by Peggy Harris W.A.S.H. Board Chair

The Big Piney River flowed slowly by passing a cave where we went spelunking when the days were very hot in Missouri. This cave had a colorful history being the hideout for bootleggers during prohibition days. They could stand at the entrance to the cave and watch for any boats coming down the river and spot revenuers before they could see the bootleggers. Nearby were the remains of a dance hall.

When Highway 66 was built so close to this property it eliminated the usefulness of this hideaway and was abandoned. Years later a dentist bought the property and built a home in Rolla, Missouri using beams from the dance hall. When we lived in Rolla during my husbands service commitment our pastor lived in that very house. The cave named for the dentist and thereafter called Slawson’s Cave.

We always told our neighbors where we were going, just in case we had a problem and couldn’t get back. Most of the caves we visited were not too deep, very cool and refreshing from the summer heat outside. One particular cave we visited we heard the sounds of a bell and when rounding a corner near the entrance to the cave we were greeted by a cow. She ambled off and we continued on.

Most of these caves narrowed down till we were crawling and finally scooting along on either our back or tummy till we gave up and left before getting stuck.

Slawson’s Cave was different than most other caves we visited (all non commercial) because at the entrance part it was a huge room. Then angling off to one side near the back was a tunnel that one could only go so far. The back ceiling of the big room narrowed down to almost the floor.

Sometimes as we go through life we find solace in a quiet space. We need time to cool off from the heat of “the battle of life” and be safe from the darts of the evil one seeking to destroy us. However we are not designed to spend our life in a cave! We could become blind, as the salamanders are that live in the waters of these caves. Rest awhile in the peace and then when refreshed come out to participate in life again.