Actually, June is dripping – at least it is tonight as I write this on the 17th. I haven’t had to water my lawn at all and getting up at dawn to water your lawn is very much the Southern Thing, I am told.
When we last left off, Veeka and I were canoeing down the Buffalo River. From there, we repaired to Branson, Mo., of which I had heard lots about. Sufficient to say I can understand why they say it’s a one-visit kind of place. It’s fun to see the shows, and we saw Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede one night and a sight-and-sound presentation on the biblical story of Joseph. It was a toss-up between that and the Chinese acrobats and I’m glad we picked Joseph, as it was quite a production with live animals and lots of scenery that suggested the Pyramids. We spent our second day at Silver Dollar City, a nice enough amusement park where Veeka enjoyed her first roller coaster while I sat, white-knuckled. There’s something abut growing older that causes you to lose your sense of balance and zest for doing anything fast. I hate anything that goes up and down fast – used to be fine with that sort of thing but not now. I’m glad we dropped by Branson and I’m very grateful to Ann Rodgers, a friend who gave us seven nights in two of her time shares as I cannot imagine the expense otherwise. And Veeka loved the pools in both places. But I can’t see us going back, really.
Our next two days were spent driving across Missouri, Indiana and Illinois – ahead of some tornadoes as it turns out – to get to a conference of advisers for school newspapers at Christian colleges. That was quite refreshing but it was up in Michigan; hence more than 600 miles to get there. From there, we drove south to just south of Dayton where we visited the VanZandts, long-time friends although I’d never met their kids nor Heidi, the female half of the couple. Dave and I go back to 1975, where we met while at an art museum in Paris. I had just arrived in Europe to study for five months; he was about to leave after having been there for awhile. Heidi knows everything about homeschooling and great books for kids, so it was wonderful to get some tips from her about books to give Veeka.
From there, we pushed south past Louisville and stopped at Cave City for the night so we could see the Mammoth Caves. My parents never were out that way when I was growing up so this was new for me. We explored the New Entrance cave which comes with a lot of steps. Veeka was a real trooper and she eventually enjoyed the trip although I didn’t find the caves as pretty as the Blanchard Springs caves we’d visited the week before. The best part of the day was the hot tub at the local Best Western. The weather went sour on us the next day, so instead of dropping into the Land Between the Lakes area, we headed south for Nashville. Then the sun came out, so we dropped by Loretta Lynn’s dude ranch on the way home. Having to explain ‘Loretta Lynn’ and ‘country music’ to Veeka took some doing but I’ll wager it’s music she likes. I’m trying to build a love of classical music in her and just yesterday she *asked* to listen to violin music, so I’m hoping for good things before she turns into a teenager. We got home June 5 and a few days later I turned around and bought a 15-inch MacBook. Which is part of the reason why I’ve not been doing these blog entries as I am still getting used to working this thing and figuring out all sorts of new stuff. That requires lots of 88-mile trips to the nearest Apple store in Memphis, unfortunately and there are already a few bugs to work out. My old one was definitely showing its age, so I’ve already passed it onto a friend who seems to be making very good use of it. Buying an Apple products require such a steep learning curve that it’s best done during the summer when there’s more free time. Which is why I bought the first Mac in August six years ago.