Monday, October 31, 2011

Working Vacation: Daybook Day 7

Claire and I continue in our working vacation down here in the Branson area and things are going well on both fronts. Want a quick review of our activities since Friday's post? Here you go:

* We did (as I mentioned last time around) get down to Vasken's Deli here for lunch on Friday. But we also swung by the U.S. Cellular place again so Claire could exchange one of our new phones and get a bunch more advice from Stephanie. They've been really helpful and so we took along some cupcakes as a thank-you. We fit in a bit of grocery shopping too and made it home to watch Game Seven of the World Series. We were rooting for the Cardinals and so the experience was particularly exciting.

* Saturday morning we took off for Silver Dollar City. Claire landed a special 2-day pass which allowed us to get in on the last day of the National Harvest Festival but then, after the park is closed all week preparing for their elaborate Christmas displays, we will enjoy being there next Saturday also. The highlights: watching several lumberjack contests, hearing gospel songs from Pure Heart, finding a quilted wall hanging for Christmas, and listening to the mellow and inspiring performance of the Homestead Pickers as they joined with young musicians from the audience. That last hour was worth the price of admission alone and we will never forget the rendition of the old hymn, "Beulah Land," done extemporaneously by a young woman from the audience and backed up by the Pickers and a few friends. In fact, I may write more about this later this week.

* Saturday night was even more special for us. We drove 30 miles up to Crane, Missouri to visit my Aunt Ferris, a lovely woman who was always one of our favorite relatives. Ferris is 88 and, not surprisingly, dealing with a lot of physical problems. However, she remains a vibrant, fun, engaging and deeply spiritual woman and we had 4 hours of wonderful fellowship with her, my cousin Belinda and two of her grandchildren and, a bit later in the night, my cousin Ervin and his wife, Alice, who were in town briefly from Little Rock. This branch of the family has gone through a lot of difficult trials and suffering but a lot of overcoming too. And the hours we spent catching up, reminiscing, hearing stories about Ferris and Thomas back in the days when they were hanging around with my Mom and Dad, listening to Ferris play a little guitar, eating pie, and learning about the current ministries of my cousins (Belinda in caring for her Mom and Ervin and Alice serving with the Assemblies of God Family Services Agency) -- well, they were absolutely priceless. Our decision to come to Branson for our working vacation was vindicated in one evening!

* Sunday was spent lazing around. No kidding, just lazing around. We read a bit, talked, watched a bit of the NFL game and later on an episode of the Next Iron Chef contest on the Food Network. It was pretty neat. Of course, it's a bummer when you catch a program like this on someone's cable TV, get interested in the eventual outcome and then realize that because you don't have cable TV at home, you'll never know how it ends! Oh, well.

* Today's agenda includes a visit (and lunch) at the College of the Ozarks, a Christian institution that's known as “Hard Work U" because all students here work their way through school. It's quite a place from what we've heard and we're anxious to get a closer look. Then we've marked off a couple of hiking trails to explore.  And the rest of the day? Well, as I've said in an earlier post, we're not always sure of where we'll end up. You (like Claire and I) will have to wait and see.