At Turkey Creek RV Park, Hollister, Missouri...
I can't help but cringe at my expectation of a dressing-down from Janice for my irregular posting; In fact, I'm surprised she hasn't scolded me again already. She's probably saving it up for just the right time. I'm really struggling to explain my inattention to this, except two circumstances are at play: 1) I just can't bring myself to post about unremarkable days and 2) we took a quick trip to Branson, and we have just been too busy to sit down and put something together.
When I ended the last post, I was describing all the updates to Phannie that we had done at Red Bay, Alabama, the tiny town that is the home of the Tiffin Motorhome factory. There was one photo that I forgot to add to that post, involving a sign that I saw while we were there. Red Bay is a quirky little town, as I previously described in three ancient posts, published in sequence beginning with this one (click on the link). You can add to those quirks this sign, which appears to be relatively new:
If you read it through carefully, the Red Bay Hospital is trying to promote its outpatient care, but the sign is not large enough to read the smaller print as you dash past it in a car. All you see is, "We Make it Easy for You to Stay Home." As I zipped by the sign, not reading any further than that, it instantly brought forth my proper English language obsession and love of its comedic butchering to produce unintended meanings; I turned the car around to take another look. In reading only the large print, of course, the sign gives the impression that the hospital's function is so abhorrent that a prospective patient would prefer to stay home and take his or her chances rather than to use its services. The explanation, in small print below the larger lettering, made it more sensible. However, the designer obviously didn't take into account that only a speed reader would notice more of the message than I did as he or she passed by.
With that little oddity out of the way, I'll go ahead with more current events. After Red Bay, we went to Searcy, Arkansas to visit friends Carolyn and Larry for a couple of days, then we were off to my ancestral homeland, Nacogdoches, Texas, to visit more friends. We even got a fine catfish dinner and a tour of the beautiful Lufkin home of Ray (a former employee but forever friend) and his wife, Carolyn. Naturally, I forgot to take a photo. We also had a nice lunch at the Lufkin, Texas airport, where I was based shortly after I landed my first real job as a pilot (pun intended), flying mail every night to and from Dallas with a stop in Palestine. It's hard to believe that was more than 50 years ago. The following photo was taken from that era:
I was all of 23 years old at the time, and the airplane was a Beech 18, which was an upgrade from the old WWII-era C-45. Because the airplane was not particularly forgiving to pilots who weren't on their game, I took some pride in having pretty well mastered it at such a young age.
After almost six years of fulltiming, our tiny cabin at Hondo has begun to remind us of why we sold our house and hit the road: There is always something that needs to be done, even to such a small and simple place. Some guys thrive on piddling around and tweaking things, but I'm not one of them. So far, there are only a few positives to owning this thing: 1) We have a permanent place to store the small amount of personal stuff we still have; 2) I finally have a piano again, and 3) we have some nice friends in the park. We can appreciate the fact that, if we must own something that resembles a house, this is about as basic and low-maintenance as one can get. It is unfurnished, however, and we still have a few minor repairs to make that were caused by the hailstorm last April.
After resting up a bit, we hit the road toward Branson, where we were to meet our friends from Arkansas--Larry and Carolyn. We had an uneventful trip and began a ten-day stay. What we didn't know was that some old friends from earlier years of RVing were going to be there, too! Imagine our glee when we met up with these folks; they represent years of friendship and millions of laughs:
From left to right are Ed, Bob, Denny, Jackie, Janet, Marilyn and Sandy. Ed and Marilyn are off the road now, but the others are part-timers. It was wonderful to see them again, as we don't cross paths as often as we once did. One thing that hadn't changed was our ability to laugh and tease each other unmercifully. Seems like surprises like this make them even more special.
Of course, we had already purchased a number of entertainment tickets with Larry and Carolyn, as we had planned the trip long in advance, and we had the added pleasure of having dinner with their son, Scott, wife Melissa, and their grandson, Gabe:
One could get the impression that all we do is eat out at restaurants in Branson and, well, that wouldn't be far from the truth. We did take in some shows, the best of which was the unbelievable spectacle at the Sight and Sound Theater:
There's one more show that we always see when we visit Branson--The Hits of the 50s and 60s--that has been playing here without interruption for 19 years: