Older Ozarkians might describe last night’s event a barn burner. Small town and big city folks, combined with the young-un’s like me and the “older” generations, all gathered for ham and beans, cornbread, and bluegrass music. There was clappin’ and knee-slappin.’ Whoops and hollers could be heard with a good run of notes. Laughter lingered after the whoppers were told. My toes were tappin,’ and my soul was swirling with the sounds of times before me-and the times I wish would never change.
Only in the Ozarks, after nearly a foot of snow, would a Cabin Fever Variety Show be quickly scheduled for the community. And to beat all, I learned of a society (RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE) that was formed to PRESERVE the history, folklore, and traditions of our area. That’s not all! They aim to protect Ozarks’ wildlife, secure its proper recognition, the natural beauties of its historical spots, and to teach our own people the value of the great heritage we possess in these regions (https://societyofozarkianhillcrofters.com/our-mission).
My love and interest in my home area has only fattened since self-publishing my kid’s book. Gage, my illustrator, is an old soul like me. We often discussed our culture and traditions during our collaboration times and even chewed on the idea of a folklore project. Our culture and history are phenomenal!
If you’re familiar with this area you might be aware that the greatest interpretation of our people and ways might be felt by visiting Silver Dollar City (#2 Best Amusement Park in America by USA Today-July 2, 2021, and Best Theme Park holiday event, Old Time Christmas- Dec. 17th, 2021). It has changed with the times; yet I still find the Bluegrass & BBQ and Fall Festival to feel more like the traditional feeling of my childhood. The park’s founders have left a legacy. But I know an even greater legacy in my Ozarks.
Lingering on legacies lulls me. When one thinks of a legacy you hope that whatever you leave behind is powerfully positive to whomever might be gifted it–will it be carried? Followed? Passed down? There’s been a legacy left in my family. Through tough times, good times, changing times, loss of time, everything that could happen in nearly 58 years, a legacy of love has been left. When Larry met Darlene, a Baptist preacher’s daughter, he had to toe the line. Traditions were set. Church activities would be considered “acceptable” for dates. Bowling and revivals might coincidentally be on the same nights 😉. They were small-town kids with small-town values.
Larry Hale was born 80 years ago today. He’s an overcomer-he’s left a legacy. But he’d be the first to tell you that he’s only half of any legacy-Mom’s the other half. 🤍 Oh, and did I tell you these two can sing? The legacy of music vibrates my veins. Daddy sang bass and tenor, we all sang alto and soprano! I’ve told this story before, but my youngest son one time asked my Dad, “Pop pop, can I have that fiddle?” (pointing at Great-Grandpa’s fiddle/violin hanging over Mom’s piano). “When I’m dead and gone you can have it, Jay,” Dad replied. “Aren’t you close enough to dead I could have it now?,”…oh boy! Dad was in his 50’s. The sound of laughter and music is what I hear walking into that living room.
Dad, thank you for teaching me about the Word and the never-ending, no-matter-what kind of love just as God, humility, responsibility, the right ways to swing a bat or club even if I couldn’t, shaking it off and moving ahead, wisdom on leadership, creating trip maps and then ignoring the itinerary if necessary, appreciation for history and learning…and the best? Marrying Mom. For what would we all be without her, too? You’ve been my rock. I love you both more than steak and the entire universe.
Happy 80th, Dad!
Some folks might not think they’ll leave any legacy, or a good one, anyway. Don’t sell yourself short. No matter the job, relationship, your IQ, your past, or whatever you feel has or hasn’t defined your life, you’re a legacy. So fix what needs fixin’ and just love what needs lovin’.
“We will not hide them from their children, but will tell the next generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” –Psalm 78:4
“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”-Proverbs 17:6
“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”-William James
“The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives.”-Billy Graham