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Day 6 – Day After the Storm

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.

Day 5 – Silver Dollar Day

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.

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

 

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

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.

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

Our Last Day in DC

Today we mailed the remainder of our quilts back home and then headed to see The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There is no doubt it is the largest Catholic Church in North America. Everything was done in mosaic tiles, little tiny tiles, so beautiful. You get a crooked neck from looking up at the Murals on top of all the domes. It took quite a while to see it all.

We then went to the Vietnam Wall so Flo could pay her respects to Johnny O Brooks. While we were there, we met an Army Bugler so I had to stop and talk to him. Jeffery was part of Pershing’s Own Army Band stationed at Ft. Myer. He has been in the Army 7 years and he was waiting to play taps for an Honor Flight coming to the Vietnam Wall. We both discussed how it is never easy to play no matter how good you are.

We decided to head to Old Town for our annual Pop’s Ice Cream. We were on our way there and Flo is reading the GPS. We were trying to get to the George Washington Parkway and boom, there it is three lanes over and if you miss it there, you end up going in circles. I said, “Look out”, and did a crossover but we made it. Flo turned white and I proceeded to tell her that was the second time. I did it once with Debbie and crew and Flo says real quiet, “I bet they wet their pants. I almost did.” We did do a big U-turn but now my U-turns are calm Flo said.

We got to Pop’s and had our ice cream then sat by the river in the shade as its 90 degrees today. We are having dinner in and getting ready to come home. Just check out the dinner Jeanine made. We will end with Blueberry Buckle and Peach Cobbler for tonight.

We had a great trip and we are headed home tomorrow.

God’s Blessings
Gail