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Ozark Blood

Sounds like home

My mother was born in Springfield, MO.  Her parents were born not far from there.  My great grandmother slept in a grand total of 2 beds in her entire life…in the Ozarks.  My grandmother’s maiden name is Juanita Earl Manes (pronounced “may-nus”).  Her sister is Cleo Ethel Manes.  They are wonderful, intelligent, beautiful people, but they are a little off the beaten path.  My grandmother’s brothers, upon meeting my bride-to-be for the first time (very first moments of meeting her) asked her to turn around and looked at her teeth saying, “This is how we check out a horse.”

Yah.  Nice.  Welcome to the family, Dana.  This is us…we’re from the Ozarks, and, you know something?  It’s time to embrace it.  So…yesterday I bought a mandolin.  For those of you who don’t know what a mandolin is, it’s smaller than a guitar and larger than a Ukelele.  It has a total of 8 strings tuned to four notes doubled.  You often hear it beside a banjo and fiddle.  I bought one for three reasons: I have tiny little hands and can’t really play a guitar, I like the way the mandolin fills out the sound of a guitar, and thirdly…I feel it in my bones – in my blood.

There’s something drawing me, compelling me to listen to this music, this twang and drawl.  My bride doesn’t even know this, but one of my Pandora stations is Carolina Chocolate Drops, and they can really pick.  I may have done most of my raisin’ above the Mason Dixon line, but it’s still in me, and it’s still drawing me, calling me home, asking me to sit on the front porch and play.

Yesterday I did that.  Sat on the back stoop of a friend’s house and played.  I know four or five chords now, and my soul soared in the muggy Michigan afternoon.  It reminds me of something: Those at Embody who were baptized as little children, walked away from the font and the cross for years and only now, later in life find themselves returning, compelled to come home and hear the music again, to feel the wind blow through their windows again, to experience what their blood has been holding them too from a young age – promised before they could reciprocate.

Does this southern soul good.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Deyanne Koster
    June 21, 2011 at 11:26 am

    It’s wonderful to take ownership of our parents legacy – but weren’t you a Washingtonian with a Starbucks on every corner and webbed feet? More than that a camp kid that loved adventure – I can’t wait for posts from your kids on what their dad’s legacy will be that they take ownership of – Gotta love it!!!

  2. Janet Koolhaas
    June 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Good piece, Jim! I know what you mean. I’ve just been doing a lot of work on ancestry.com. 99% of it is in Missouri. My mind is filled wih thoughts of Missouri. I want to go there and look up all the places I’ve been reading about. Blessings to you!

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