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Archive for the ‘Road Trip’ Category

Navy Day at Graeagle.

Friday – I always love Fridays during the summer. Flo and I try to take off to Truckee, CA where we have a permanent campsite so when an opportunity came up to present a couple of quilts, I was in.

I know many of our QOH Family has heard me talk about Margaret Peters often. She was my friend and my mentor in quilting. I was close with her husband, Volney Peters, better known as Pete to all. They have both passed and I really miss them. When their daughter contacted me to come and award 2 quilts in their small town I thought Margaret would want me too and reconnecting with Mary and Chris would be great. Chris was a Navy Corpsman and I had given him a quilt years ago.

So, off we went. We stopped at camp first then hit the road for Graeagle down Hwy 89 – such a beautiful ride. I have to say, California has some of the most precious sites. The town of Graeagle is smaller than Valley Springs. One family owns most of the buildings. It is so cute. Mary and Chris live in one of the original homes. It’s a log cabin over 100 years old – way cool. Mary’s craft room was to die for. She is definitely her mother’s daughter.

Their next door neighbor was where we were going to award the quilts. We walked over to meet them and I was in the presence of three Navy guys – think I was outnumbered.

Our first quilt went to a WWII Navy veteran who is 100 years old and still lives alone. His name is Jack Sr. He retired from the Navy as a Captain. The second quilt went to Jack Jr. who also retired from the Navy. When I went up to shake his hand I said, “Jr., it’s your turn,” and Jack Sr. laughed at me calling his son Jr.  Jack Sr. said to make sure he had the address so he could thank you all. He said he wished it was winter so he could use his quilt. It was pretty neat to give to a father and son. Both were so proud of being in the Navy plus being 100 years old and Jack Sr. didn’t even look or act 100. They said after we left he was overwhelmed and he did end up going to the hospital as he got dehydrated – that sure scared us. It was pretty warm and they aren’t used to that up there.

We went back to Mary and Chris’s where we had BBQ steak for dinner – it was delicious. They have two dogs, Jake and Murphy, which kept Rue and us entertained and wanting to be petted. We had a great evening and it was so great to connect with Mary and Chris. I felt like her parents were looking down on us. We will go back soon as they have Eagles there and lots of lakes. I can’t wait.

It was great to out and feel like normal, except for face masks everywhere, but to honor our veterans in person is awesome.

God’s blessing
Gail

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It has been hard to write the Blog this year. Usually, I am not at a loss for words but this year, 2020, has been a tough year for everyone especially for those families that have lost a loved one.

Marilee was one of our Quilts of Honor volunteers but as I often say a member of our Quilt of Honor Family. We last saw Marilee at Christmas. Little did we know she had a brain tumor and as her husband, Gary said, within three months she was gone. We lost Marilee in March but could not have her Memorial because of COVID. We still had to limit how many people could attend. I know that Church would have been packed. Those who did attend showed the family what Marilee meant to them.

I was asked to speak and I wondered if I would say the right things. I told how Marilee always laughed at me naming the quilt patterns on Workshop day. She would either correct me or tell all the volunteers, “Yup, that’s the name.” She always had my back. When I do speak I often say God gives me the words and strength and I usually never remember what I have said. Rue, my Service Dog, was by me side and she sensed everyone’s mood. When I came back to my chair she stood up on me and gave me a hug. I really think it was Marilee’s hug as she never left QOH without giving me a hug. She also loved Rue.

As we were riding home (Flo and Joyce rode with me) Flo tells me I did a good job speaking. I asked, “Did I say Pee in church” and Flo says yes. I said “OMG, I shouldn’t have said that.” Flo said I only spoke from my heart. So here is what I said: Marilee and Dolores are my DAR Sisters and a few years back I received an award at the BIG Banquet – over 1,500 people all dressed in their best. They took us to this huge room then, bang, they shut all the doors and locked them. I turned to Marilee and asked her how are we supposed to go pee. Marilee started laughing and told me that at the break they unlock the doors. Now, why would I think of that? Everyone laughed. I surely won’t forget but I know Marilee was looking down laughing, too.

I was honored and proud to be a part of her celebration. Her quilt talents were great. Her smile and hugs were huge. She will be missed by many.

Many of our Chapters are starting to open up and award quilts. Wisconsin and Nebraska have both been busy.

We won’t have a Workshop again this month as some are still staying in. My hope is July for our next Workshop.

We miss everyone and are thankful for all the quilt tops we have been receiving. I must say, they are some of you-all’s best work.

Please try and stay well until we meet again.

God’s Blessings to the Heaston family. RIP Marilee

Gail

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Before we left Branson we went to the next door neighbor’s and gave him a quilt for his best buddy, a Navy Seabee from Vietnam. So, even when I walk Rue and I make friends and find veterans.

We started from Branson at 8:15am – we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss our plane. We stopped for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel about half way there. Gotta keep the crew happy and empty stomachs aren’t good.

When we got closer to Tulsa we stopped at the Hard Rock Café. It is huge and they are building on. We gave ourselves 30 minutes and Flo was lucky enough to bring home an extra $25. The whole crew came home with extra suit cases so what does that tell you.

When we got to Las Vegas, our connecting flight, we had to check in with the gate so they could see Rue. We had on our QOH sweatshirts and the gatekeeper asked what we were all about. The girls gave him the speech and he said all six of you can go on. We felt, like wow. We even all got to sit together. When we were getting ready to leave, the stewardess said, “We have some special people on board, Quilts of Honor.” Everyone on the plane clapped. We felt so honored. We had one empty seat by us and a lady sat next to Flo and asks what we were about. Flo tells her and she turned out to be an Air Force Veteran. Even more cool is that she helped found the Women Military Aviators. Only could happen to us.

My crew, I hope, had a good time, along with working, we did try to see the sights. The 7 of us were in that big house but it all worked out because we are a family. Rick was always there to make sure all his women were ok. Carl made the coffee every morning. We all got into a routine. Thank you Rick, Val, Debbie, Rita, Flo and Carl for always having my back. Love you guys.

To all of our Quilts of Honor Family, you all deserve a big hand for helping us to continue our mission. It takes an Army!!

Until our next adventure, stay tuned . . . . . . . . . .

God’s Blessings,
Gail

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We had a slow morning as we knew we had to be ready by 2:30 so we could get there in time. The road closure made it a longer ride and the City of Branson was having three big events so traffic was not fun.

We got into the room in plenty of time to get the Quilts set up. We made Val the keeper of the door to keep people from coming in to see what we were doing. Val was great. She screened everyone and barely let the Master of Ceremonies in but we pulled it off – a great surprise.

Once we got the quilts all set up we went to get our clothes out of the car. We ended up stripping in the car with the girls holding up shirts so we could change. We all said that is a first – changing in the parking lot.

We were to be up after the Missing Man Table and before dinner. We met Linda and Phil as soon as we got there. That is how we came to award quilts to this Army unit that served in Vietnam together – 43 Purple Hearts out of 113 quilts.

They called me up right after the Missing Man Table. It always make me nervous when I walk through the crowd to the front. I told them who I was and how we got there and when I said we were going to give everyone a quilt, you should have seen their faces. We had Don call the names and Rita fed the quilts to Carl, Val and Flo. Debbie took the pictures and Rick handed me the quilts. It took us a while to get them to understand that they had gotten out of order so finally I took the Mic from Don and told everyone that they needed to get in line or we would be there all night. It worked pretty good and we finally got to ‘Z’ and finished. I then told them why we gave them quilts – that we didn’t want them to be forgotten. They gave us a standing ovation.

When we were handing out the quilts at times, I would turn around and there would be 20 people taking pictures and the guys wouldn’t want to leave the stage. The wives and sons and daughters were coming up to us and thanking us. Some were saying that they couldn’t believe how beautiful the quilts were and how much work went into them. We then went to sit down and have dinner. Veteran after veteran came over to thank us. I went out to the car to get Rue and on my way there a veteran in a blue suit came up to me, grabbed me, hugged me with tears rolling down his face. He could hardly talk. He said, “You got my heart and there is a place in heaven for you.” I thought there will be a lot up there with me who help do this.

One Son came over and said, “I’ve been coming with my Dad since I was 13. What you have done for him is an amazing gift. I have learned watching my dad how much they have suffered through the years but this will mean so much to him.”

I shook each veteran’s hand and thanked them for their sacrifice to our country from Quilts of Honor. The look in so many of their eyes – I could see the pain but I could also see what the quilt meant to each one. I can’t tell you how many kisses and hugs I got but Debbie said she got tired of trying to get pictures. One veteran was just grinning and when his family came up to take pictures of him with his quilt, he was laughing like a young kid. All around the room they were taking pictures with their families after they got their quilt.

We took our Crew picture at the end of the evening and you will see Rue’s butt. I think she had enough by that time. As we walked out, people kept stopping us and thanking us. When we finally got to the car I opened the back door and Rue jumped in the back then she jumps over the seat which she never does. We knew she was ready to go and call it the end.

What a gift we give to our veterans. When you see these faces of our veterans, you will just keep on keeping on.

We start for home this morning. I’m sure there may be a few more stories. I want to thank the Crew for all they did and never complained.

God’s Blessings
Gail

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Well, here we are in Branson, MO and it decides to have a storm that they will not forget. I did tell you we are on the river. We are 1 mile from Branson Landing – probably doesn’t mean much to you all, sure does to us. Last night we got phone alerts all night long – heavy rain and lightning. When we woke up this morning the river was brown and the docks were eye level. The picture of the dock I had taken yesterday, the dock was on the right side of the river upstream. It is now across from us on the left side. We were watching the news and we see that there was a mud slide from all the rain but we really didn’t pay attention. We decided to go shopping and as we headed down the road, Debbie programs the GPS and says, “I think the road is closed.” Well, she was right. We got routed all the way around Branson. We finally got across and saw that part of the slide was off Lakeshore Drive, the road we were staying on – not good.

We went to two outlet malls and ended up at Branson Landing to eat a late lunch. We tried to eat at Paula Deen’s – ha.  There was an hour wait and you couldn’t even move in the place so we went next door to the Black Oak Grill. We walk in and I said 7 please and the gentleman says, “We don’t allow dogs.” I told him she was a Service Dog and he said he would have to ask. I spoke up and told him he couldn’t ask me to leave as it was against the law. He started walking away then turned around and said he would seat us right here. Now I was trying to stay calm and he says, “They leave hair.” “Not this dog, she is a Poodle.” He said he didn’t know about dogs and I told him that he better learn as he is in a position where you meet the public and he would be seeing more Service Dogs. The crew has decided Rue and I will have to be Ambassadors for Service Dogs so people will learn.

After lunch we decided to walk the Branson Landing. There are over 100 stores but it was so cold. Half way down we ran into the Flag with Beautiful water shooting up towards the flag. Then Rita saw the chair and said we gotta get a picture. So Debbie jumps up and I’m getting ready to take a picture and they are yelling for Flo to get up there so she jumps on and I’m taking pictures when a lady came by and said she would take the picture so up Rue and I go, too. When I jumped up I fell back – you can see by the picture – we were quite a site.

We finally decided to head home early but it ended up being a 45 minute ride instead of a 10 minute ride because of the road closure. When we got home I took Rue out to walk and we ran into a couple with 2 little dogs. Debbie was walking with me and we were talking about the storm and we started telling them what we do and I could see a tear in his eye and I asked if he knew someone then he hands me a bill and I said you don’t have to do that. He said he wanted to give us some help. He did tell me he has a friend he sees every Monday night that is a Vietnam veteran so I told him I had an extra quilt and we would bring it by Sunday morning. I didn’t even get their name but I know where they live. Debbie and I walked back into the house and I teased the crew that they should let me peddle more – they couldn’t believe I got a hundred dollar bill.

We had a nice day. The crew got to go into two quilt shops so I think they were happy. Tomorrow we will start to our event early and hope all goes well. Stay tuned . . . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

PS: Thank God no beans today.

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While everyone was getting ready for the day Flo, Debbie and I were out on the deck watching the River when an Eagle flew out of the tree. I was screaming, “It’s an Eagle.” Debbie and Flo are laughing – “we see that.” I do get a little excited over those Eagles but that was two Eagles in two days so I was sure happy.

We had all decided to go to Silver Dollar City. They were having a Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Nights with over 10,000 pumpkins. We were told by a local that we could get tickets at half price on Thursday so we thought we would go for it. Only problem, we were getting weather alerts – thunder and lightning and pouring was rain expected but the price was right so we all decided we gotta try. We headed out about 10:15, got disabled parking which saved us $16. Silver Dollar City is the first place I have ever see give free parking to disabled. When we entered the gate one of the guys said they would have to screen your Service Dog and pulled us off to the side. Then a lady came over and the first question out of her mouth was, “why do you have the dog?” I said, “Ma’am, you can’t ask me that.” She said that if I wanted to get in I would have to answer. So I told her and she said fine, you can go. We had the only dog in that whole place. We bought Rue a child poncho as I forgot her rain coat. Boy, did she need it. We got stopped so many times by people asking about Rue and if they could pet her and so many comments – she is beautiful. Rue was a real trooper. She is so special. By the time we got to the car, she was soaked.

We walked into the Festival and the atmosphere was amazing, rustic but beautiful. Old time traditions and food – oh Lordy, we will have to go on a diet. Every time we saw something we would say we gotta try that. The first thing we saw was homemade apple turnovers and we all had one of those. Then we went to see our first show. They were all dressed like lumberjacks cirque de sole style. There were 2 girls and about 8 guys. They did acrobatics, threw one girl all over the place, and had one guy hang with one arm and swing all over. The show was great. When we had gotten inside the show they escorted us because of Rue and sat us near the sound booth. I sat down next to a nice gentleman not noticing his hat. Flo saw his hat and thanked him for his service. I looked up and he had on a Marine hat. Well, then we both started talking and I told him I was a veteran, too. He and his wife had brought some friends to the Silver Dollar. We talked quite a bit before the show started then he reached over and handed me the Veteran Ribbon. He told me to wear it and that he had plenty and were season ticket holders. I thanked him and told him so often no one notices that I am a veteran, just the guys. It really touched me – that Marine is one good guy. We ran into them later, which is hard to believe as that place is huge, and he yelled, “hey friend,” and reached for my hand. I did give his wife my Card and told her to send me their name and address. I hope they do so I can surprise him with a quilt.

Rick, Carl, Debbie and Rita, those crazies, went on two wild rides while Flo, Val and I waited. They barely got off the rides when the lightning, thunder and rain came. We all headed for cover as it came down in buckets full. Our goal was to get to see the Pumpkin Nights and it was to start at 5:00pm. We were to get the worst storm at that time. We got to see the opening of the gates to the pumpkin area and walk most of it before the rains came again so we decided to call it a day. We had a great time, rain and all, and got to see some awesome crafts. If you ever get a chance to come this way, Silver Dollar City is well worth it. We had a full day. We will see what we have time for before Saturday, our big day for the quilts. Stay tuned for more adventures. . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings
Gail

PS: There were some beans today for lunch but I think they’re keeping them to a minimum so gas stays down wind.

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Today was a life awakening experience for the whole crew. They got to see one of the largest Fabric Warehouses in Arkansas and the United States.

My family has worked with Marshall’s Dry Goods since 1997 so when we found out we were 3 hours away, the crew said, let’s go. So Debbie, Flo, Rita, Val and Rick headed to Batesville AK. The ride was beautiful. We went on so many backroads of Arkansas and the town names made us laugh. On our way we passed the North Fork Dam – boy is it huge. As we came around the top of the dam I pulled off the road to get a picture when Rita and Flo start yelling from the backseat, “There’s an Eagle in the tree.” I am so excited, I jump out of the care but I can’t see the Eagle. The girls kept yelling and then Debbie is out of the car and we finally see it – so beautiful and big. He flew off but we were all happy campers seeing our favorite bird.

We arrived at Marshall’s Dry Goods about 11:20, walked in and we all said, “OMG, this place is huge.” I asked for Randy who has been our sales rep for many years. I walked into his office and introduced myself and the crew. He couldn’t believe we had come from California. He said I’ll show you how we pick the bolts. The girls were already going in 4 different directions. They were so excited with all that fabric. Randy said he would take us to the new patriotic line so I founded up the gang so that we could all pick out together and in about 2 minutes we had 10 bolts of fabric. As we were carrying on, a gentleman came to us and asked if he could help us and that he was the owner. I told him I had met him many year before and we explained to him what Quilts of Honor was all about and he said he could help us.

First, he brings out 17 new patriotic fabrics and asks which ones do we like and how many do we want. There, the 6 of us were looking at each other and not believing someone was actually caring to make patriotic fabric. We showed Marshall what we wanted and he said, “Send it to me, I know I can help you.” What an experience. He gave us a price on 10 rolls of batting that will save us so much. He also said that any Quilt of Honor Chapter would be able to buy wholesale from him. It was such a great visit. We also got to meet the office staff who were great and were so nice to us.

Marshall told us that if we were going to go somewhere for lunch that he recommended Fred’s, the Best Fried Catfish you will ever have. Well, you all know I ain’t eatin that but for my crew, I’ll take them. We went to Fred’s and Rick got his fried catfish. We all got different items. They brought out hush puppies, pickled tomatoes and pinto beans for each of us. I ordered Fried Green Tomatoes for all to try. I had fried okra and most of us had sweet tea. We were loving our lunch when in walks Marshall and his wife. We talked while we ate then he got up, came back and said your lunch is taken care of. We all were so thankful to him.

When we first walked in everyone in the restaurant stared at us then the lady sat us down and I asked her if she had ever seen a service dog. She said “Not like yours” and tells us about a taco dog that had a blue Jean jacket on and was told it was a service dog. We were treated great and the Key Lime Pie came home with us. When we got up to leave, Rue came out from under the table and stares came from everyone in the restaurant.

We headed to the car for our 3 hour drive back to Branson. We stopped at a beautiful campsite at the base of the Dam. Debbie wanted an Arkansas souvenir so we stopped and asked at the gas station and the lady told Debbie, “Flippin Walmart” would have some. Debbie get in the car and says she thinks the lady was flippin her off. We get back on the road and see the name of the town – Flippin AK. We were all laughing and then we see the sign ‘Flippin Jail.’ That kept us entertained for quite a while.

We were going to get tickets for Silver Dollar City and were on our way to pick them up when we made a wrong turn and ended up outside Branson. I said, “Change of plans – we are going to the Branson Cross” which Flo had wanted to see. We get up to the top of the Cross and it’s cold and windy. We were the only ones there. Rita, Flo, Debbie and Val walked to the base of the cross and it was real windy. When they started walking back Debbie wanted to take a picture of them so they stop to pose and you know we had beans for lunch. Well, through the wind and all someone lets out gas. Debbie said she heard it through the wind and that started a laughing attack that I didn’t think any of us would survive.

Sometimes it is the little things that make life so worth it. Today was one of those days – to be with the QOH Crew and do what we love and make the most of it. I did do a few U-turns but my best was when I got in the middle of the 4 lanes to get that Flag picture against the clouds. Tomorrow we are expecting a bad storm so we are not sure what it will bring. So, stay tuned and I will try and keep the crew away from beans.

God’s blessings
Gail

 

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Today we took off for a destination to Harrison AK and Country Corner Quilt Shop. We seem to always detour and ALWAYS U-TURN. Before we get to our destination, if it isn’t for a bathroom, it is because someone saw ‘something’ we must stop at. Our first stop was the Veterans Memorial at Ozark College. They have War Memorials for Korea, Vietnam, and Gold Star. We then headed toward Harrison with a driving tour through Hollister, a cute don’t blink your eyes, Main Street.

Back on the road and we stopped at Heart Quilt shop where everyone was greeted by baby kittens, even Rue was kissing them. Check out the pictures of Rita and Rue with kittens. We left there and landed at our destination.

Why, you ask, would we go clear to Harrison, AK? Well, in 1995 my folks bought their first Nolting machine from Country Corner. We all walked in and I asked for the owner. She was working on the Longarm. I introduced myself and told her about my folks and she remembered. We talked about how longarming had changed since 1997 and she told me Nolting had just sold so I am sure more changes are to come. It was nice to see where my folks started our beginnings and that I don’t forget that they helped what we have become. Enjoy the pictures Mom and Dad.

We then stopped at another Quilt shop. We all walked in, including Rue, and the lady said a few ‘wrong things’ that we heard and out the door we went. Some people can be so rude. Service Dogs have a purpose and especially mine. She is good in every way. If you don’t get it, keep it to yourself. I’m off my soap box now.

We then decided to go check out the Showboat that cruises the Table Rock Lake with dinner and a show. Rue even got a ticket. It was a good dinner and a great show. At the end they had all the veterans stand. When we sat down they started to sing God Bless America and I stood back up and everyone all around started standing. There were red, white and blue lights everywhere – it was so fitting.

The crew did decide they were going to count today’s U-turns. Well, that lasted for about 5 U-turns and they gave up so I’m still keeping them entertained. You would be surprised how I can U-turn a Suburban anywhere.

We had a good day and more adventures to come. Stay tuned . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

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Day 2 – Great Day!

Some days you just need to decompress and today we did just that. Took us a while to get there as Debbie, the navigator, took us to Carthage No. We drive into town and I ask where the Chapel is. We were in the middle of Carthage and it was cute and old but wrong direction. Debbie asked if she had to go to the back seat. See what happens – I made 4 U-turns before we found the Chapel.

The Precious Moments Garden and Chapel would impress anyone. The paintings are so real. Sam Butcher painted some of them in 4 days at the age of 70. He truly believes to save every memory or leave one for your loved ones. Everything in the place had a meaning. Truly a spiritual place. It brought back many memories for me of my Grandma. I am also thankful to my parents for bringing Precious Moments into my life and telling me to go there. I know that if they could have come with us they would have. It has changed so much since they came in 1997. The thing that got me and Rita was the Penny Pincher. We were trying to make a keepsake penny for Flo and that Pincher was making the wrong one costing us 51 cents each time. Finally Val came over and told us to follow the dots. Well, you know Rita and I cracked up over that. So Flo, in the end, got 4 collection pennies and Rita and I now call them pinching machines – they steal your money. We all will need a box for our Precious Moments to ship home but we sure enjoyed it.

We decided on the way home to go to Lambert’s, the famous roll throwing cafe. We all ate until we were sick. Just look at those salads. On our way home we stopped at Dicks 5&10 store. I’m sitting on the bench for an hour waiting for the gang. They loved it and yes, more stuff and of course you will see Rita with her witch outside of the store.

We drove down many of the back roads of Missouri. And, we all decided that they don’t have enough bathrooms especially when you gotta go. Just ask the group how we drove for miles before we finally found a bathroom. It was just like 7 kids in the car – mom, I gotta go – but don’t laugh too hard, you might have an accident.

We had a good day considering a few on the Crew are dealing with losses of loved ones and some family being sick and they are miles away.

When we were driving back to the house we spotted the Military Memorial in downtown Branson. So, a fitting end for all of us. Rue is wore out and already asleep on her bed.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure . . . . . . . . .

God’s Blessing
Gail

PS: Debbie’s navigation also took us to Lambert, MO – not to the café – so we ended up on more back roads. Debbie said she thought she was getting fired. I told her, no, just more zeros. Who would think there is a town named Lambert and it is miles from Lambert’s Café. We always have adventures.

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Day 1 – Branson

Good morning

We had a safe flight here yesterday. Landed at Tulsa Airport, rented our BIG White Suburban that I have named the white mobile – it holds all 7 of us and Rue and has room for our luggage.

It was raining and windy driving along the Interstate but 75 mph was sure nice. For our California people, they have ‘zipper lanes’, that’s what they call merging lanes – that was entertaining. We stopped to eat at Crackle Barrel and that made everyone happy.

We got to the house after driving on a back road that looked like we were in Deliverance but nice house, right on the water, which we didn’t know. So quiet. You would never know we were in Branson. Two screened in porches and decks all around. Rue is being her good self and explored every inch of the yard.

Today we are off to explore and head to Precious Moments so be ready for more adventures as we take each moment to enjoy what we see.

God’s blessings,
Gail

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