I had a bad day today. So I decided, what better way to cheer myself up than to write a bit more about our vacation in the Ozarks?
Ahh, let me just close my eyes and go back…to the most beautiful, exciting place in the world…Branson, Missouri.
Yes, you heard me right. Branson, Missouri. Iwanski and I spent three days in this heavenly place.
What? You don’t believe that Branson is the most beautiful, exciting place in the world? Well, you are wise to not believe me.
Still, I love flashy touristy towns, and this one was no exception. It is chock-full of corny country music shows, tacky souvenir shops, and all the miniature golf courses you could ever need.
During our stay in Branson, we decided to check out one of those overpriced country music shows. Out of the probably 50 or so shows in Branson, we finally decided on the “Presleys’ Country Jubilee.” The Presleys are one big talented family, and we had heard good reviews about the show.
And the reviews didn’t lie—the music was excellent (if you like country and gospel music), and the musicians were all extremely talented. They had a fiddle player that was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and the piano and harmonica players were just fantastic.
But my favorite part of the show was the stuff I didn’t expect, that made me either cringe or crack up—or a combination of the two.
Take for instance how the show started. The performers, gaudily dressed in sparkly sequined suits and skirts, burst out on stage and into song, with phony smiles plastered on their faces. It seemed so over-the-top and phony, I almost thought that they were going to start doing jazz hands or something. I looked at Iwanski, who was looking like, “Oh my God—what did we get ourselves into here?”
And then, about ten minutes into the show, they dropped dozens of bubbles from the ceiling. Now normally this wouldn’t be something to laugh about—except for the fact that Iwanski is allergic to bubbles. Yes, that’s right. The minute a bubble touches his skin, he starts breaking out in hives. We figure it’s probably the abundance of glycerin in bubbles that bothers him. But whatever the reason, Iwanski saw the bubbles and got a horrified look on his face. He started bobbing and weaving to avoid them—while I sat there laughing and laughing. (Aren’t I just the nicest wife?)
But finally the bubbles stopped dropping, and Iwanski and I settled down to enjoy the rest of the show. One of our favorite parts of the show was the silly “Hee Haw” type comedy. There were two guys dressed up like hillbillies, and they told some silly jokes that made us groan and laugh. But then they told a joke that made us cringe—or maybe it was the audience’s reaction that made us cringe the most.
Here’s the joke they told:
Hillbilly #1: I got puppies for sale. I got six Republican puppies.
Hillbilly #2: Cecil, just 5 days ago, you told me they were Democratic puppies.
Hillbilly #1: Yeah, but now they got their eyes open.
Ugh, I still can’t hear that joke without cringing—especially because the audience—instead of just groaning or chuckling a bit—started cheering very loudly. I believe a big ole’ “Whoo!” even rose up from the audience. As a liberal, I felt SO out of my element. I looked at John, who rolled his eyes and yelled out a quick, but loud “Boo!” That at least made me laugh.
Then—the coup d’etat of the evening—the one moment that made me cringe and laugh the most—was the end of the show.
The Presleys chose to end the evening with a song that Iwanski and I can’t stand—Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be An American.” I can’t stand the song mainly because of the phrase “where at least I know I’m free.” I guess people in Canada aren’t free, huh? How about people in England?—or in France? Are they enslaved? Iwanski can’t stand the song because—well, as he puts it, “It’s just a bad song.”
But hell, we knew when we bought the tickets that we were going to have to listen to some songs that we didn’t like.
What we didn’t expect was: when the performers sang the line, “And I’ll gladly stand up – next to you,” everyone in the audience stood up!—except for Iwanski and me, of course!
I looked at John, bewildered, and asked, “Are we supposed to stand up?”
“I don’t know,” he replied, an amused/nauseous look on his face.
“I think we’re supposed to stand up,” I said, laughing. So we stood up. And cringed. And laughed. And cringed and laughed some more.
“I guess that’s what people down here do during this song,” remarked Iwanski. “But it’s not the national anthem. It’s a crappy country song from the 80’s.” I just kept on laughing.
On our way out the door, Iwanski said to me, “That made me itch.”
And it wasn’t even because of the bubbles.