Missouri to Kentucky


Today we woke to another cold morning in the 20’s but with the promise of warming later in the day.  We Yelped for a coffee place and were shocked that there was not one anywhere nearby so we had to hit the road with no caffeine.

On the way out of Branson, we saw this store.


The name was Dixie Outfitters and the whole store was dedicated to confederate flag style apparel and gifts. I was somewhat heartened by the fact that the store was open but no one was there buying anything however it was first thing in the morning and off season.  One thing we never saw in Branson was a black face and I can’t say I am surprised. I was left feeling sad that the Jubilee shows’ message of God and Country did not seem to include everyone and that was enhanced by the tone deaf nature of a store dedicated to the glorification of a symbol which only represents pain and suffering to so many.

The low feeling continued as we drove a very rural two lane road through the south eastern Ozarks towards Kentucky.  I was continually reminded of the movie “Winter’s Bone” which so memorably showed this landscape in its desolation, damp and forgotten poverty.


The weather added to the feeling with fog setting in which obscured the road in places and lent a spooky air of foreboding to the scene.


We would drive for minutes without a home and then come across clumps of perhaps half a dozen places, many ancient trailers with built on added rooms, covered with patchwork roofs and moldy siding, many with abandoned vehicles and other various articles strewn around and lending an air of disorganized dysfunction to the scene.  I didn’t want to photograph much of this as it felt to me like that would be an unwelcome intrusion into an already painful place.


I wondered so much about the stories of the people who lived like this.  What combinations of age, disability, addiction, or hopelessness might be at play?

The only large new business we saw in near 80 miles in this area was a brand new pharmacy.  I wondered what a review of the records would show as to how many opiates were being dispensed from that location?

We popped out of this area at a very sweet and friendly coffee shop in West Plains, Mo.

There were cards on the counter for a chiropractor and a yoga class.  The young girls who served us were fresh and healthy.  I felt such a disconnect with where we had been.

We made our way across the Mississippi and Ohio rivers into Kentucky still under a steel grey sky but with a welcome warming to about 45 degrees.  We are in Elizabethtown tonight with plans to go up to Louisville in the morning.

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