Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Where'd ya go?

Can't believe it's been so long since I blogged...but with Sara visiting and spring break, I have been a bit off my schedule.

I was really hoping Sara would get a chance to experience the wonderful weather of Arkansas, but it has more closely resembled PA weather for the last four days with drizzly rain and cold temps. We were wanting to do something special, but a zoo trip or Eureka Springs didn't seem like much fun in rain and cold.

We settled on a day-trip to Mansfield, Missouri, home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum. It was from this farmhouse that Laura wrote her books at the age of 65. Having read these books at least six times as a kid and once as a parent, it was a thrill for me. Mattie and Vin were gratifyingly excited about everything and Sara was happy to add another state to her list of places visited. And Robb of course, knows how to make his woman happy, so cheerfully made the 3 hour trip.

Laura's daughter Rose Wilder Lane was an established and well-known author in her day, and was an interesting character to get acquainted with through the trip. Some of the material I read even hinted that Laura's story was the backbone of the books, but Rose really fleshed them out with her skills as an editor. She was not particularly interested in writing children's stories, which is why she took no credit for her work on the books. Rose wrote several novels herself, though, one of which was "Let the Hurricane Roar" which I read at the library yesterday. It is clearly based on her parents and grandparents, and the main characters are named Charles and Caroline. Rose's book, though, gives an idea of the adult fears and struggles that Laura's books only make adults wonder over. I was deeply impressed by the fact that we are all struggling along, striking out at new and sometimes frightening endeavors in the hope that we will have something better. For Charles and Caroline, they started with some quilts and pillows, pots and pans, a team of horses and a wagon. I had a lot more strapped down to my "wagon" but the human hope of something better is very much the same.

After seeing all there was to see at Rocky Ridge Farm, it was only 2:30 and we were still ready for more adventures. So we headed down the highway to Branson, MO, which is a weird little mix of Nashville and Atlantic City...minus the ocean. I don't know if they actually have any casinos, but the drag is lined with music halls and flashing lights. We ended up at a Chinese restaurant for dinner after doing a bit of shopping at the outlet malls. While driving out, we were talking to Robb's parents on the phone and they asked about the plane crash. Apparently, we drove right by it and didn't even notice.

From Branson, we figured, we might as well take in the whole NWA experience and drove in the dark and pouring rain, through Eureka Springs, where we stopped at what we affectionatly call, BIG JESUS. Here, Sara and I ran through the rain so she could get a picture. As the lightening flashed around us, it occurred to us that this really is the tallest thing around for miles and maybe we should make it snappy...pun intended.

After another 40 minutes of driving through the curvy mountain roads, we were home. It was 9:30 p.m. We covered a lot of ground in one short day, especially considering we even slept in that morning!


A said...

After all, don't we all have a BIG JESUS?!?!?!?!!!

ness said...

Could you imagine be killed by lightning by Big Jesus and entering heaven with our Big Jesus...I'm glad we didn't get killed but that would have been some experience.

sara_williams192006 said...

that was actually me Sara sorry about

Elizabeth said...

That is SUCH a cute house!

Christine said...

Laura has been on my mind, this past week~ must've been picking up your fun-trip vibes! :)
I liked how they built their house so thoughtfully, built it to last forever, and how she started writing when she was at the retiring age (like Grandma Moses painting when she was in her 80s).
And thank you for telling about Branson, I've never seen it and wondered what it was like!

kingsjoy said...

I actually read ALL the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (they keep going beyond the usual boxed set). I really wanted to live in a house built into a hillside (remember that one?).

We really need to get over to Mansfield--never been.

Have you done Silver Dollar City yet? Maybe our families can go together this summer. Lots of fun, even for the little ones.

Courtney said...

Ness, it's Pittsburgh. Got the letter last night!!!!!!!!!!! GO STEELERS!!! :)

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