Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trip to Branson

Last Thursday, my cousin, sister and I set out for Branson, Missouri, where we would spend the next few days with my dear, dear friends, Lillian and Jim.

I have known Lil since March 8, 1988. Here's some history:

Lil and Jim lived in Waseca and owned a furniture store, but in late 1987 and 1988, they were driving to Austin on weekends to help start an Evangelical Free Church. Early in 1988, my kids and I were church "shopping." I told them (just Peder and Heidi then) that we would visit each church twice before making any decisions. One Sunday we happened into the church where Jim was preaching because we were too late for the one we had planned on attending. It was a small group of people (only 19 counting us), but they were very friendly. We went back the second Sunday, and Lillian met me at the door and invited us to stay for the pot luck dinner. I tried to decline since we hadn't brought anything, but she insisted we stay. That day was the beginning of a WONDERFUL friendship. About 15 years ago, they sold their furniture store, their home, and their cabin in Lutsen and built a beautiful house overlooking Table Rock Lake, just south of Branson. It comfortably sleeps 12, and they love having company. I don't make it down there as often anymore, but they come up here and we always get together. Neat, neat people!

We pulled into their place around 7 on Thursday evening. It didn't take long for us to move to the deck where we visited and visited, and eventually watched the first planet appear—then a second one—and then stars, thousands of stars. This was a treat for me since I live in a highly populated area where there are many, many lights. One forgets all of those stars are out there!

View from Lil's deck – Table Rock Lake in the distance.
Friday we headed north and east to Mansfield, Missouri, to the Rocky Ridge Farm, the final home of famous author Laura Ingalls Wilder. There we toured the museum and her two homes. The museum houses many of the personal items of Laura's, including Pa's fiddle. There is also a section of memorabilia of their daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Touring the Rocky Ridge Farm house was really interesting. Laura's husband, Almanzo, built it room by room. He also made some of the furniture. Everything in the house belonged to the Wilder's. Later on in their lives, Rose had a more modern house built for her parents on an adjacent piece of property. She called it Stone House and paid for it with money she had made from the royalties she received for books she had written. Her parents lived in it for seven years, but then moved back to their original farm house. Both houses are now museums. This trip made me interested in reading the Little House Books once again.

Lil and Pat outside the home at the Rocky Ridge Farm

Stone House
After touring the Wilder homes and museum, we had lunch at a local spot and then made our way to the next community where we found an Amish general store on an Amish farm. All of us enjoyed looking around in there and bought a few items.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Sights and Sounds Theater to see Jonah. If you have never been there, or to the identical one in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you should put it on your list of places to visit. In the past we have gone to this theater to see Joseph, and Noah. In the evening we went to the production of The Duttons. They are a husband and wife team who raised 7 natural children and adopted 7 more. They taught all of the kids to play several musical instruments. Talk about a talented family! We really enjoyed this show.

Sunday morning we went to church with Jim and Lil and went home to a delicious home-cooked meal. Lil is a fabulous cook! Oh, my. She fed us so many good things while we were visiting. Later in the afternoon we went to another show—a variety show. That was fun, too. Sunday evening was spent watching a movie and working a bit on a jigsaw puzzle. Monday morning we headed for home.

Traveling is really nice, but there's no place like home! I'm so glad to be back in my own home, with my own bed and pillow, with my cat Nels, and back to my job.

1 comment:

Lil Mitchell said...

Yes, truly a wonderful 3 full days with people we love so much. Donna, are you planning to make a book of your blogs?
Don't know why it says I'm from Strafford, Mo. Instead of Branson or Hollister.