Monday, November 11, 2013

The Vacation Is Over

What a wonderful vacation it was!

The beauty of the Ozarks in autumn. A quiet, restful condo. Some great times with friends and family. A few "established favorite" places to visit with a few new ones tossed in. And time to pray, read, evaluate, plan...and to celebrate 42 years of marriage.

Among the specific highlights:

* Listening to my cousin Eva sing "If It Wasn't for the Lighthouse" with harmony provided by my cousin Belinda and my 90-year old Aunt Farris.

* Being with Allen & Cindy Nelson at the first annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony outside the Andy Williams' Moon River Theater. 

* A long Sunday afternoon drive through the winding backroads of the Ozarks.

* A breakfast at Billy Gail's with my sister and brother-in-law from Wichita, John & Sherry Whissen. 

* Talking to the student actors of the College of the Ozarks after watching a rousing production of their play, "Four Star Country Boy."

* A couple of strolls through Branson Landing, not for shopping but for listening to Christmas music, enjoying the brisk air, taking in the view of the river, feeding the ducks, and eating dessert at Dino's 24 Karat Cake.

* Spending a Saturday night at the Oldfield Opry with Scott Lawson listening to local musicians perform for the sheer fun of it...and for the joy they know it brings to others.

* Enjoying a delicious dinner (on our anniversary) with my Aunt Farris, my cousin Susan, and her husband, Roy. The meal of pot roast, potatoes, gravy, green beans, apple crisp, etc. was prepared by Belinda and Susan.

* Spending an hour or more in prayer with Allen Nelson on a bracingly cool night on the deck of our condo.

* Enjoying the exhilarating (yet serene) view from Lookout Point at the College of the Ozarks.

* Reading W. Somerset Maugham, Calvin Miller, Arthur Koestler, William F. Buckley, and the Hunger Games trilogy. (The first two of the trilogy were fantastic; the third was remarkably bad.)

* Taking walks through the fallen leaves near the condo. 

* Lunches at Vasken's Deli.

* Working with Claire on an edited version of my Mom's diary in the days when she was courted by my Dad.

* Many pleasant and fruitful talks with Claire in the condo, out on the deck or on drives through the country, reflecting on our past decades together and trying to plan for our future ministry with Vital Signs, Faith Bible Church, friends and family, neighbors, writing projects, and more.

* En route home, meeting Keith & Carol Moran in Kansas City for a late lunch at Oklahoma Joe's a gas station!

It was a terrific vacation which served several purposes. Branson has definitely become the oasis spot for us and we can't wait till the next chance to get down there. Are you listening, family? Literary club?