I'm back! Had a wonderful and relaxing time on our vacation to Branson. However, like always things happen that is out of your control.
My wife, Lynne, and I rode with our son Greg's inlaws, Richard and Janice Male, who came from Virginia to pick us up. Before we began our journey, we ate at Quinett's Court Restaurant then set sail for Missouri, more than a 12-hour drive. We had to fill up with gas several times, only to find ourselves facing an oncoming Iowa tornado.
I looked up and to see it getting pretty dark and said we should call it a night. Lynne added that we better hurry. So, amidst sirens going off and pouring rains, we searched for shelter and found a Holiday Inn nearby. Poor visibility caused us to miss our turnoff, so we turned around and made it to the Holiday Inn Express.
Richard and I went in to get a room, but the employees wouldn't sign us in just yet. Instead, they quickly whisked us off to a large room where hundreds of people were sitting on the floor, wondering if we would be caught in another Dorothy and be whisked off by the high winds.
We called our wives and told them we couldn't check in and for them to come into the hotel and they will be somebody there to bring them to us in the hallway with all the others. Shortly they came in and after sharing a kiss with our wives and saying a prayer we just looked around to all the different types of people from different back-grounds, and felt safe.
I took a few pictures like the one shown below in this column. Everyone was excellent as the hotel staff was at its finest and kept a huge crowd calm. After about 45 minutes, it was clear that the worst was over and we could sign in a get a room. It was clear we were out of danger. So, after a little prayer, we all got a good night's rest.
In the morning, we set out for Branson and got there in one piece. We saw many shows and so much beautiful country. The first show we saw was Tom Oliver and Irving, the talking dog. They were a semi-finalist on America's Got Talent. Oliver was a ventriloquist, singer and comedian. It was awesome.
After sight-seeing and shopping a little, we saw an awesome musical, Joseph. It was the bomb. I was so impressed, not only the acting and stage scenery, but also the music, which was out of this world.
Afterwards, we stopped and ate Mexican, making the first time I had ever eaten in a Mexican restaurant. The service was great and they tell me the food was great, also. I ate what I believe was chicken.
We then took a dinner cruise on the Showboat. It too was awesome. The host was a singer, comedian, juggler and an all-around entertainer. In fact, we saw many different shows, including a jazz band, fiddlelist and loads of beautiful ladies singing all different types of songs. If you ever get to Branson, I highly recommend it. The food was great, the shows were superb, and you get to see some terrific scenery.
We then shopped some more (natch), we went to Ripley's Believe It or Not. It was also great and we saw things we most likely never see again. We had a sensational time.
The last show we went to was Dick Clark's American Bandstand to see the Legends such as Johnny Cash, Celene Deon, Blue Brothers and the Temptations. Wow! It was awesome! Elvis as also there and he was especially awesome. Ripley's was a special way to end our visit to Branson. The next morning, we began the return trip home, but stopped at the Pro Bass Shopp. Man. Talk about huge! After finding a lot of great sales, including the Duck Dynasty game, were started home but had no more run-ins with tornado weather.
But, we just missed seeing River High School's graduated senior Cassidy McCullough's warm welcome home after winning her second state 300 meter hurdle event at the state track meet.
I also missed the Blue Eagles' quest for a Class-A State Baseball Championship, and my grandaughter's ninth birthday. Those are things I will never get back.
But, at the end of the day, Lynne and I really did enjoy a relaxing vacation with the other out-laws. It showed us that two sets of families from different backgrounds can enjoy each other's company and have a good old time.
However, it's now back to work. After completing another successful Strike Out Cancer Softball Softball Tournament that raised over $1,100, its time to get ready for the beginning of the 2013-14 high school sports season.
I hope that all is well and we will end up getting more OVAC, Mason-Dixon and state championships. So, let's go out and compete like there will be no tomorrow, remembering to keep our sportsmanship always on display.