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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where has the Cheekymobile been lately?

Back in Omaha now, thank goodness, but the Cheekymobile has been traveling. I went to Branson with my mom - we both like the same sort of things, and she didn't complain once if I made the wrong turn, or comment ever on how Iwas driving on the VERTICAL roads in Branson. (The rule there is to strategically place a 4 way stop at the top of each mountain.) The Cheekymobile may have to have its clutch or its emergency brake looked at (joking-I think they are ok), after all the stop and go on the hills that I did. We had a marvelous time.
First, we went on the paddle-wheel Showboat Branson Belle. We ate lunch in the exclusive Paddle Wheel dining room, where one
waiter took care of us and only 4 other parties as we watched the lakeshore glide by, eating wonderful food (mine was a fish dish with cheesecake dessert, and mom had the carribean chicken). Nothing like decadence when one can savor cheesecake on one of the biggest man-made lakes in Missouri. We went down to see the show during their intermission-there were long rows of tables in front of the stage where the folks who had the regular tickets were eating. The show was wonderful-a comic magician, and a 4 person dance/singing act that had all the energy I would need for about the next 20 years -but they spent it all in an hour. Mom and I had a blast!
That night, we went to see Brule (accent over the e). I have the group's cds, and had heard them in person at a library convention in Sioux Falls, SD about 5 years ago. Their music was what I listened to during the radiation weeks, and all night long after my skull operation - really good stuff. To see their big show in person was fantastic, and we felt drained by all the clapping and vicarious dancing that we did while watching them. I met the leader of the group afterwards, thanking him and his family/group for sharing their art, and telling him I met him back in SD. He laughed, and said that they had been worried about that gig, wondering how librarians would react, then how they w
ere very surprised to see us dancing on the tables (I know the librarians that did that-not me, but some of my wonderful, spirited colleagues). After the two great experiences we had on Tuesday, we thought maybe the rest of the week would be downhill, but the 12 Irish Tenors were on the ball Wednesday morning, and we again had the time of our lives. Had lunch at an Italian restaurant, with both of us having fish in a nearly empty place (ate early, and the place filled up as we sat there). Traffic getting around Branson is a nightmare, even with less tourists-I would not want to be there with the usual number of visitors. Unbelievable about the traffic, but most folks are polite and will let you out if they too are stopped and waiting on traffic. We took one trip down to the 'old downtown' on the east side of Branson-didn't even get out, parking and traffic were sooo bad. That is the side of town that has a brand new convention center (Hilton is the convention center hotel), so they have created a series of upscale shopping over there for the visitors that haven't a prayer to get over to the west side of town during their meetings, and called it Branson Landing. I actually wanted to see a couple of the shops there, but it was walking outside, and with my aversion to heat and sun (the hat was doing nicely, but couldn't protect from the sidewalk's radiating heat), we just made our way slowly in the car back to the condo we had rented, and sat there, watching the golfers that trekked their way through the ravine in back of the condos that had been wrestled into a golf course. The heat hadn't let up by the time we went to the Shepherd of the Hills play at 8pm, but mom had again gone
first class and bought the VIP tickets so a tram would deliver us to the second row seats. I swear the road was built on a 87 degree slope-no way we would have been able to walk it. The play is celebrating its 50th year - oh, and if you have seen the John Wayne movie version of Shepherd of the Hills, you haven't got the right story from Harold Bell Wright's book (the actors told us that before the play started). The pre-show was a frog jumping contest for all the kids in the audience, trying to get their wiggles out before the long play started. It was fun to watch, but the actors in their wool-based period costumes were wiping off beads of sweat as big as marbles. The sun went down about intermission, which was a square dance party that involved the audience if they wanted to join in. The play started up again, and ended with all lights out, tree frogs and crickets singing and chirping loudly, and the two separated lovers meeting up after death, dressed in glow-in-the-dark sheets and rising to the top of the barn by way of a winched platform. About the time they got up past the top of the barn, a shooting star-real one, honest-appeared, so I have a wish that still needs to be made.

Thursday was shopping and one more show-Moe Bandy. Mr. Bandy was the only 'country music' show we saw. He was performer of the year in 1979, so I remember hearing him on all of my road trips, truck driving days, and driving to and from college, then again on AFN in Germany when they would have their country music hour in the day. He stood up on stage and admitted that our group of 60 or so in the audience was 'light', but he and the band would play as if we were 3000, which is what the theater held. And he lived up to his promise. His troupe included a funny comedian/clown named Harley Worthit. Mom got to get up close to one of her favorite singers, and he gave me the chance to get their picture. He promised to stay as long as people wanted to talk with him, and I bet he did. One of the great parts of his show - he sang all the top songs that he had originally said 'no' to when their writer sent them to him to consider-and each one of them had gone on to number one by another artist. Not sure I could be that big a person about what I passed up-gave me something to think about.
The coolest thing was - each of the 5 shows had a different tribute to the veterans. The Irish Tenors played the songs of each of the branches, and asked people to stand when theirs was played. Brule gave a special drum tribute to honor veterans. Moe Bandy asked veterans and spouses to stand as he recognized the branches-I got to stand for Rick's (and my) service. The most touching was at the play-they had a color guard on horseback come in, and the audience sang our national anthem, and pledged allegiance.

The trip was good, and even though I was only a few hours away from where I did most of my growing up, I felt like we were on another planet while there. I had very few food issues - having menus on the web gave me plenty of planning time, and staying in a condo meant that most of our meals we cooked. Mom had a great time, and I was happy for that too. Collecting memories is about the best thing I can spend my time doing, these days!


Jeanne Sather said...

Teri--I agree with you completely about the importance of collecting memories, and this trip sounds like a wonderful one. Good for you for taking the time.

My regards to your mother.


A2 Librarian said...

You had such a great time! Branson is one place I want to's on my list of TO DOs. Do you want to come with me? hugs, Angie

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