No. 1042



While enjoying some favorite activity, have you ever said to yourself, “I wonder what the poor people are doing?” Let me preface what I am going to say by telling you that I have come a long way since growing up in Gould, Arkansas, living in the back of a restaurant and having to walk a path to our outdoor privy.
My earlier question is what I said to myself this past September while on a trip to Branson, Mo., with my new bride, and staying at the Windham at the Meadows Resort. This reminds me of what the old Cowboy said about his friend whose request was honored to be buried sitting in a Cadillac. He said, “Now that’s living.”
While certainly not original, we had so much fun in Branson that I have been calling it “America’s Fun Place.” There is certainly a good reason why this small town of only 10,500 people has more than 8 million visitors each year. While this may be just one man’s opinion, I would like to tell you why I believe so many people flock there each year.
One reason would be the scenery and the natural beauty of the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri, where Branson is located, along with the White River and Table Rock Lake. Combine this with Branson’s shows and attractions, and you have a winner.
In the literature I took from the Internet, there are more than 125 different shows, activities and things to do that makes it impossible to see and do them all in a brief stay. Some of these include well-known names such as The Gatlin Brothers, The Texas Tenors, Charlie Pride, Johnny Mathis, Mickey Gilley, The Oak Ridge Boys and countless others who have theaters or make personal appearances there. We saw the Pierce Arrow Show and later Smoke on the Mountain at the IMAX Theater, and both were very good. When I was there several years ago I saw Shoji Tabuchi, the Japanese fiddle player, and he was outstanding and very patriotic.
A quick note on Shoji Tabuchi, as he is a true rags to riches story. He came to Branson with nothing but the shirt on his back, worked with a number of other performers and soon built his own theatre. He is presently in his third theater, each time getting bigger and better. This is just another example of what happens when talent and hard work come together.
In addition to the shows that millions of people flock there to see, there are many other noteworthy attractions in the area as well, especially for the kids. Some of these include visiting Silver Dollar City, The Butterfly Palace, and Dixie Stampede, riding Go-Karts, playing golf, flying over the Ozarks in a helicopter, or soaring on a zip line (we saw this from a distance while dining near Branson Landing on the White River). One of the activities we really enjoyed was shopping for clothes at one of the many outlet malls, where the selection was good and prices about half what you would normally pay in other stores.
Now, as I said earlier, this may be just one man’s opinion, but I want to tell you why I believe Branson is such a big hit. The whole concept is built on solid Midwestern values that are family friendly. It is so refreshing to be with hundreds of down-to-earth good people who have respect for God, country and each other. What fun to hear great talent, singers, musicians and comedy without any vulgar or off color language, or suggestive sexual content that keeps it a cut above what we see and hear on television every day. Lately I have been seeing some really good and clean movies. These people may be getting the word that “clean” sells.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)