I love mornings. They’re fresh, new, redemptive. Everything seems possible in the morning. I’m talking about the quiet morning moments just before sunrise and before the birds begin jabbering. Growing up with horses I saw a lot of early mornings. I can’t watch sunrise without remembering the smell of hay, damp earth and a soft muzzle. I can smell it even now as I write. I thought of it when I took my dog out to run in the wet grass this morning. Dawn is my happy place. I wish I could say all my mornings were a quiet contemplative time for reflecting on Scripture or even a daily devotional. There is some infrequent truth to that, but mostly I just ‘breath’ and enjoy, completely forgetting to thank the Creator and Conductor of the morning symphony. I need to work on that.

Morning walk on the path to Eufala Lake, OK with Janey.

I love evenings for the reverse of that…the tapering off of the day crescendo. Not sunset itself, which can be harsh, but that time after sunset, before it’s dark and the sky is neopolitan. It’s like earth on a dimmer switch. Mornings and evenings have been particularly important these past couple of weeks because of the summer heat in Texas, southern Oklahoma and the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri. I like to be outside and in the summer heat, mornings and evenings are the only time it’s been cool enough to enjoy and even then it’s been mostly hot. I can’t imagine I ever would have said  “Hey, let’s go to the Ozarks” had it not gotten in the way of our trek north to cooler weather. But now that we’re here, we have agreed that the Ozarks are an area we must come back to explore–at a cooler time of year. The roller coaster hills, winding rural roads, forests thicker than jungle, lakes, rivers, streams…it’s gorgeous and relatively unspoiled.

Evening at Table Rock Lake, Blue Eye, Arkansas

By coincidence, the RV park we are parked in is somewhat near the cemetery where my grandfather is buried.  This is a grandfather I never met. It’s a father my mother never met. For whatever reason, my grandparents were divorced prior to my mother’s first childhood recollections. As a day trip, Kirk and I drove to the mostly unkempt cemetery and successfully hunted down my grandfather’s grave…my first introduction. The old country road leading to the cemetery is breathtakingly beautiful, raw and natural. The road itself was in terrible shape, but the wooded area that framed it was lovely! I enjoy super rural so it was a particular treat for me. I noticed he is buried next to a wife who outlived him. There were faux flowers on some of the graves and judging by the ages I read while wandering about, they must be maintained by grandchildren or great grandchildren. It’s not a sad place. It’s pleasant and peacefully tucked away. I wonder how he chose it? I’ve wondered a lot of things about my grandfather.

On the road to Pine Crest Cemetery, Lampe, Missouri.

Meeting Grandpa George for the first time.

The community where he lived is just up the road, so we drove to the address I found on the ancestry website. It’s an older home in a clean and peaceful  neighborhood. His house was on a corner lot. Kimberling City, Missouri, is known as the bass fishing capitol of the Ozarks. I suspect my grandfather enjoyed fishing in the large meandering lake that he more than likely helped to build in the 1940’s dam construction. Kirk looked up the history of the dam at Table Rock Lake. It’s a large lake and the same one we are facing at the RV park. It has fingers that go on for miles and miles in every direction. Over 800 miles of shoreline. Working on the dam brought many people to the area. Now, it’s tourists like us. As we drove over one of the many bridges, I envision my grandfather casting lures or bottom fishing. I wondered if he used a boat or fished from shore. I wondered how they lived here in summer without air conditioning. I wondered why he never contacted my mother. I wonder if he loved mornings and evenings…

Driving through the Ozark Mountains near Kimberling City, Missouri.

Comments (1)

  • Rich and Susan Roberts . July 9, 2016 .

    Vicki this is such a beautiful post…you brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful that you found family history just outside your door. ❤️ Susan

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