Family Rivers...

Dorothy and Marvin Yocum, Rock Village Court, ca. 1972

Dorothy and Marvin Yocum, Rock Village Court, ca. 1972

Does your family have its own river? For my family, Roaring River has always been the family stream. Roaring River is one of the reasons why my mother's family moved to the Ozarks in the late 1960s, when my grandparents Dorothy and Marvin Yocum decided to stop farming the ancestral lands in Northern Iowa and purchased Rock Village Court just outside of Roaring River State Park south of Cassville. My grandparents ran Rock Village for just over a decade, until my grandmother sold it after my grandfather’s death and moved to town. I barely remember Rock Village, but Roaring River remained our family’s destination for reunions, summer vacations and other special events. My love of the Civilian Conservation Corps “Parkitecture” style buildings and state and national parks is due to those days of my youth in Southern Barry County. Like Roaring River’s famous “Mountain Maid” Jean Wallace, my grandmother was of Scottish heritage and was said to have the "second sight" that Miss Wallace was known for in the area.

When I first saw the movie A River Runs Through It back in the early '90s, it reminded me of my family. Not that we were avid fly-fishermen; on the contrary – but the Rev. Maclean reminded me of my own Scottish grandmother, and like the Macleans and the Big Blackfoot, Roaring River always represented a place to escape the cares of the world and get in touch with nature’s rhythms. Today when I take my kids there, I tell them about their great-grandparents, and it reminds me of one of the most famous lines from the movie and the novel it was based on:

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

For me, the river – in this case, the cold trout stream of Southern Barry County – has become a part of our family story, just like the Maclean clan and the Big Blackfoot. Maybe that’s why it’s so fitting that we’re partnering with Alamo Drafthouse next week as they show A River Runs Through It – our local waters are a part of so many of our families and their stories that we want to make sure that they are available to future generations, just as the mission of JRBP states. I hope you will join us next Thursday evening, and maybe be inspired to listen for your own story under the rocks of our Ozarks streams.

See you downstream!