Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hard Work U


We had heard Mom and Dad talk about 
the College of the Ozarks
for many years.

In the gift shop.

Every time my parents would come out to Missouri 
it was a favorite stop for them.

Yesterday we got to experience this really smart
and beautiful college for ourselves.

Here is the concept:

The students work their way through
and don't pay a penny of tuition.
They still pay room and board unless they 
stay and work through the summer.

This is just one small part of 
the hotel and restaurant lobby.

The fireplace was just stunning!

Jobs are available in all aspects of 
the restaurant and hotel,
farming, gardening, maintenance, electrical plant,
the mill, fire and police, on and on it goes.
If it needs to happen on campus there is likely 
a student doing the job.

We ate in the restaurant for lunch
and it was so cool knowing that everything we ate
was produced there on the campus.
Including the beef in the hamburgers 
and the pork in my Quesadilla.

Our waiter is in his final year.
He is so excited to have landed a great job
in a restaurant in Orlando.
The students are sought after by employers 
because of their reputation of experience 
and hard work.

I tried and tried to get a good photo of this guy....he was too skinny for the camera to think was the object of my attention.

Another program at the school that I found
to be very special is the veteran and student
program.  The school will match up veterans with one 
or more students and then they will travel to the place
where the veteran served.
He will then tell them first hand about his 
What a way to preserve history.
Love it.
Apparently President Bush was impressed too.
This photo of a photo shows him meeting with 
some of the veterans.

So often I take for granted the service 
and sacrifice others are now giving or have given.
Out here in Branson
they do not forget.

We visited the Mill,
it is a working mill where they grind
grains for their biscuit mix, breads,
and whatever else they need flour for.

Also in the mill is the weaving center.
Students weave all kinds of beautiful items 
for sale.  

Then we were off to the Chapel.
It is beautiful.
I can just imagine many of the alumni coming
back to have their weddings here.


This is a blatantly Christian college.
It is one that is doing their students a service in requiring much
while rewarding them with a college degree without debt.
They leave this place with practical experience
and pride in a job well done.

This was not the only thing we did yesterday but
since it is so picture laden I'll share more another day.

I hope that you have a wonderful day.
We are off to squeeze in as much as we can on 
our last day in Branson, Missouri.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quack! Quack!

I've finally done it!
Ridden a duck.

Many cities have The Ducks.
I've passed them in Baltimore and read about them 
here and there.
I even watched an episode of Undercover Boss
featuring this particular company.

But, until yesterday, I had not experienced
The Ducks.

Can't say that anymore.

It was fun.

The morning was a bit nippy because it was 
overcast and so riding down the highway at 
40 - 45 mph was a bit chilly.
Not so much for me
as I am perpetually HOT these days.
Some of you understand.

But poor Chelsea was a little frozen popsicle
all snuggled up with her Papa Bear.
I think her pet name fits him pretty well.
It is official, you know, because that is how 
he is listed in her phone.

Anyway, back to the Duckie ride.

A retired Duckling.  Much smaller than our Duck.

In case you have no idea of what I speak, 
The Ducks are vehicles that can go on land or water
equally as easily.
So we hit the road and then tackled a mountain
to see spectacular views of Table Rock Lake
which was our feature destination.

Since The Ducks own the mountain...
yes, I know how strange that sounds...
they have decorated it in a rather
patriotic fashion.

They retire military vehicles up there.
I would not have thought of that one.
But they did.
And it works.

See the limestone wall?  That is what is left after a conveyor system took a large part of the mountain down to the dam building project.

This was used on the set of MASH.  Captain Gramps was pretty sure that "Hot Lips Hoolihan" had ridden in it.

Then upon coming down from the mountain 
the propeller was deployed and into the water 
we went.


The Branson Belle.  We are not going to get to experience this during our trip this time.

We enjoyed very smooth conditions and 
were entertained by fellow travelers who took turns
at the wheel. 
We sang Happy Birthday to a man turning
a young 75 on that very day
while his wife, the stool pigeon, 
took a turn at the wheel.

Our Captain...Gramps....was awesome.

We enjoyed his banter as he drove.
What a wonderful world when a man of his 
years can share his knowledge and experience
while providing a wonderful service to those
who wish to learn more about an area.
He was full of information about the lake system
and the dams that control them.
I'm so glad we got him as our driver
and tour guide.

One special thing I will mention is that
we passed the community that Andy Williams
had called home for many years.
It was there that he passed away this week.
Captain Gramps made mention of it and I'm
pretty sure he was a bit touched as he did so.
I hope to get some photos of the signs going up around
here paying respect to Mr. Williams and his family.

Later Mom, Warren and Jonathan went to see 
Yakov while Chelsea and I explored the local 
Tanger Outlets.
We escaped without any purchases.
We did come close but decided that if we still wanted 
anything we would get it before we left.
Nothing seemed that important as the 
time came for us to head out.
A very good plan for saving money if you ask me.
I wouldn't have felt too badly about purchasing something
if I went to the extra effort of going back for it.

Chelsea and I went to "our favorite" grocery store here
and got supplies for dinner.
We made Spaghetti.

Thanks for those who are so sweet as to care
to read our vacation posts. 
I know that there are many, many jokes
about being tortured with someone
else's vacation pictures....
but you don't have to look.
It's o.k.

I think we sat by Alf's Dad at a show 
the other night.
Not sure but I think since there is now 
no way to confirm or deny
I'm just going to claim it.
He looked just like he should look by now.
AND he was a wonderful man who 
sounded like him too.
I was that close to 

Last night we made it part of the way through
The Pearce Arrow Show.
We didn't mind it
but we were seated in the very middle of a LONG row
and the man and woman directly to my left had very 
bad colds.
I just couldn't concentrate on enjoying the show
with fears of getting that nasty cold.
Horrible, aren't I?
So we snuck out at intermission.
I really enjoyed seeing Luke Menard
from American Idol.
He is now singing tenor for
Pearce Arrow.

Well, it was all good in the end.
We went to Dairy Queen and got Blizzards
instead.  Since it was just Warren, Chelsea and I 
we hatched a story to tell Mom and Jonathan when we got 
back that involved Warren getting thrown out of the theatre.
Would you believe Mom and Jonathan had already gone to 
bed and were sleeping soundly.
Our acting debut was sunk 
just like that!

Oh well.
Probably for the best.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

There is a Reason People Come to Branson

 Our main reason for planning this trip 
was to see Joseph one more time.
It is absolutely my favorite show that 
Sight and Sound has produced for the 
large stage.
I truly miss Psalms of David which was 
run at the smaller theatre in Lancaster
but when it comes to the large stage shows.....
This one is at the top of my list.
That is saying something because I love Jonah too.

 Since both Mom and Chelsea work in concessions in the Lancaster theatre
they were quite interested in seeing how things are set up 
in Branson.
They loved it.

 I think they enjoyed seeing product they used to sell once again.
We also met a sweet lady named Peggy who does in Branson
what Mom does in Strasburg.
They really enjoyed talking to each other!

And then we found Goliath!
He used to be in "our" theatre lobby.
The kids look so small compared to him.
That is an accomplishment when it comes to 
Jonathan.  At 6'7" he is accustomed to being the tallest
in the room.

 So, where are we?
Sure looks like Strasburg....
but this is the front of the Branson theatre.

Jonathan, Chelsea and Mom would like one of these at home
because people are always asking them where the box office is.
Apparently it blends into its surroundings so well that people 
often miss it.

I'm not saying this because my whole family works for Sight and Sound
but it is such a wonderful place to visit.
The shows are quality.
The people are warm and friendly.
Coming from the "employee" side of it I can tell you that 
what you see is real.
The mission is to spread the gospel through telling the 
stories given to us in the Word of God.
Mom and Chelsea serve on the Prayer Team.
Those on the prayer team make themselves available to 
pray with anyone after the show
who wants to do so.
They have had some amazing experiences.
What a blessing!
The other part of the mission is to minister to the employees
in any way they possibly can.
It really happens.
We were talking about it on the long drive out here and we
had nothing but good things to say.
We are very blessed to be associated with such a caring
and talented organization.
Maybe one day I will join them.....
as a Sight and Sound employee.
Who knows.

Yesterday we went to Silver Dollar City.
It was beautiful!
 I am not a huge fan of theme parks because
I don't really ride the rides
but here there were many things to do besides rides.
There are many artisans with beautiful items to look at...
and even purchase if one has the spare cash to do so. can do what we did and get a card
so that Warren knows where to get that perfect 
Christmas gift for Moi.
Oh, yes I did.
I have a weakness for pottery and they had some amazing pieces.

The decor was gorgeous.
I loved the simplicity of this gate.

My one and only ride, 
other than the train....
Tea cups!
 I could have ridden this one several times.
We were going to try to fit all four of us into one tea cup
but it was too snug.
We had to insist that Warren and Jonathan
"get their own tea cup!".

 The fearless ones rode the rocking ship.
I guess I might have liked it too.
They said it was relaxing.

 Hunger found us.
Jonathan had a turkey leg and beans
while Chelsea and I shared strawberries and ice cream.

The reason Mom chose to come to Branson this week?
Sons of the San Juaquin.
They were playing in the theatre inside Silver Dollar City.
The old cowboy songs that I remember from my childhood.

The only other ride I was interested in was the train.
There we had a little adventure as two not so brilliant
train robbers "held us up".
We were in the perfect train car to see this performance.
We had eye contact with the "robbers" and it was 

I won't try to replay it for you.
But if you get out here this is great.
Just be sure to get in car #2.

 Quite the characters!

I made everyone stand in front of the huge cornucopia 
for pictures before we left the park.

Then I made them all get out of the way so I could just get the 
decoration by itself.

Not sure who that guy is....
but he wasn't moving.

Our final stop while in Silver Dollar City was
the Taffy Store.
Grandma treated us.
Chelsea and Jonathan had so much fun
choosing from the many varieties.

We miss our Mikey but are thankful to know that he and Georgia are
keeping things in good shape at home.

We were glad that Mikey wasn't with us at the Dutton Show last 
night.  He would have gotten so many crazy ideas.
Mom and I went alone because everyone else needed 
a break from "shows".
We laughed so hard.
If you come out here I recommend you make time 
to see The Duttons.
They are a family ....a large family....
and they are great!!

The mother, Sheila, told a story that many of 
my church friends will appreciate.
She said when the children were small...
four of them, ages four and under....
a man at the grocery store turned to her and asked 
if she had ever heard of family planning.
She informed him that indeed she had heard of it 
and was halfway through her plan.
Go Sheila!!

We were saddened to wake up yesterday to the news
that Andy Williams had passed away at his home here in Branson.
His theater is beautiful and I know he impacted this area 
for many years.
Praying for his family in this time of grief.

More to come....
at some point.
But, for now, I have to run and get ready for 
today's adventures.

Hope you have a blessed day.