Monday, June 29, 2009

Branson, Missouri

On Saturday morning we pulled out of the Outdoor Resorts and headed north to Branson. We had reservations at a RV Park that is just off the main strip (Hwy 76) where we have stayed before. First order of business was to tour the Titanic exhibit. We have been to Branson twice since the Titanic exhibit was built but have not had to chance to visit it. The building itself is built as a one-third version of the ship. It is billed as the largest museum in the world with over 2000 displays. (I would have to question this since we have toured several Navy ships that have been converted to museums, including the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.) The exhibit was very interesting and included a two-thirds model of the ships grand staircase. The only disappointment was that no photography was allowed inside the museum.

Saturday evening we stopped at the Uptown Diner, a 50's style diner, for a good old fashioned meal before heading to The Osmond Brother's Theatre for a show. The Osmonds were not in town but the show, Magnificent Variety, was performing in their theatre. This was an outstanding music show, showcasing the music of seven decades from the 1940's to the present. In addition to the band the troop consisted of nine performers, including the husband and wife team who lead the show. Overall they had 300 costume changes during the show. Here is "Sonny and Cher" doing the song "I've got you Babe".

On Sunday we managed to do some shopping. Joanne made her regular trek to the outlet malls to her favorite store, Bon Worths. In Branson there are two outlet malls and each of them has a Bon Worths so we did make both of them. While she shopped at the first one I made my way to a Wal Mart to get some stuff to do some minor repairs to the coach. After a relaxing afternoon at the coach we headed out to another show, this one a play. It was a musical production with all the music written by Neil Sedaka. There was a cast of six plus an on stage band. It was an enjoyable evening of good music. (Here, the lead character, Del Delmonico, opens the show.) Monday morning saw us back on the road with our return trip home.

Friday, June 26, 2009

On the road to the Ozarks

We left home on Thursday morning heading to the Ozark Mountains. Our ultimate destination was to be Branson, Missouri, but we would first stop just south of the Arkansas/Missouri state line on the south end of Table Rock Lake. We had been given a coupon for two free nights at the Ozark Outdoor Resorts of America RV Park. This is a an upscale park that is mostly owner occupied. The individual sites are mostly owned by individuals and the rest are for sale. After purchasing a site, at between $40,000 and $60,000 depending on how close to the lake they are, people immediately start upgrading their sites. Many have had additional concrete poured, retaining walls installed, statues and fountains placed on the sites. When the individual owner is not present the resort rents those sites to overnighters like us, with the rental fee going to the owner after the resort takes their commission. This is a very beautiful place to stay but is also very expensive at $70.00 per night. There is a nine hole, par 3 golf course along with swimming pools and tennis courts. Waterfalls and fountains have been placed in the open spaces around the resort.

Although our plan was to spend time in Branson during this trip it turned out the resort was closer to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, than to Branson. Since we have always like visiting Eureka Springs we decided to take Friday and drive there in the car. After strolling around town and checking out the shops we stopped at the nightclub, Eureka Live. This is operated by one of the people I worked with for many years who had become a good friend. Michelle retired from state employment the same day Joanne and I retired.

After a good visit with Michelle we headed back to the coach and spent the evening wondering around the resort, checking out all of its amenities. Although we were impressed with the park it is really out of the way, down several miles of narrow, mountain roads and is not close to any other activities. Even if we were in the market for an RV home base this would be a little out of the way for us, especially at the price of their lots.

Monday, June 22, 2009

2009 Stone Family Reunion

The Stone family gathers every other year for our family reunion. This reunion is for the descendants of W. A. and Martha Stone, my paternal grandparents. My dad is the sixth of the eight children. At age 90 he is now the oldest with just his younger brother and sister still living.

This past Saturday the clan gathered at the Senior Citizen/Community Center in Byars, Oklahoma. This is where my dad was born, grew up and met my mother. This is also where my grandfather, William Alexander Stone, farmed and later served as Mayor. The Byars Cemetery holds many, if not most, of the Stone Clan that has gone before us. We had a good turnout considering how many of Dad's generation have passed on. As his siblings left us their offspring tended to stop coming to the reunions. The picture to the right is of my parents, George and Max Stone. They are both 90 years old and have been married for 72 years.

This is one occasion that my brothers and I try not to miss. All four of us were there to celebrate the family. The picture to the left is of the four of us (Chester, Bill, David, Me) with my dad and his younger brother, Dale. With the cousins and other family members we had better than 40 attend. My cousins, Yvonne and Bob Graham, came from Florida for the reunion. They almost always come and stay at our house while they are here. They have spent the weekend with us and will be heading back to Florida tomorrow.

As I have mentioned in previous post on this blog my dad wrote a book about his life. The first version was printed this past fall. After we got it printed he thought of all the stuff he left out so he started over. The latest version is now completed and he presented it at the reunion, giving each family present a copy. This is a truly remarkable book. Dad wrote it all out in longhand on legal pads and then I typed and edited it. We have filled it with pictures from over the years, including not only family pictures but many from his world travels. This is what the finished project looks like.