OK, so we’re still here in Branson. So sue us! 😀
Actually, we have been enjoying this Disneyland South and its many offerings. The people of the Ozarks are warm, friendly, generous and altogether welcoming. The hills are green — so many different shades of green — and there is water everywhere. This is an unusual year, for sure, but even so, the scenery is lush and rich with its bounty. We like it!
So now, about the last three days — let’s see…
We decided to go to church today and found that the East Branson SDA church was the closest one. We found a very nice, new but simple building in a large, open area with a covered picnic/potluck area alongside. We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed the fellowship of the members who greeted us after the service. We were urged to attend the potluck, which we did, and sat with a couple and their two adorable little girls. They were also visitors. They were immigrants from the Philippines who now live in Mexico, Missouri. I didn’t even know there was such a place!
We also, as usual, found some people who are related to people from our home church. It is such a small world!
After we left church we drove around the area and enjoyed the little surprises of finding gorgeous views or amusing signs around each corner. And there are a lot of twists and turns in the road around here.
We had received a flyer inviting us to attend a gospel music church service at a place just down the street from where we’re staying, and we got up early to go there. We were not disappointed. A small stage and showroom was packed with people. A very proficient and extremely sincere gentleman played guitar and sang. He was backed up by an incredibly adept man on keyboard and a woman who sang harmony.
After several very familiar songs, and solos by the woman and a guest guitarist/songwriter who is also the local watch repairman, the guitarist (who was “Branson guitar picker of the year” last year, gave a brief but moving sermonette and closed with a rousing version of a new (to us) gospel song. We left the service with a new appreciation for the strong, unashamed beliefs of many of the area entertainers.
The afternoon was dedicated to wandering around the area again, and we ended up at the complex of new shops near the lake and the big, flashy Hilton Hotel. We bought a French press to replace the one we broke earlier, and Diana got a new blouse at a great sale price at the Coldwater Creek outlet. We are trying to contribute to the local economy everywhere we go!
Today we headed south and west into Arkansas, toward toward the town of Berryville, in search of one of Diana’s great-great grandmothers who supposedly was born in or near this town. We met with another of the intelligent, helpful, enthusiastic women who volunteer to staff these local museum/heritage/history establishments. Alas, although we all searched high and low, no trace of Martha Callen was found. Diana did glean some new clues which may aid her future efforts. The hunt continues.
We had lunch in the Berryville Square in a little cafe alongside some colorful locals and then took a side trip to Eureka Springs, a resort town about 10 miles from Berryville. It was quaint and touristy and very much like a lot of the small, gold country towns we are familiar with. We wandered around the town and Diana once again found some bargains. No worries — most of what she is acquiring is small!
I failed to mention that the last three days have been rain-filled. Everything from light drizzle to full-on thunder and lightning extravaganzas. Today was no exception and negotiating the wet and winding, two-lane Missouri and Arkansas roads without the trailer was fun for me.
We are trying to figure out what we will do next. We want to visit Raines relatives in Nashville and Atlanta, but working out a mutually acceptable schedule may be difficult. At any event, we’re off tomorrow morning for somewhere more to the east. We’ll let you know where we alight next in the following episode. We’ll be lookin’ for ya then!