The weight of a Cross

Last Friday, I interviewed John Fuller Cross. Soon to celebrate his 90th birthday, Cross for most of those decades has been the most polarizing figure in a town made up primarily of polarizing figures.

I knew what to expect – but part of what to expect from John is the unexpected. I admit I was a little disappointed when he didn’t say anything as outrageous as he is known for among national reporters.

That’s not to say he’s mellowed out in his twilight years. He still knows exactly what’s wrong with this town, exactly how to fix it, and exactly who’s an ass blocking the way. He knows where all the bodies are buried, but he ain’t tellin’.

Our chat was on the tame side, mostly discussing people I’m writing about in my book. He knew many of them personally, thanks to his long history in Eureka Springs – lifelong, he correctly insists, though like many Eurekan stories, that one comes with an asterisk.

We also talked about the importance of Christianity in his life. He’s especially proud of his connections to the creation of the town’s skyline-dominating Christ of the Ozarks statue. Other topics included his pivotal role in the town’s historic preservation, how he came to own Blue Spring, and those damn hippies.

A few probing questions bore no fruit, so I didn’t bother pursuing his numerous controversies over the years. Those are well-documented enough already.

My book will have a chapter about John himself – how could it not? – and even without bombshells, this interview gave me invaluable insights into a long and consequential life.

Don't miss out!

Sign up for updates about my book's progress, behind-the-scenes extras, and other bonus content.