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Wesley Meadows & Traceway Elders Travel to Branson

After last year's adventure to see the Ark in Kentucky, the Wesley Meadows elders were itching to hit the road again. This time they invited friends to go with them... from Traceway Retirement Community in Tupelo. On Monday, September 30, 2019, residents boarded a travel bus and headed to Branson, Missouri, to enjoy a little sightseeing, entertainment, and of course, lots of good food.

The travel bus was filled with laughter, tall tales, snacks, movies and quite a few corny jokes told by Larry Rushing, our Barkley Travel driver who quickly became a part of the family.

Our first stop was at David's Burgers in North Little Rock and to say the food was wonderful, would be an understatement. But the service, well, it far out-shown even the tasty food. Owner David Bubbus delighted the ladies by personally delivering their meals, sitting and chatting with them and generally treating them all like family. As we loaded up, someone offered that we might just have to come back to David's again.

When we arrived in Branson, we took a quick break to check into our hotel, freshen up and then it was off to Pasghetti's for another delicious meal, some great photos with their giant meatball and then on to Presley's Country Jubilee. After seeing the show, it's certainly understandable why the Presley family has the longest running show in Branson. The show was incredibly funny and the music was fantastic. Many of the elders commented that their favorite part was the Patriotic Salute near the end of the show. To top off a very long and enjoyable day, cast member Devonna Wickizer boarded our bus at the end of the night to personally speak to each elder and thank them for coming to the show.

We kicked off Tuesday with a guided tour of the Titanic Museum. As we entered the museum, each elder received a boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member. It helped establish a personal connection to the people on the ship as we toured the galleries, where over 400 personal and private artifacts were on display. Our guide offered interesting facts and stories about the ship and its passengers in each gallery. At the end of our tour, we were able to discover the fate of our passenger or crew member in the Titanic Memorial Room where 2,208 names line wall. The elders enjoyed the tour and asked many questions of our guide.

Then it was time to lighten our moods with some nostalgic shopping at Dick's 5 & Dime Store in downtown Branson. And while things are no longer priced at five and ten cents each, there were amazing treasures of yesteryear found there that sparked enthusiasm and vivid conversations among the travelers. The ladies enjoyed strolling the streets of downtown, which overlooks the White River, and taking in other shops and lunch along the way.

After a mid-day break at the hotel, the refreshed elders made their way to the Sight and Sound Theater to take in Samson the Musical. Witnessing a show that was nothing short of Broadway quality, left our hearts full of praise for God. It was moving to watch what it must have been like for a man of God to struggle with his path in a sinful world during the early days. The show's message resonated deeply with the audience and made it clear that every day we make choices about how to serve and worship God and no matter what our flaws or weaknesses are, God can use us for His glory. We closed out the day with another delicious meal at Landry's Fish and Steak House where table conversation lingered on the beauty of the show and the early start the next morning.

Up with the sun on Wednesday, the elders loaded up and headed to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Once there we took an open air tram ride which wound its way through the canyon floor, past towering bluffs and waterfalls. We made a stop at the 1800's-style Hope Wedding Chapel where we viewed a beautiful waterfall and took our group photo. Once aboard the tram again, we passed magnificent blue-green pools where the trout were so large and plentiful, you could almost reach out and grab them with your hands. We crossed the Arkansas state line and entered the Bison~Elk pasture where we saw American bison, elk, whitetail deer and Texas longhorn. Dogwood Canyon Mill and Grill, which is built right on Indian Creek, provided the perfect setting for a relaxing lunch as we looked out at the cascading waterfall and churning gristmill.

The group headed back into Branson to attend our last show, The Shoji Tabuchi Show. We had a toe tapping good time listening to the stellar vocals, watching the amazing dancers and enjoying Shoji expertly play the violin in the most fashionable sequin jackets you've ever seen. Our last big meal in Branson was at Fall Creek Steak House where the group ate family style on long tables with hot tossed rolls and yummy entrees of fish and steak. The live entertainment kept the dinner lively and the elders enjoyed chatting about the week's events.

Thursday morning found us savoring our last bites of fluffy waffles at the hotel and harboring thought of sleeping in our own beds that night. As we made our way back toward Mississippi, the bus fell into a sleepy silence while we watched The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

As lunch drew neigh, wouldn't you know it, the David's Burgers sign harkened to us once again. While unloading and getting in line, someone let David know that we had indeed returned. By the time our food was arriving from the kitchen, David walked in with a business associate and they both joined the servers in delivering our food. Again, he sat and charmed the ladies with tall tales and funny jokes. Before we left, David and Larry treated our whole group to the most delicious soft-serve ice cream cones. We were thrilled when David agreed to have his picture made with our group to mark the occasion. I believe that the elders would have packed him up and taken him home with us if they could have. Regardless, we all agree we need a David's Burgers in Mississippi.

We closed the trip with excited chatter from all travelers asking, "Where to next?" Some suggested a cruise. Still others wanted to go back to the Ark Encounter. More still suggested holiday trips or other new destinations.What stood out to me the most was their thirst to continue adventuring, the joy they shared over making new friends from a sister campus (I even believe they are visiting each other over the holidays this year), and their "live life to the fullest" attitude. It was refreshing and rewarding. I caution future volunteers that decide to go with these elders on a trip... eat your Wheaties because these elders are non-stop fun!


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Methodist Senior Services

Telephone : 662-844-8977
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Tupelo, Mississippi 38802-1567

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