100 Things To Do In Branson Before You Die

100 Things to Do in Branson Before You Die front cover-page-0

The experts say, “Write what you know.” Well, what could you know more about than your own hometown? That’s the idea that occurred to me when I was on vacation a few months ago. We were enjoying San Antonio and utilizing a little guidebook called “100 Things To Do In San Antonio Before You Die”. It was easy to jump to just the thing you were interested in, without being bogged down in explanation and history – totally different from the weighty volumes of my own town.

light-bulb-146568986322dLight bulb moment!

  Why not write a book about Branson that would fit in with this series and be a quick reference for residents and tourists alike? I contacted the publishers of that San Antonio book, Reedy Press, and it was the fastest sale of a book idea I’ve ever had! Within hours I had the go-ahead, and a deadline of just a few weeks.

I’ve been working like a madwoman to collect ideas for fun spots to eat, play, learn, and explore. It’s more difficult to try to be brief on each stop than to put all my knowledge on the page, but that was the challenge. (Besides, I can put all that extra info HERE for YOU!)

The manuscript has been completed, the cover art is done, and we expect a publication release date for Spring 2018. Stay tuned for ordering info and more tips about the Branson area!

Strays

One night at Wednesday Writers, Chet was telling us about his experiences in Chile and the stray dogs that roam the streets – even ride the buses, knowing their stop and trotting off on their unknown missions. We decided to come back the next time with a poem about strays, whatever that meant to us. Here is mine, framed in my work as the owner of a tea room and floral shop, the favorite haunt of widows and retirees…

They trickle in, one at a time,
eyes grazing the board for today’s special
Before gravitating to the table they share
Every Thursday.

Presbyterian, Methodist, Agnostic,
Retired, Working, on Social Security,
Bemoaning the odd ache and grey hair and
Extra pound.

Lira, Lila, Pat, Barbara,
Ann, Muriel, Violet, Jean,
Joyce.
They laugh and celebrate another year
and never speak of their silent mates
Left Behind.

I bring them dessert and
endless cups of coffee,
Taking my place on the fringe of
Their Pack.

Time makes strays of us all.

Fallout

One death follows another,
But without the fanfare,
The flowers,
The sympathy cards
Of the First.

A long-time friend is uncomfortable
with your grief
and departs in a murmured apology.
They really have become so busy,
But do call if you need anything.

The congregation looks askance,
Wondering what you did to deserve
Such misery;
An army of Job’s comforters
Twisting scripture into a
Cat ‘o Nine Tails.

The fatherless child taunted,
The inflated bill from the workman
The lazy man requests a loan.

Like a lover’s blows,
Only the first punch surprises.
The rest rain down
and are hardly felt.

For those who are meeting grief for the first time, it can come as a shock that life (at least for everyone else) returns to normal so soon. And that the widow radar comes out and creates a target on your back for every shyster in the tri-county area. Or that those around you can be so callous as to suggest that you – or worse, your child – need to develop a thicker skin.

I hope that you, if you find yourself in this unenviable position, are able to turn inward and recognize the traits of PTSD that you are probably experiencing. That you put everyone else outside the fence of your existence and focus only on what has a right to live in your space. You may not be able to stop the assault, but you can let it wash over you until you are stronger, knowing that it is their burden and not yours.