Mum and I travel together each year. Last year and the year before, we went to New York City. This year, we planned two short trips, one to Charleston, South Carolina in April and another to Branson, Missouri in September. Unfortunately, the trip to South Carolina was canceled in order to move my Gma closer to us. I have quite literally just returned from MO. Well, not so much on the “literally” as I returned on the 15th, a day early, but I will get to that.
MO has some of the nicest people I have ever met. Seriously, Missourians (is that correct?) are so kind, they are at that level of nice you see in movie portrayals. I’ve heard from many that Maine people are some of the rudest they have ever encountered, but being a lifelong Mainer, I disagree. However, I do know that Mainers have a way about them, and if you’re not “from here,” it can easily be interpreted as abrasive.
The travel to MO was very difficult on Mum, more so than we had anticipated. I’d be lying if I claimed to not be exhausted from the travel day myself, and I don’t have the physical limitations and chronic pain that Mum does. A very kind gentleman observed that we were disheveled, dazed af, and kind of . . . lost. We flew into the Springfield airport, which was an hour away from our hotel in Branson. The options were to rent a car or find a cab. We quickly settled upon the taxi option because at that point, I was at such a level of tired, the car would have ended up in a ditch or as a ball of flaming wreckage within moments of pulling out of the car’s parking spot. The aforementioned man clearly thought we were a bit nutty to take a cab for an hour instead of renting a car, but he could also see the exasperated desperation of two weary travelers who just want to be on their way, who just want to reach their final destination.
Jimmy, an equally delightful man, willingly and emphatically drove us from Springfield to Branson, and upon parting ways, he provided us with his phone number should we need him to pick us up for our return trip to the airport. (Spoiler: Jimmy did indeed receive that SOS phone call). We checked into the hotel close to midnight, but it felt even later considering the time change (from eastern to central OR an hour behind if you’re not familiar with my originating time zone). I ate a Pop-Tart for dinner and went to bed immediately. A Pop-Tart is not the recommended supper for a dieting woman, but there was no room service, and I did not want to wait upwards of an hour for delivery, assuming anything was open at that time of day . . . er, night.
Due to the lay of the land and essentially zero places to rest (benches, coffee shops, parks, etc.), we stuck close to the hotel Friday and Saturday. Note: I am well aware that all of these things exist and are available (benches, coffee shops, parks, etc.), but when you travel with someone with pain and mobility issues, nearby has an entirely different definition than it does for a healthy person. Please, no one get your undies in a bunch if you think I am insulting Branson, for I am not. I’m merely attempting to convey / show the difficulties someone may face when these things aren’t within one’s immediate vicinity.
Anyways, it was Friday night that I inquired about changing our flight(s) and going home a day early. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with Mum – it was nice to “get away” as we have had some hard times on the homefront as of late. However, I knew that if the travel home was going to be a repeat of getting there, I would need a day to rest in order to function for my return to work. Boy, was I right! I spent almost the entirety of yesterday in bed; I could not even muster the energy to drag myself into the shower.
Overall, I enjoyed my few days of vacation because Mum and I always make the best of our situation, but I do think we are much better suited for NYC (or vice versa) when we go away together. In NY, there is an endless number of “things” to do, a plethora of places she can rest, and where I am familiar with the city, I can venture off if she needs to nap or take a day off from adventuring and doing. Most applicable, the weather out this way is much more tolerable than it was in MO. My body just does not adapt well to high temperatures, especially when it’s one million percent humidity. Even the humidity in Maine, come August, is brutal and unbearable – hence why Beach to Beacon is such a struggle for me (though I did improve my B2B 10K time by 2 minutes this year!).
There’s an ongoing joke between myself and a friend / colleague that my hair is the barometer for the best candy making days. Apparently, successful candy making depends on the humidity. The bigger and frizzier my hair gets, the worse the day is for making candy. I was not the only one in MO with frizzy hair, which made me wonder how / if anyone in Missouri makes fudge, ever.
Thanks to a swap-bot friend who lives in St. Louis, I was (somewhat) prepared for the heat and humidity. Thanks to Google, I was aware that we were likely going to be “stuck” in one place with little to do. Thanks to movies, I expected mid-westerners to be outgoing and (almost over the top) friendly. Another note: I do not mean “over the top” in a negative way in this context; I am sincere as can be about the genuine kindness of strangers.
What I was NOT prepared for or expecting . . .
There was far more blue eye shadow in MO than I could fathom.