It would be difficult to find a better place than Branson for a family with kids to get together for the Thanksgiving holiday, especially if the weather is beautiful, as it mostly has been this time. With this in mind, we planned this trip months ago and made our reservations at Top of the Rock for their awesome Thanksgiving buffet. Mindy and Tyler flew with the kids up to nearby Springfield, Missouri and then settled in at the Grand Country Inn in Branson, a hotel and entertainment complex where there are almost limitless activities for kids. They spent a couple of days at Silver Dollar City, a large theme park west of town, decorated to the hilt with more than six million Christmas lights. Here's a sample:
To say that the boys were enthralled would be an understatement. Each night they would fall into bed, exhausted from their full days of excitement.
Thanksgiving dinner at Top of the Rock was especially nice, as we had our own little alcove where we could eat and visit. We were there as the sun set, and the view over the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake was breathtaking:
Here we are with Mindy, Tyler, Pryce and Mason in our private dining alcove at Top of the Rock:
Sandy is in heaven with her boys, Mason and Pryce. They love their Mimi:
The boys seem to tolerate their Poppy pretty well:
We mentioned in an earlier post that Mindy is expecting, so we have another grand on the way. Now we can disclose that it will be another boy. We are so excited! There is indeed so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We trust that all of you had a wonderful holiday.
On the one and only cold and rainy day during this trip, I decided to cook up a pot of soup, and Sandy made crackling cornbread. Both were new recipes for us, but they turned out really tasty. The soup was my take on Olive Garden's creamy Zuppa Toscana, made with sausage, potato, onion and kale, I think. Since I'm not all that fond of kale, I tossed in a little cabbage, and it turned out really well:
Sandy made crackling cornbread by a new recipe, and it was absolutely scrumptious:
We also had the good fortune of running into our friends Larry and Carolyn while we were at Treasure Lake.
We are so thankful for all our friends like these in the RV community. When we began this adventure, we had no idea that we would become acquainted with so many wonderful folks along the way. There is a common element, I suppose, in that most are retired and enjoying themselves, free from the constraints of work and raising families. For those like us who are fulltimers, their surroundings can change from one beautiful place to another merely by turning the key in the ignition. At this stage of their lives, with their days of confinement, struggle and drama behind them, it's easy to see why they're happy. And it's not hard to make friends with happy folks.
In a few days, we will return to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails through the Christmas and New Year's holidays before heading to the Rio Grande Valley for the rest of the winter. But first, we will stop in Livingston, our residence city of record, to fulfill our civic duty. Sandy and I both had received jury summonses over the last several months and, because we are rarely in the state to comply, the district clerk simply excused us when we called and asked that we volunteer for duty at a future date. This is a rather remarkable accommodation for us fulltimers, but not unreasonable, I suppose, due to the importance of Escapees to the little town.
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life;
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.
You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.