Friday, December 1, 2023

C. Stroup: You get what you pay for sometimes (Part 1 of 2)

Too much a fraidy cat to fly, I took a road trip with my husband instead…just needed to get away for a chance to clear our heads. With this constant diet of social distancing and feigning lineage to the Lone Ranger we figured we could still practice both while enjoying a change of scenery. And of course, the abundance of political posturing would loom ever present no matter where we were.

Not exactly close to home, but less than seven hours by car, we drove to Branson MO for a six-night stay. Once again we made the journey with another couple with whom we often travel. We shared a 2,800 square-foot luxury villa/2 bedrooms/2 baths/full kitchen/enormous living area and a wrap-around balcony for enjoying sunsets and sunrises over Table Rock Lake.

Why the need for such lavish living? Just pining for some pampering and hankering for a little TLC. Believe me when I say that there was much discussion before we signed up for this very pricey lap of luxury. But the prospect of residing in somewhat of a sprawling manor overcame common sense and we booked it despite any misgivings.

Branson proved to be a totally fun place with so much to see and do.  There was Kringle’s Christmas Décor that took my breath away! Never, have I ever, seen so many unique decorations, trees full of ornaments, lights and on and on. We had to visit the shop twice and even then didn’t begin to see it all. We ducked in to several other stores located in this mall, my favorite find being the one that sold decadent fudge. A result of all this shopping was, of course, spending money and acquiring quite an appetite. Growling bellies were delightfully sated by a yummy lunch served by singing waiters at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner. Decorated in the tradition of the Arnold’s in the “Happy Days” series (set in the 1950’s) the ambiance was second only to the great grub. We dined there twice!

While looking for the ticket office to purchase vouchers for the Titanic Museum, we stumbled across The Celebrity Car Exhibit … “Holy Cow Batman!” The Batmobile was displayed right next to the police car driven by the Blues’ Brothers. The talking Kit Car shone brightly under floodlights and vehicles from the “Fast and Furious” movie series were aplenty, maybe even a little too aplenty. In total there were probably 100 or more for your viewing pleasure and it was a pleasure! Afterwards we did score tickets for the Titanic artifacts gallery, an amazing learning experience ~ full of information regarding the entire tragedy from its conception to its fateful end.

One attraction which, in a write-up, was described as nothing more than ‘seeing rocks and trees and trees and rocks’ we found quite enjoyable. You needn’t walk anywhere and could view the scenery (‘rocks and trees’) from a glass enclosed domed railroad car, part of The Branson Scenic Railway. While aboard sitting at a booth we chatted about the past days’ events over a cup of Joe.

While this element of the trip was calm and serene, we all agreed the show at the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater was quite stimulating and the highlight of all of our outings.  It was called “Legends in Concert” and included exceptional live performances by Elvis, Frank Sinatra, The Blues’ Brothers and Johnny Cash with class act backup dancers and singers. My favorite entertainer was Elvis. This guy had every one of the King’s mannerisms down pat and looked and sounded more like Elvis than Elvis!

For sure no journey would be complete
Without a trip to Walmart for sweet tooth treats.

Needed junk food to take back to our retreat
Since we’d eaten all we’d brought while in our car seats.

That bakery aisle is a dangerous place!
But just had to have pies and cakes to feed our face.

Three times a cashier we paid at Walmart
For all the stuff we’d piled into our cart.

Then to Branson we said our goodbyes
Piled into the van and started to drive.

A great time indeed was had by us all
We agreed to come back…maybe next fall!

Next time I want to describe the villa in which we stayed…it’s a trip in and of itself!

C. Stroup
C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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