We stopped here at a little municipal RV park in Oklahoma on our way back from Branson, where we had been invited to join Larry and Carolyn and their family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner at the Treasure Lake RV Resort. It didn't take us long to accept their invitation, lonesome as we were without the kids. But it was Tyler's family's turn to host them on this holiday, so we tried to act like grownups and pout as little as possible.
It's pretty hard do be serious for very long around Larry, shown below with Carolyn after the rest of the attendees had left:
Thank you, dear friends, for including us; we had a great time!
There are many posts in this blog about our visits to Branson, but we always enjoy coming here. We try to stay as long as our itinerary will allow, and we never run out of things to see and do. We especially like it when the kids can join us, so we can enjoy watching their nonstop fun. If we had to choose a place to live, Branson would be among the top choices if it weren't so far from the grands.
And yes, we are very aware that much of the entertainment not geared for kids here is really for the older folks and, therefore, not all that cool. But the older I get, the less I care about what may or may not be cool. I love the fact that every show features a segment about God and country and a salute to veterans. It may seem corny to some, but Branson is one of the last places where the entertainment is clean and traditional values are celebrated unapologetically. And yes, psychologically speaking, it probably provides a temporary escape for me back to a time 50-60 years ago before the craziness that has consumed our culture today--back to a time when there was clarity between right and wrong and no real decision to make about which restroom to use.
Of course, the passage of time takes its inevitable toll on my generation--which I think, rightly or wrongly, is the last that holds so dearly the traditional values I've described. We are dying off, and we can only hope that we have passed some of these values to our children and that they will pass them to theirs. It is with mixed emotions that we always make it a point to see the show "Hits of the 50s and 60s" when we are in Branson:
This was our music, the music of the "good times" I've been describing, and it is so good to be transported back to a more innocent time, if only for a couple of hours and hear music that had things like melodies and lyrics instead of noise. The sad part is when I scan the audience around me; these people are old! And there are fewer of them every year. I can only guess how long the show will last, but I hope to see the final performance.
One more story that previously mentioned friends Larry and Carolyn will enjoy: At their suggestion, we got tickets to "Smoke on the Mountain," a comedy show near our RV park. As often happens in Branson shows, the performers often select unsuspecting audience members to participate in spoofs and stunts, much to everyone's delight. I had never been chosen before, but this was my time. I was selected to be Rufus the dog, a part that I goofed up by speaking instead of barking. They turned that into something hilarious, but you would just have had to be there. It was a funny show, guys, and thanks for recommending it.
Considering the cocoon in which family-friendly Branson flies in its backward time travel, I nearly drove off the road when I saw this sign on a gas station just off the main drag:
Cocaine is back?! Is it a prank, or is there some product named Cocaine I don't know about? I'm not sure, but if it's a prank, it's a pretty gutsy one for a town like Branson. No telling how many grannies were admitted to emergency rooms over this one.
If you ever have the inclination to come here during this time of year, the Christmas season in Branson is magical, especially at Silver Dollar City:
There are millions of lights, and I can't imagine when they must start decorating this theme park to get all this done.
And where else would you see a huge nativity scene on the side of a mountain near downtown:
(Sorry about the poor photo. I forgot to take my good camera on this drive, and my iPhone camera doesn't do long distance shots well. This was a 10x magnification, and that's the best it would do. Lesson learned: Always take along a decent camera.)
Well, there you have it for our Thanksgiving in Branson, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We are headed back to Texas to get our never-ending doctor visits over with before heading to Arizona in early January.
If I don't get another post done before then, Merry Christmas, everybody!
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life;
please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it each day as I should.
We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.
---George Bernard Shaw
"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood