Share Your Story
Share your story

Stories by County
Adair County (1)
Barry County (2)
Boone County (1)
Buchanan County (1)
Butler County (1)
Greene County (1)
Jefferson County (1)
Lawrence County (2)
Lewis County (1)
Linn County (1)
Maries County (5)
Newton County (1)
Phelps County (2)
Putnam County (1)
Reynolds County (1)
Saint Charles County (1)
Shannon County (1)
Stone County (3)
Texas County (1)
Worth County (1)

If You’re From The Ozarks, You’re Everbody’s Cousin

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If You’re From the Ozarks, You’re Everybody’s Cousin

My grandparents, Herman and Annie Jackson, grew up in southwest Missouri and lived most of their adult lives in western Lawrence County. Both had deep roots in the area that includes Stone, Christian, Greene and Lawrence Counties. Granddad managed the Farmers’ Exchange Co-op in Stotts City for a number of years and opened his own grocery store several years after the Exchange closed.

A visit with grandparents who owned a grocery store was a real treat for a little kid. I would live for sojourns in Stotts City, with its authentic western-town false fronts, wooden sidewalks, bandstand, firetower…and Granddad’s store. Granddad always made sure he had a job for me, and I was rewarded with a bottle of Carnation soda pop from the old-style water cooler.

Since Stotts City and the surrounding rural area still needed some of the services that the old Exchange had provided, Granddad offered things such as fifty pound blocks of ice, sugar cure for hams (in 100 lb. bags), an egg candler and grader, and a kerosene tank with a hand pump…you had to bring your own jug. It’s a miracle that the store didn’t get blown to bits from all the smokers walking past that kerosene tank, with the drain lid always wide open.

As I got older and Granddad began having health problems, I visited as often as I could and tried to take on all of the heavy work that could be done. Granddad and I often drove to the wholesalers in Springfield to get supplies. One afternoon in late July we were on such a trip, taking the back roads into Springfield. Somewhere around Chesapeake, the old wagon overheated and vapor-locked. I knew the summer heat wasn’t good for Granddad, so I found a shady place near a creek where he could rest. I started walking down the gravel road, looking for a farmhouse.

I walked for about ten minutes and knocked on the door of the first house I saw. A middle-aged housewife appeared at the door, suspiciously eyeing this 17-year-old with long hair. I explained to the lady that my granddad and I were stranded nearby with a vapor-lock, and needed a bucket of water.

“Who is your granpappy?” asked the lady. Not really expecting the name to mean anything to her, I responded, “Herman Jackson.” She turned into the house and yelled, “Frank! Your cousin Herman is broke down out here!” – Paul E. Jackson, Sr.

More Stories from Lawrence County  |  Share your story

Web Design Saint Louis by