The Great Cobra Scare of '53

Posted on July 29, 2017, 2:07 p.m.

Disclaimer: the following is historical fact, not a figment of fancy conjured for clicks. If you call Springfield home, this is your heritage. It is ours, as well.

A placid August afternoon in the Queen City of the Ozarks: sunlight through stately walnut trees casts dappled shadows on an empty park. Sidewalks are silent in the normally bustling downtown. Front porches, reliable sources of neighborly smiles or a cool glass of lemonade, are bereft of both.  Underneath the silence some quiet menace thrums.  What ominous force has driven the residents of Springfield behind locked doors?

Somewhere in the city, just out of plain sight, slithering in the periphery, an unknown number of Indian cobras are laterally undulating their way into the collective nightmare now remembered as the Cobra Scare of 1953.

The residents of Springfield were not cowed for long. Armed with guns, garden hoes, and the gumption inherent to natives of hill country, they resolved to reclaim their city from the serpentine threat.  In mere months, their vigilance had dispatched eleven of the hooded herptiles. And again, the sidewalks, parks, and porches of city rang with the clamor of life in the Ozarks.

From the Hornet Spooklight to Camden County’s upside down bridge (sadly dismantled in 1995) to Joplin’s gangster hideout, each town in the Ozarks has a unique and sometimes surreal story worth raising a glass to. It is a history perhaps not found in any textbook, not on any curriculum. There will not be a pop quiz. But it is encoded in the DNA of our communities, our culture. It is part of what makes our hometowns home.

Your Mother's has brewed a beer with that same DNA. The Great Cobra Scare of ‘53 is an Ozarks style wheat ale with a bite. Refreshing and invigorating, it is as well suited to cobra hunting as it is to lazy afternoons in a hammock. A beer to enjoy when swapping yarns, telling tall tales, and reveling in the stories of your home town. A beer named in celebration of the sometimes surreal lore handed down across generations. A celebration of the people whose spirit and resilience were displayed during the Cobra Scare. With the same intrepid spirit of our forbears some sixty years ago, rise to the occasion: slay one pint.  Then slay another five. And let our cities evermore ring with the clamor of life in our Ozarks.

And remember, it was never confirmed that every one of those snakes was killed in 1953. So if, on one assuming evening, you hear a rustling in the shrubbery, steel yourself with a sip and arm yourself with a garden hoe. It could be a cobra.

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