Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, October 30, 2022

On the Road Again

 At America's Best Campground, Branson, Missouri...

After spending a few weeks at Ranchito Hondo, it was time for yet another adventure. Unfortunately, the nature of this trip was sufficiently time-consuming that I haven't had much opportunity for writing a post. Well, maybe I have, but time with family and friends has just been more important, as you can imagine.

One of the main reasons for this fall trip was to celebrate daughter Mindy's birthday and to spend a week with her and Tyler and the grandsons. Mindy seemed to enjoy her birthday dinner out at El Palenque, our favorite Houston-area Mexican restaurant:

Of course, it is not unlike her dad to do some monkeyshines at such an event, and I'm sure I embarrassed her adequately.

Son-In-Law Tyler did me a great favor in doing a temporary repair to Phannie's instrument panel (the right side where the rearview camera screen, radio and a/c controls are). It appears the lightweight plastic panel was all that was holding these items in place and, after 16 years, an ill-placed screw at the factory finally caused the plastic panel to break in a critical spot, causing these items to fall inward with no support. We had just arrived in the Houston area, and we were in a mess. Tyler, whose business is construction (he builds things like airport terminals and football stadiums), dropped everything and perfectly designed a metal backing for the plastic panel, into which he repositioned the abovementioned displaced components. We are so proud of Tyler; we think of him as our very own son.  

After Mindy's birthday celebration and spoiling the grandsons, we headed to Branson to meet up with friends and attend a three-day gospel concert. Here are some of them:

Beyond Sandy and me in the photo above are LouAnn and Bubba, Mary Lou and Harvey. Missing are Carolyn and Larry, who had family obligations and couldn't make this get together. They are all wonderful people who are more like family than friends.

We had a great time at the concerts, seeing shows, shopping and dining out as old friends do. Much laughter was had by all--definitely good for the soul.

One of our meals was out at the Big Cedar Lodge complex south of Branson, and the autumn foliage was so beautiful that we just had to get some photos. These don't quite equal fall color in New England, but for the Ozarks, they aren't too shabby:

We are at the end of this fall trip, and how blessed we are to have the ability to travel and enjoy our relationships as we do. We hear so many stories about people who are unable to enjoy their golden years for one reason or another. Perhaps the most heartbreaking are those who didn't retire when they could and had little or no enjoyment of times like these.  

We are headed back to Texas, and we'll catch you up again, well, when I feel like it!  (Ha!)

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should every day.

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