Travel tip # 142…Jumpstart your season

Dear Branson,

I’m sorry I said some snarky things last week. I was going through a rough patch…you see…I had just returned from a few days in…ummm…Branson.

Oh dear…that didn’t come out right…I’m doing it again…

What I meant to say is that when I left Minnesota, spring was making a reluctant appearance. The snow had melted. The birds chirped, and my parka was put into storage.

I was beginning to feel hopeful.

But when I drove into Branson, a mere 548 miles to the south, I found spring in full bloom. It was like I had been transported two weeks into the future, and my hopefulness shifted toward sheer joy.

I took my fleece off. I ate outside and felt the warmth of the sun on my skin.

I’ve done the same in reverse. One fall season I had the good fortune of a string of assignments…from north to south…that followed peak color. The fleeting, melancholy that is autumn was extended by weeks in a way I hope will happen again some year.

But I digress.

Branson, you’ve got some good stuff. A great paved walking trail along Table Rock Lake. Riverboat rides, fancy lodging and whatnot.

I love the way y’all say “y’all” when you’re talking just to me. And you say “all y’all” when I’m with friends.

I love the whole idea of that fire and water fountain show you built down by the Landing…even though it was broked when I was there.

But do you know my favorite part, Branson? Can you guess?

It’s when we went up to the nice retired volunteers (or maybe they were paid…I don’t know) who worked at the info desk and we asked them what all those pretty purple flowering trees were everywhere we went. They really were lovely (the trees…not the people…though they were just fine, too)

I felt like we were on the verge of a genuine connection…they looked eager to please…and we said, “What do y’all call those pretty purple flowering trees?”

And in unison, all four of them said, “Red buds.”

And we said, “No…the purple ones.”

And they said, “Yup…Red buds.”

What the heck, Branson?

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