Because life is a series of edits

Spring Break Broke

In Family, Vacation on March 25, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Spring Break is over (thank the Maker), so as promised, I’m back. For those of you who enjoy true stories of life going very, very wrong, here’s a summary of the past week.

The break started off well enough: things getting done, papers getting written (and a few graded), pages getting read. This went on through Wednesday and, while there always seemed more to do, the progress was good.

Then Wednesday night hit…and Spring Break broke. I came down with what felt like a bout of gout in my left foot – the pain was so bad that I couldn’t walk on it at all. I thought about self-amputating, but I wasn’t sure our knives were sharp enough.

On Thursday morning, I went to get it looked at an Urgent Care (which was neither). After two hours and three X-rays to check for possible broken bones, I was declared healthy. This, however, did not help my foot, so the doc (who didn’t want to hear any self-diagnosis talk that it might be gout) semi-grudingly wrote a prescription for gout anyway and sent me on my way.

We were due to leave for Branson after lunch that afternoon, so when Megan picked up the prescription at Walgreen’s, she also got a set of crutches in case the drugs didn’t work. Then, in great pain and with crutches in hand (or under arms), we loaded up the van and set out for two days of Spring Break fun (darn it) at Grand Country Square.


A word on Branson (and this is NOT brought to you by the Branson Tourism Center): I am NOT a fan. Branson is Hee-Haw on steroids; it’s a (very) poor man’s Vegas. The place is one big buffet (pronounced “boo-fay”) line after another, complete with guests attired in thoughtful black T-shirts that read “Save the drama for your mama,” “Rub my tummy for good luck,” and one that Megan (who planned the trip) promised to buy me if we ever came back: “I didn’t say it was your fault, just that I’m blaming you.”


This (yes, all this) goes on for miles on both sides of Branson’s Highway 76 (Main Street), and its two (count ’em, two) perpetually-crowded lanes that run between dozens of aesthetically-blah theaters with lots of parking spaces all around that look like your local semi-megachurch building down the street (minus the giant billboards and “buy tickets here” signs).

Being the tourists that we aren’t, we decided to play it safe and stay within our little compound at Grand Country. Sure, the waterpark (building, really) was fun for the girls, and I got to watch a lot of the NCAA tournament, but the real highlight (at least for the eight-and-under set) was Grand Country’s Amazing Pets performance, featuring Sean Paul, his wife Julianne, and their “child,” Frankie the monkey. Also featured were Stanley the Usher (who was actually funny, in a “I’m just playing the part of an usher” kind of way), The Amazing Valari (who worked with the cats – that is, the housecats), and Larry the Birdman (who, when his birds didn’t complete their tricks – which was most of the time – did the tricks for them).


The show was so bad it was good, and the girls thought it was the greatest thing since breakfast (which it was, as we saw the 10 a.m. performance). Thankfully, the drugs worked wonders on my foot, and we made plans to spend the rest of the day and next morning playing in the water, but then two of the four girls came down with some vomit-inducing virus that began taking them out one at a time. It wasn’t pretty.

When we just couldn’t take it anymore, we packed up the van and headed back to St. Louis, stopping every 45 minutes to deal with someone’s puke. It was true family bonding, and Megan and I just semi-laughed all the way home as it was obvious we had done it again – made our best effort to do something fun as a family, only to have it miss by a mile our expectations.

We ARE the Griswolds, and my name is Clark. If we ever invite you to do anything or go anywhere with us, say no and run away…run very, very far away.

  1. Please don’t stop taking “fun” family vacations — then I wouldn’t have anything to read and laugh at (uh, I mean laugh with, as in laughing with those who laugh… like the other bloggers reading this post).

  2. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I’m just saying…

    Meanwhile, we are highly entertained by vivid descriptions of your family outings gone wrong. This is going to be great material for a book (or sermon) someday.

  3. i know these vacations aren’t nearly as funny when they happen as you and megan make them sound when you write about them, but they always make me laugh…and remember some of our vacations. our kids didn’t get sick as often on vacations tho’:(
    i think you will be surprised when they grow up, how many happy memories you kids will have of these vacations…even the cheesy shows! i know i am often amazed at the vacations our kids enjoyed the most. they weren’t always the ones i would have expected! martha

  4. Wow! That’s probably the best Branson vacation I’ve heard of yet. I think you’re right about the Griswold metaphor…assuming that you mean it as a metaphor.

  5. Sorry ’bout your gout. Have you been eating lots of chicken liver sandwiches? I’m just curious because that’s how Bobby Hill got gout. Hope you all are feeling better soon.

  6. I see you checked out the Wikipedia reference, Suzanne. I confess I was a little more excited to join the ranks of gout-getters John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon than Bobby Hill, but it didn’t come at the hands of any chicken liver sandwiches (livers are for liver-ing, not for eating).

  7. Believe it or not, Craig, Suzanne made the Bobby Hill connection from memory, not Wikipedia. As you get to know the Gleasons you’ll find that we are more familiar with the personal lives of our favorite cartoon characters than we are with those of our favorite Reformed pastors.

  8. Suzanne a “King of the Hill” fan? Wow. I have to think about that one.

  9. Seeing as I live 30 minutes north of Branson, here are my 4 favorite things about Branson: Branson Landing (love it), the Tanger outlet mall (if you are into that kind of thing), Tablerock lake (much less crowded than Lake of the Ozarks) and Silver Dollar City (my kids love it too!). The rest of it is as you say Hee Haw on steroids, just not my kind of thing.
    Sorry your kids (and you!) got sick!

  10. Yeah, I’m a big King of the Hill fan. Although my favorite “adult” cartoons are Futurama and The Tick. Good stuff. Gracie’s a big Futurama fan, too. The reruns coincide with her last bottle of the night. Don’t tell the caseworker :)

  11. Now this is my kind of comment forum: King of the Hill and Branson all in one! I am surprised that no one has mentioned the King of the Hill episode where they go to Branson!

    Funny thing: my wife and I went to Branson in 2005 (note: Branson is DEAD Labor Day weekend, so it’s a good time to go there) and she has been to Vegas 3 or 4 times, so she had an interesting take on the town. We drive down the strip and she says, “Wow! This is like Vegas without the sin.”
    That comment has always cracked me up.

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