Friday, May 23, 2008

Branson, Chapter 3

Our time at this rally is flying by. Thursday morning we left the park by tour bus, headed for Table Rock Lake and the Showboat Branson Belle.

The Branson Belle is a true paddlewheel showboat, driven through the water by two immense paddlewheels, powered by three giant diesel engines.

Suzy enjoyed this musical apparatus.

The cruise started at noon, with a delicious lunch in the large theater / dining room, followed by a pre-show featuring a band playing awesome Dixieland and then New Orleans jazz. After an intermission for potty breaks and a fresh air break out on deck, we returned to the theater for the big show.

Christo-pher James was the emcee, singer, and would-be magician. He did a fine job engaging the audience, then introduced the Showstoppers, a singing and dancing quartet who treated us to a wide variety of numbers, including a medley of 22 Broadway hit songs in 8 minutes, complete with costume changes!

The finale was the emcee doing some obvious cornball magic tricks involving audience members, to the delight of the rest of us. His big trick was a Houdini-style escape from a straitjacket. He hammed it up in front of us for quite a while, then suddenly appeared behind the audience, with his stage manager on stage in the straitjacket! Attaching the straitjacket here is our tour member Ted Boyette.

Mid-afternoon back at the RV park we had an ice cream social to celebrate the birthdays of three of our group, including my 70th. As I told our daughters, I don’t feel 70, but then again I don’t know what 70 is supposed to feel like. If 70 feels like I do, then it’s fine, and I’m going to hang onto 70 for a year before moving on to the next one!

Thursday evening was the Shoji Tabuchi Show, declared by many to be the best show in town. It certainly was the biggest theater we’d been in all week, and the restrooms are tourist attractions all by themselves.

Both restrooms were complete with fireplaces!

The hand washing areas were special too!

A pool table in the men's room?

And orchids at the ladies' sinks!

Stained glass, beveled glass. What class!

While the show was really good, at first we felt disappointed, hearing a violinist / fiddler singing Ozark country music with a pronounced Japanese accent.

The dancing was certainly colorful!

Shoji in one of at least 12 to 15 on-stage costume changes.

There was a preview of the annual Christmas show for those of us who wouldn't be back during the holidays.

As the show went on, the staging was terrific, the singing and special effects dramatic, all leading up to an exciting patriotic finale. It was a great show, but we still felt something was missing.

One thing all the other Branson shows did WAS missing from this one. Everyone else besides Shoji made a major point of saluting the veterans and the men and women presently serving this country. In most cases, the entertainers asked all the veterans in the audience to stand for applause from the rest of us.

Friday morning, many of the group boarded the tour bus to go shopping at Branson Landing, We took the morning off, slept in, and started writing this blog episode. At 5:00 the whole group got together for some social time and a farewell dinner.
The Friday evening show, Pierce Arrow, was among the best of them. Pierce Arrow is essentially six guys with great voices, accompanied by a four-piece band, two singing ladies, and a slam-bang comic.
The show was fast moving, the comic was tops, and the singing was great. The group sang a mixture of western, country and gospel music, and carried the strongest Christian message of all the shows we have seen. In a rare serious moment, the comic told us, "Live a good life, be considerate of others; you may be the only Bible they'll ever read."

One of the cast members would be the straight man for the comic routines. The comic did just enough adlibbing to keep his partner off guard and, often, in tears of laughter which, of course, made it even funnier for the audience.

After the show was over, the audience was invited to stay for a special event. The show was being taped live, and they brought in an extra singer to do a number for the video, and the comic ran through a routine ordinarily used only during the afternoon show. So for our final night, we had a bonus.

The rally ended with a bang Saturday morning. While we were lingering over a continental breakfast in the clubhouse, we received a warning of a fast-moving storm coming in, bringing 50mph winds. We quickly stopped lingering and returned to our motorhomes to haul in our awnings and close our slideouts. Severe windstorms have been known to tear awnings off a rig and to even twist the frame of a slideout! The bang (thunder) came just after we loaded Suzy’s scooter on the back of the car and tied it down, and the rain fell.

As I write this, the rain is pounding the roof (sounds worse than it actually is, for now), but we’re snug and warm as we sit at home and wait out the storm.

So ends another adventure in …Our Life on Wheels.


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JERRY! It is encouraging to know that 70 feels fine . . . and you look good too! Love the photos of the opulent restrooms.

  2. Jerry,
    Happy Birthday to you..happy birthday to you...

    Connie and Art

  3. It looks like you guys had a great time and went to plenty of the Branson attractions! The Shoji was one of my favorites!


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