Join Editor-in-Chief Joshua Heston and Ethan Grubaugh along with Dale Grubaugh to discuss, at length, the tricky, complex issues of venomous snakes in the Ozarks and more… and the answers may surprise you.

Podcast Partners: Josh Huxtable, SOTO PatronChristine RiutzelBeauty from LightShepherd the MusicalRediscovering America’s StoryStafford’s Barber Shop & Shave CompanyThe Place for Men in Downtown BransonTaney County Health DepartmentCreating Opportunities for Healthy Lives in Our Community, and Blue Rock Print CompanyUpgrade Your Look!

Stories Discussed:


The Old Rugged Cross

Been thinking about…

The sacred, the profane and the great western mountains of the rural South.

Just the other day I heard somebody call Branson a part of the Midwest.

I just kept walking. Their mistake. Their loss. Not my problem.

I grew up in the Midwest. And this ain’t it. But my patience with perfectly homogenized consumer America is drawing a mite thin. Maybe it’s my rough-and-tumble Celtic heritage. Maybe it’s growing up without shoes (I had them, I just wouldn’t wear them).

Maybe it’s something else entirely.

The Ozarks are, in fact, the great western mountains of the rural South. And the rural South? Stripped of commercialism, there is a rawness here the Conoco stations and Target stores can’t cover up. I think it makes tepid people nervous. A steaming, ragged, biting edge, seething just beneath the surface.

And the boundaries between the sacred and the profane, the sophisticated and the primitive, the tame and the deeply wild in the night of one’s own soul? As twilight falls over these ragged mountains and the owls call, those boundaries can turn as evanescent as the mist in the hollers.

With our tech and our brands and our self-absorbed images, we don’t like reminders of our own barbarism.

To that end, this week’s stories are meant to raise more than a few hackles, if you’re of a mind to. Snake-lovers have taken issue with the cottonmouth article Dale Grubaugh wrote awhile back, but his experience stands. We’ll talk more about that on the podcast tomorrow night. And for those who feel the religion-traditions of these old hills are best kept far, far away, well, we got the Old Rugged Cross, performed by two of my favorite people.

The sacred. The profane. Existing, circling one another, age after age.

Life isn’t “problematic.” It’s rough, dangerous, contradictory. The best we can do is face it, hands-clasped with friends, a strong back, and willingness to laugh — rather than moralize — at life’s deep absurdities.

Face it, this life is a mess and no amount of social management is going to change that.

But hope? Hope is there too. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes and look.

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