Three months ago Pa-pa and I left our home of 21 years to set up housekeeping a half hour south of there in a lake subdivision near the small town where he grew up. For him, and for me as well in the nearly 42 years since I have known him, this place offers a dynamic rich in family, old friends, old stomping grounds, and treasured memories.
This little town is where our children came to visit their grandparents and where numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins still reside. It is where, as a teenager, Pa-pa worked summer jobs on the river, played basketball in the community building, and graduated from high school. For our family, it is a place rich in heritage.
As a bonus, it also offers something of heritage to our grandchildren, as Sooby, Pooh, Bootsie, and Zoomie learned on Oct. 21. When they came to spend that weekend with us, their visit coincided with a gorgeous Indian-summer Saturday that fell during the Warsaw, Mo., community's 35th annual celebration of Pioneer Heritage Days.
Although Heritage Days certainly has its commercial aspect, it also offers a nostalgic look at arts, crafts, relics, and survival processes of the rural Ozarks of the 1800s. Although the modern crafters selling their creations along Drake Harbor downtown are interesting and abundant, it is the wooded area behind the Harry S. Truman Dam Overlook on Kaysinger Bluff that captivates us, sparks our imaginations, and shows us the lifestyles of those who made a living from these hills, woods, and waters generations before us.
Watching the kids immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, smells--in the "feel"--of the past was one of the most exciting, rewarding things we have experienced since the move down. But here--I'll let them show you some of the highlights.
Here, the kids model a horse-drawn carriage--minus the horse.
Pooh, Boots, and Zoomie check out a new way to roast pork. I love the looks on
their faces in this one!
The kids learn that draft oxen weigh as much as 3,000 pounds.
A "mountain man" builds a small animal trap using sticks and stones.
Pooh hams it up before "Fire in the Hole!" warns that the old cannon is about to fire.
There was so much more to see and do than what these few photos show--the live bluegrass music, the one-room school, the soap making, the wood carving, the super-soft rabbit pelt that Sooby bought (unknown to us) with her own money, even "Abe Lincoln" delivering the Gettysburg Address.
But maybe we should leave something for you to discover yourself in the event that you attend next year's celebration on Oct. 20-21, 2018. At the price of $7 for adults, $4 for kids 6-12, and younger kids free, we highly recommend this opportunity to take a step into the past for a taste of the heritage that belongs to us all.