Winter in Dixie

Let us step back away from dirty politics, fraudulent elections and the “Deep State” for a moment. I think everyone could use a reprieve if only for a little while.

Let us travel in time to simpler days and traditions.

Joshua Heston, Editor of State of the Ozarks takes us on a journey to “Winter in Dixie”



As most folks already know, I grew up in Central Illinois. Hardly the Deep South, I know.

Winters of my childhood typically consisted of the occasional snowfall, ice storm, and mostly a lot of deep frozen earth. I remember one week back in January of ’88 when the thermometer fell to -20°F and then stayed there. Not much snow — just a world frozen solid, buried instead beneath a thick and overcast sky. No wonder I got good at building model airplanes. I still have an appreciation for DC-3s as a result of that winter.

Fortunately, my childhood was blessed with travel so there were Christmastimes in the Black Hills, Yellowstone National Park, even Sequoia National Park out in California (where the only thing more impressive than the four feet of snow was the trees larger than the buildings). There were also balmy Christmas mornings in south Florida.

However, amidst all the travel, there’s an image in my mind that haunts me of late — winters in the real South… and the South is decidedly not south Florida.

Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and, yes, Southern Missouri. One memory in particular was from Tennessee near I-75 between Nashville and Chattanooga.

Early morning in the mountains — an incandescent sun through hoarfrost and mist. Barren tobacco fields seemed to glow and amidst the brown there was a near-green just waiting. The old “See Rock City” barns were weathered and dark. The smell of wood smoke hung in the air. And an old white-and-yellow pickup truck ambled down a red dirt road, a generation removed from the rush of our modern interstate traffic.

I’m sure the driver of that pickup never imagined a 12-year old boy looking out the window of a shiny van with Illinois license plates and wondering. And remembering.

About winter in Dixie.

— Joshua Heston, editor-in-chief, StateoftheOzarks


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