Last Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I drove to Branson to meet my person and her kids at my parents' lake house. We hadn't seen each other since March, so we've been counting the days until this trip! Our drive was two hours; their drive was 8 hours. Guess who almost let her friends arrive at her house before she was there herself? It was a close one, and only the beginning of a week chock-full of thankfuls:
1. Terri used to live in Branson and performed in several different shows in town. This means she has CONNECTIONS and was not afraid to use them. End result was that we got to reap the benefits of her connections and attend a myriad of shows and events, either for free or at greatly reduced prices.
2. While Branson is a huge tourist destination, our family uses it as a place to be complete sloths. Not this time. We hit the ground running from the time our friends arrived and didn't stop the entire time. Saturday night, we attended the Haygoods Show. Five brothers and one sister, all talented musicians, singers and dancers. I am always in awe of talent that runs through a family like that (think Osmonds, if you will).
|The girls with Matthew and Michael Haygood. |
They are each scheming to marry Michael.
3. Monday morning, armed with a pocketful of quarters for the food dispensers, I took the kids (all 15 and 16 years old) to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. I failed at getting a video of them, which saddens me a little, because I wanted to record their giggles as the fish lunged at the food pellets they dropped into the pools.
4. Tuesday morning, I took three of the kids to the Ralph Foster Museum at College of the Ozarks. This place is a gem: admission is free for kids under 18 and only $6 for adults, and it's filled with local artifacts, from furniture and dolls to stuffed animals (the real kind, not the toys) and weapons and more.
The pièce de résistance of the Ralph Foster Museum is this:
|Yes, kiddies, it's the REAL Clampett car from|
The Beverly Hillbillies.
5. Terri's son was in seventh heaven at the sight of all the guns on display. I don't know nuthin' about guns, but I do know there were old pistols and rifles and such. At one point, after staring intently into a huge display case of weapons, he turned to me and said excitedly, "If this place ever gets attacked by zombies, THIS is where you go!" I think he was only partially kidding.
6. Wednesday, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Moonshine Beach on Table Rock Lake. In spite of the following, it was a fun time:
I got bitten by a housefly on my ankle and the little bastard drew blood.
The sand was not that ultra-fine beach sand you might be used to, but rather hauled-in sand that was coarse and rough and made it feel as though you were scuffing your feet on coarse-grade sandpaper. Which you kind of were.
There were rocks in the sand. Sharp ones.
It was windy. And sand being sand, it blew onto you and stuck in your sunscreen.
The water was pretty cold. Which didn't matter to me, because I had no plans to get in it, but it mattered to at least two of the little angels who were with us.
7. The amazing Terri also scored us tickets to see Jonah, which is, you guessed it, the story of the guy who was swallowed by the whale, told as a musical. I know, I know, but it was really good! The scenery and special effects were spectacular. The cast was talented. I would not have believed I would enjoy the production, but I was wrong and stand corrected. She also arranged for us to go to the Dixie Stampede, another show that I wasn't too sure I was going to like, but I did. Plus, they feed you so much, you sometimes were so busy eating, you forgot to watch the show.
8. Thursday, we went to Silver Dollar City, an 1880s theme park, which is my happy place. After a morning of severe thunderstorms, a power outage that lasted about an hour and a half and caused four teenagers to huddle in the living room with us, because they were varying degrees of scared, we ended up with a delightfully cool, non-humid afternoon at the park. I made it my mission to eat my way through the park and did a pretty fair job of it. The kids rode rides and ate THEIR way through the park. I stopped to listen to the Homestead Pickers, people watched, rode the steam engine train, as Terri had never done it before, got cheese in my hair, and enjoyed sitting in a shady spot and talking and laughing with my person.
9. We visited a lot of folks. Like Freddy (as in Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers), Billy Bob (as in Billy Bob's Dairyland), Danna (as in Danna's BBQ), Andy (that would be Andy's Frozen Custard). We had lunch with Terri's former boss, Buck Trent (that was a hoot). We sat up late and talked. And talked. And talked.
10. Sadly, Friday morning arrived and they departed, but not without one last meal at Freddy's before they left. We spent a long time saying goodbye in the parking lot, and Terri, who is not good at such things, tried to take a selfie of us.
Her daughter, either feeling sorry for her or disgusted by her failure to take a decent selfie (or some combination thereof), took command of her mom's phone. We were just posing for the picture when Terri made some rather unladylike sound (a burp, maybe, or possibly a throat growl), and we fell apart. Because that's what best friends do.
Sometimes, they nearly wet their pants. NEARLY.
Who wouldn't be thankful after a week like that?
Join the fun, join the hop.
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude</ a>, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal</ a>, I Want Backsies, Mother of Imperfection, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine