This morning I’m in Branson, MO. My wife and I seem to return here a lot. I have a lot of memories of this place. Paula and I first came here on our honeymoon back in May of 1990. I had never heard of the place before that, but Paula had, and this is the place where we began our marriage.
We stayed in a little resort just off the lake in Kimberling City a couple miles west of Branson. We were still college students back then and we didn’t have much money, but we still were able to enjoy some attractions and gain some memories that would last us a lifetime.
We went to Silver Dollar City. Paula’s always been scared of heights and she is not a fan of roller coasters or those types of rides. But she did ride on the log ride with me (which is about as daring as she can get). It must scare her more than most people (she tends to turn lose all the color in her face). So it was a great sacrifice for her to ride the log ride with me. There wasn’t all that many people in the park at that time and the woman running the ride recognized that we were on our honeymoon, so after we had gone through the ride once, she sent us a second time. Poor Paula! By the time the ride ended, Paula looked like she’d witnessed the horrors of WWII. We were drenched; it was cold, but the memory was set in stone.
We also saw several other sites, but the one I remember the most is animal park that we drove through. There was some sort of camel or Ox, actually I’m not sure what it was, but it was really big and it tried to eat the car. Then it stuck it’s head in the car which really freaked us out, especially Paula. Then there was the monkey from Hell. I guess Paula had watched the Wizard of Oz too many times. There was a monkey above a walkway that kind of freaked her out, so she tried to run. When you run away from animals, they tend to chase you and that is what the monkey from Hell tried to do. Then it started trying to reach for Paula through the cage while it let out this high pitched scream. Paula let out a high pitched scream of her own and took to the ground. We were now the center of attraction. A good husband would have tried to comfort his wife and protect her from the monkey. I’ve never been a very good husband. I decided to take a picture. I know, I know, I’m horrible. I don’t mean to be, but sometimes I really don’t make good decisions.
We returned to Branson a number of times over the years. My mom and step dad bought a timeshare in Branson, and we went there with them several times. It was in Branson that I heard the song “Thank God for Kids” which inspired my to desire to have a child of my own. Music makes you do funny things.
It was in Branson, during one of my walks with my mother that we discussed why Paula would be a stay at home mom if we could at all help it. Mom never knew about some things that I went through in those early years when she had to work, and I had to stay with babysitters. Perhaps some things were better left unsaid. We can’t always protect our children from the evils of the world, nor do parents even know about traumatic events that lay stored in a child’s mind for a lifetime.
We’ve been in Branson with both sets of parents. We’ve seen lots of shows and made lots of memories. It was here an an Osmond concert that my mother bought Tabitha a little brown bunny that became a near constant companion. She still has that old wore out stuffed animal.
Recently we celebrated Grace’s birthday here in Branson. I came up with the song “Please let me wipe you nose.” I now call it the mommy song. This little town has been a big part of our family. We’ve had all sorts of good times and some bad times too. There is so much that I really enjoy. I love the mountains and the scenery. But I just think it is such a shame when it gets so crowded. I hate the way that such a beautiful landscape gets cluttered with buildings and billboard signs. Still it is what it is: it’s special to me.