One of the things I love about my line of work is all the interesting people I get to meet. At NewLife FM one of the programs I produce/host is the Georgia Town Crier (GTC). GTC is a fun interview program that is about a half hour long and focuses on issues, events, and the people of Georgia.
A couple weeks ago, Georgia legend Okefenokee Joe sent me his latest single “A little more Sunday everyday”. The song deals with the crazy times we currently find ourselves in and how we need to focus on Jesus to get through. I liked the song and thought the music video on youtube was clever, so I decided to see if he would come on GTC to discuss the song and talk about his life — which he was more than happy to do.
Okefenokee Joe is quite the character. Back in the 1990s, he made an award winning documentary on the Okefenokee swamp called “Swampwise”. You can still watch it online on the Georgia Public Broadcasting website. But before that Okefenokee was actually known as Dick Flood. This was back in the 1950s-60s when he had a career as a country singer/songwriter. Although he wasn’t well known, some of his songs were picked up by Roy Orbison, Porter Wagoner, and other contemporaries.
Later in life Dick Flood moved to the Okefenokee swamp and lived on Cow House Island with his dog swampy. It was here that Dick Flood changed his name to Okefenokee Joe and had sort of a religious experience living off the land. Today Okefenokee Joe travels Georgia doing snake shows at schools and teaching children that mankind can live in harmony with God’s creation.
During our visit on GTC, Okefenokee shared his heart about the state of America and how he is concerned with the direction we’ve taken politically — how we’ve parted the path our forefathers. And how we’ve thrown morality and faith in God out the window. Then we discussed wise stewardship of creation.
Okefenokee Joe shared his take on how we can live in harmony with snakes. “Leave them alone,” was his advice. They don’t want to be your friend and they don’t want to be bothered. Even the poisonous ones — just leave them alone. Don’t kill them and they won’t bother you.
His advice on nature in general — everything serves a purpose and works together the way God created it too. If you can’t use it, leave it alone. Only use or take what you absolutely need.
My final question was one of personal curiosity coupled with a bit of soul searching. I asked Okefenokee Joe, “you’ve seen some difficult times and you’ve been on this journey called life longer than me, what would your advice be to the next generation of Christians following in your footsteps?” His answer was simple, he clarified the fact that he was not a preacher and stated that his advice would be to stay in contact with Jesus, keep your faith strong, and stay as close as you can to Him.
Just a little bit of “Swampwise” wisdom.