Good work, you guessers--you were right. We went to Branson, Missouri on our little weekend trip. And I will confess, as we drove the streets of Branson, I thought of you all, and I wondered just how I could describe this city accurately, especially to those of you on the east or west coasts who will likely never see this slice of Americana. It's a curious place, to say the least.
If you've never heard of it, here's a little background: Branson was a tiny town even just 25 years ago, barely a stop in the road carved into the rocky hills of southwest Missouri. A little amusement park grew up around a cave there, and then a country music show or two was started "in town" to entertain the amusement-park go-ers.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Fast-forward 25 years later, and Branson is no longer a sleepy little town. Now it's become (as my Hubs affectionately calls it) "Las Vegas for rednecks" (and I say that with all the love in my heart, seeing as how I'm from the hills of Arkansas and there still just a leetle bit of redneck deep in this girl). It's the kind of place where the shows are flashy, the hair is big, and the chicken fried steak is all-you-can-eat.
For example, we drove past the "God and Country Gardens", where you can visit a six-foot high metal sculpture of the Ten Commandments right out front. And then there was the little clothing store we saw named--I'm not making this up--"Dressin' Gaudy". Even the local Baptist church has a neon sign.
And you know what? It's a really fun place to visit. It's the sort of place where you check your big-city sophistication at the city limits and revel in the fact that we all need some sequins in our lives, every now and then. (I know that several of you have been to Branson, so help me out in the comment section and try to describe this place to those who haven't seen it.)
Our family stayed at the hotel adjoining this indoor water park, and it was great fun. My kids ran and yelled and splashed the way they haven't been able to do in the last few, cold months. It was great therapy for us all.
NO Dryer family getaway would be complete without someone getting sick, of course. Every trip we take--and I do mean EVERY SINGLE TRIP--will produce someone(s) chufing or coughing or bleeding. It's a little family tradition by now, really. I've learned to go with it and just pack our entire medicine cabinet when we travel. The irony is that at home, we're all remarkably healthy--something about leaving our city limits seems to cause dormant germs to leap into action. This particular trip found Joseph having a bad asthma flare-up, but he's doing better now. AND Corrie swallowed so much pool water that she threw up, but only once, so that doesn't count as a real illness. In fact, our spectacular luck rubbed off on the friends we traveled with, and two of their kids came down with something icky. Lesson of the day: Do not travel with the Dryer family.
We're home now, and everyone is well. The laundry is put away and the chlorine smell is almost gone from our skin. Best of all, we're rested and refreshed--and just a little flashier.