If y’all’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately, you’re not alone. Ever since I got my two COVID vaccines, I’ve been traveling all over the place.
My first trip was all the way down to Big Bend. I’ve been walking upon this earth for 60-something years, most of that time here in Texas. I had no idea Texas has all those mountains. Simply breath-taking. We spent several days doing day trips to small towns. There’s not much to any of these towns except they’ve got some really nice folks living there, and there was hardly any traffic. Kinda like Buda and Kyle back in the ‘60s.
One clear night, my wife and I decided to go see the mysterious Marfa Lights. With a cheap bottle of wine, we sat and waited along with a dozen or so other curious folks. For a while, I thought it was a hoax until these lights started popping up a far distance away, in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea what made those lights appear, but I reckon the truth is out there.
Our next trip was back to Port Aransas. Before hurricane Harvey and COVID, we used to return to the island a couple of times a year. Now, with some resorts rebuilt and COVID restrictions lifted, we were able to gather up the family and have a grand ol’ time frolicking in the surf and sand. I’m so thankful for all those folks responsible for developing a vaccine that enabled us to get back to the beach and not worry about anything except jellyfish and sunburn.
Our big family vacation was in Branson, Missouri. It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, but it looked to be a fun place for all of us. Yeah, I know half of y’all are saying, “I thought Branson is just for old folks,” but there were numerous attractions for kids of all ages: Amusement parks, wax museums, arcades, and much more. And those folks up in the Ozarks know how to cook, I’ll tell you what! Scores of restaurants offering good home cooking, and lots of it.
Now, I pride myself on being very observant. I tend to notice things that ordinary folks may not see. Such as the abundance of tourists who are quite, um, lardaceous. I’m not real sure that word is in any dictionary, but I think y’all might understand its meaning. Oh, I don’t mean a little pudgy, but large enough that when they push their chairs away from the dinner table, you hear “beep, beep, beep” throughout the restaurant.
I don’t know if these behemoths visit Branson for any attraction other than delicious fried food and savory desserts. I seriously doubt they go spelunking in the caverns or ride the roller coasters, but I do know if you don’t get to the diners by 5 o’clock, there won’t be any apple pie left. Okay, to be fair, there was this restaurant that had good southern cooking, and the servers toss hot rolls to you, even across the dining room. Then another server comes by with sorghum or apple butter for your rolls. Rumor has it that yours truly might’ve eaten half a dozen rolls along with a roast beef, fried okra and a mess of turnip greens.
Besides all the attractions and tasty vittles, Branson is worth a visit. Even if you don’t like fried chicken or calf fries (they were on several menus, I kid you not), and you aren’t into amusement parks, you’ll absolutely love the cool temperature and low humidity. I spent every morning sipping hot coffee out on the patio, and I didn’t even break a sweat. I’ve gotta recommend the Ozarks for y’all who are tired of this weather here in Texas.
Again, I want to thank all those scientists and medical personnel who provided my family a chance to get back to normal. If any of y’all readers who haven’t gotten vaccinated are missing family vacations or traveling across America, I suppose you can live vicariously through my travel journals. Next up, a trip to North Carolina to see my in-laws, and then to Myrtle Beach this fall for another vacation. All possible because I rolled up my sleeve.