Country Christmas in Branson

It was a fast four days in December, 2003, packed with Christmas shows and Christmas shopping.  It was a short getaway, a vacation, a new train of thought and activity.  We left Victoria at 5 a.m. with a suitcase and a thermos of coffee and arrived at Aunt Sadie's at 3 p.m., in time to take a nap, a shower, and get ready to hit downtown Branson.

Aunt Sadie no longer lives here, but the new owner didn't think "Aunt Linda's" had quite the right ring to it.  Allan found this bed and breakfast on the internet.

A narrow dirt path, just to the right of Aunt Sadie's sign, led us into a deep ravine and then up a steep incline in the Ozark hills.  Our four-wheel drive pickup came in handy.

At the top of the second hill we found Deeohhgee perched at the entrance to Dick and Linda's home.  How did the dog get its name?  Say it very slowly and you'll figure it out, too.  Notice the real holly and berries that are frosted with snow. 

That first night Allan had tickets (all tickets had been purchased online) to see the Hughes Brothers.  They harmonized like you can't believe in country and Christmas songs.  They were also funny.

Each of the five Hughes Brothers had wives who also sang and danced.  Pretty to hear and watch.

One of the Hughes Brothers and his wife had a two-and-a-half week old baby that played Baby Jesus in a special manger scene.

The young mom must have loved singing to her own baby.  Allan and I were surprised that the show had such a public display of Christianity.  We loved it.  We felt to home in Branson.

The next night Allan had tickets to "Christmas at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show."  There was a huge rodeo arena inside the lighting building where 32 horses pranced and danced with their fancy-dressed riders.  There were over 1,500 people in the audience and we were all served dinner and dessert at our tables in less than an hour.  It was really fun because they didn't give anybody silverware!  We each received a whole baked cornish hen, a slice of delicious pork loin, asparagus spears, buttery corn on the cob, hot homemade biscuit and creamy vegetable soup, basted one-half potato, and large apple turnover.  The music was also fantastic.

If cameras had been allowed at the Dixie Stampede show, I would have taken pictures of the live manger scene, the three kings on three live camels, the shepherds and goats and live angels flying around on wires above the arena.  Again, it warmed our hearts to know and see firsthand that the show people in Branson are very aware of the reason for the season and they don't mind telling us about it.  Thank you, country folk!  (I scanned this picture from their program.)

For the third night in Branson, Allan had tickets to Shoji Tabuchi's show.  Wow!  The outside of his building was spectacular, and so was the inside.  We were full of ooohhs and aaaahhs .

This is a view from inside the ladies' bathroom.  Can you believe it?!

This is also inside the ladies' bathroom.  As you can see, it was extremely colorful and there were two fully decorated Christmas trees and life-size angels.

This is Shoji Tabuchi.  I call him a Japanese cowboy because he played so much country music with his fiddle, but he also played polkas and swing and Christmas carols.  We were in the fourth row.

Shoji had other excellent musicians accompany his music, and his daughter Christina was also part of the show.  Christina is a college-age kid at Nashville but came home to Branson for her dad's final show of the season.  Shoji's wife was not on stage this evening.  Their son is a "corporate" guy.

After the show, everybody was taking pictures in front a huge Christmas tree in the lobby, a tree decorated with many different kinds of Santas.  We joined the crowd, as you can see.

After Shoji's 3 o'clock show we went to Landry's for dinner and ordered appetizers and wine.  We had oysters on the half shell, bacon wrapped shrimp, fried crawfish, and tomato brouchetta.  If we visit Branson again, we will visit Landry's again.

After dinner we drove out to view the Trail of Lights along Shepherd of the Hills Parkway.  All along the trail, there are lights and sounds and Christmas carols produced electronically.

Strings of lights decorated the snow-covered branches and outlined the trail.  Many cars were in front of us and many were behind us.  Our windows were open a crack so we could hear the Christmas music and feel the fresh air.  Nobody was in a hurry.

Many of the buildings along the trail were outlined with bright lights.

Figurines, lights, and special shelters with piped music filled the nighttime air.

My favorite feature was a little church building with Santa Claus playing Silent Night at the organ.

Sometimes only the natural amenities along the trail were lighted and highlighted.

Christian themes continued to be evident wherever we turned in Branson.  This display is several yards long.  Nobody demanded multicultural diversity or political correctness. 

An elaborate lighting system put dozens of attractions before our very eyes.

Perspective is hard to determine from a photograph, but this display is at least 30 to 40 feet high.

Thank you, Branson, and Allan, for a beautiful time in the country for Christmas.

The End

Love, Sue


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