Monday, February 14, 2011

“Nuclear Babies and Civil War Gunfire”

Carthage, Missouri, turned out to be the finest surprise of the vacation of 2001. Incredibly enough, the Civil War Museum downtown opened at 8:30 am. The next best thing about it was that it was free. My husband Himey and I didn’t think our day could get much better than that. But it did.

After a drive through the historic Park and Oak Hill Cemetaries, we ventured into our next pleasant surprise. Precious Moments Place.

You know those figurines of little children who have big heads, big lost eyes and usually are saying something that makes old ladies go, “awe”? My sister Pat hated them and called them ‘nuclear babies’, because only kids who had been exposed to radiation could possibly look like that. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, well, she always thought they were precious.

I have to admit that I was nearly stunned by the beautiful grounds, the fascinating chapel and the story of the creator, Sam Butcher, a deeply religious man. We again only took in the venues which were free, but could easily imagine returning to spend some serious money and take it all in.

Since we were so close to the border by then, we decided to randomly drive into Arkansas just to say we were there. A good decision. Other than the man at the visitor center who wouldn’t leave Himey alone, our short drive through the northern most section of this southern state turned out, again, surprisingly awesome.

We took the driving tour through Pea Ridge National Military Site. It’s where a civil war battle took place. I can’t remember the whole story and am too lazy right now to look it up on the internet, but it was definitely worth the $4.00 admission charge.

The only downer of the entire day was Branson. I just must totally not get it. We drove through downtown coz we thought we should and –yuck – nothing but crazy traffic and ignorant pedestrians.

So, here’s my question for you all for tonight. Why do people flock to Branson, Missouri? The shows, I suppose, but – um, really?

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