We had airline tickets that had to be used before March 13, and it had to be a quick trip that would fit into our already busy schedule. What was in-country and on our bucket list? Branson, Missouri!! We set the dates with the airline and got our hotel reservations. We figured the end of February into the first week of March would be nice weather. Rick mentioned our plans to his sister and brother-in-law and found out they planned on going to Branson, too. Why not all go at the same time and make it a family reunion? Since they live due west of Chicago, they were eager to get out of the snow and freezing rain.
As the trip approached, the weather looked dismal. The east coast was getting hammered. Chicago was hitting sub-zeros. Snow and ice storms swept down lower and lower, right into the south. Did it make us change our plans? Nope. We’re Californians, born and raised in the Bay Area and now living in the temperate wine country where snow is a rare and wonderful occurrence that has everyone out scraping up enough for a single snowball to put in the freezer as a memento. We packed our bags and figured the poor weather would blow over like a California rain forecast.
Still in la-la land, we caught our SFO to Dallas Fort Worth flight where we transferred to a smaller aircraft destined for Springfield-Branson. It was sunny, but getting colder. By the time we checked into our hotel, I needed the coat I’d brought along just in case. We met up with Rick’s sister and brother-in-law and went for a stroll on the landing and found a nice rib place for dinner.
That night it snowed. Snow is sneaky. It doesn’t announce itself on the roof like a good rain storm. It’s very quiet. It’s just these little sugar sprinkles of white floating down or blowing sideways. Look away for a while and then look back and there’s a drift. Blink and there’s a mound. Pretty soon the streets are covered with the stuff and snow plows are working! It kept snowing through the week. We had freezing rain and black ice. Good thing I brought my clogs. I don’t own boots, but those ugly Uggs looked pretty tempting when my toes started feeling like popsicles.
I packed socks, pretty little ankle socks for my tennis shoes, just in case I wanted to work out. I packed a couple of cuddle-duds tank tops to go under my lightweight sweaters. God is merciful to fools. There was a Bass Pro Shop right down the street where I bought long johns and socks thick enough to make an Alaska lumberjack happy. There was a Pendleton shop. Rick bought long sleeved tee shirts (they don’t sell them in California) and wool shirts to wear over them under his heavy leather jacket. I layered on clothing until I felt like the kid in Christmas Story and I was still cold!
All in all, we had a great time. We had reserved tickets for six shows. I only missed one the night before we headed home. I didn’t buy any souvenirs this trip. Not even mugs. Just a couple of postcards of the Farmhouse Café where we had breakfast every morning.
Nevertheless, I came home with something that would remind me I’d been in the Midwest.