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Local Editorials

My tax-write-off vacation to Branson

A fellow from Donnellson called. He was turning 65 and needed insurance. Problem was, he was in Branson, Mo., and wouldn’t be back to Iowa before summer. 

“No problem,” I told him. “Mary and I have been champing at the bit to go to Branson. We’ll meet you there.”

“You will?” he asked, incredulously.

“Tell you what,” he continued. “If you can make it here, you can stay at my brother’s house. He’s in Texas.”

Done! A tax-write-off vacation.

Branson is completely rebuilt after the tornado in 2012. The strip has some sights that weren’t there in 2009 — when Mary and I were there last — like  a full size skyscraper with King Kong clinging to it.

I kid you not.

And shows galore. Mary and I selected “The World Famous Platters,” since we’re old fogies, and still drool over music of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

I should have known something was up when the ticket taker “upgraded” our tickets to row two, aisle seats, at no extra charge. Mary figured it out right away, but didn’t say anything. I was more gullible.

When the Platters sang “Twilight Time,” I nearly lost it.

“Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time. Out of the mist your voice is calling, ‘tis twilight time. When purple colored curtains mark the end of day, I’ll hear you, my dear, at twilight time.”

The Platters invited the audience to get up and dance. Mary and I did. Oh, prom night all over again! They don’t write lyrics like this anymore.

One member of the Platters’ group is a Native American from Oklahoma. In my opinion, his voice was an outstanding addition to the quartet.

Then the shenanigans began. Because we were seated in the “pick-on” seats, I was invited up on stage to help swoon. Mary elbowed me in the ribs until I consented.

While I was up there making a fool of myself, one of the crooners was putting the moves on Mary. I should have known. The audience loved it. All in fun!

I couldn’t remember why the Platters were called “The Platters.” I think of a platter as something you put a pot roast on (or what I use as a plate). I Googled it.  A “platter” is slang for a ‘50s album disk. Ah, ha!

Then there was the helicopter ride, and the Wax Museum, and Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not Museum, and RFD TV. It wore me out just contemplating all there was to do and see.

Then, of course, there was all the great southern food. Don’t pass up Lambert’s in Ozark City, where they throw rolls (called “throwed rolls”) at you from across the room. At one country diner, we asked for diet pop, and were stared down.

Then it was back home again, jiggity-jog, antiquing along the way. Buddy Boy just about wagged his behind off when we walked in the door (we had a dog sitter).

Branson, the “Nashville of the Midwest,” is alive and well, and just six hours away (if you don’t “antique”), and a great break from a hungover winter.

• • •

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at, or visit his website at  Listen to Curt’s recordings of his columns at

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