and I founded) since 2003.

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2 thoughts on “Getting back to the Midwest, and our Roots

  1. Love the Ozarks..and all things folk there. Thanks for reminding me. I won’t see you again when you are in Mancos as Pena Chowdron will be in Pagosa and am going to Tara Mandela with Laurie Erickson overnight. Enjoy your CO stay. Enjoyed the Flo stories. Always, Par

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