10 Years Ago: Ozark Entertainments – Visiting Mom (2007)

Dateline: The Ozarks

Note: This post was originally published during a trip to Mom’s cabin in southwest Missouri during the 2007 Thanksgiving vacation.

I took the photo atop this post early this morning from the back deck of my mother’s home, perched on a bluff overlooking Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri.

Mom’s home is a 45 minute drive from the nearest significant retail district. (There are, however, two huge tire wholesalers within three miles of us; had anyone on our Christmas gift list expressed an unfulfilled longing for a set of tires with an impressive warranty, we would have been golden.) With that geographical inhibition and the tenuous, extraordinarily slow dial-up internet connection abetting my characterologic reluctance to purchase goods or services within 30 yards of anyone else exhibiting similar behavior, we were well protected from the temptation to indulge in Black Friday’s traditional shopping ruckus.

Instead we spent today lolling about, reading, and, in place of tuning in to any of the three TV channels with signals capable of penetrating the airspace surrounding my mother’s abode,1 watching the DVD versions of the first seasons of MASH and Scrubs, which were the video selections da boyz shrewdly chose to bring along.

We also, however, donned our parkas to walk in the blustery cold to a boat launching area on the lake, pausing along the way to admire the cabin’s green metal roof installed this past year, which not only affords a less permeable barrier between the weather and the home’s interior than did its predecessor but also felicitously denies a perch to the local turkey vultures who had grown fond of using the ridge of the preceding roof as a roost. While turkey vultures appear less aggressively loathsome than some of their close avian brethren and are, as naturalists seem obligated to note, “one of God’s creatures,” a flock of vultures perching on the roof of the home of ones mother is not a vision that evokes comfort and serenity.

We also passed by and beheld the splendor of what is easily the local home most densely decorated with Christmas themed wire-frame, wooden, and blow-up figures, signposts for the North Pole, Candy Cane Lane, and other holiday destinations, huge Christmas cards, lights of all sorts and colors, wooden soldiers guarding the driveway, and, of course, signs supporting the Kansas City Chiefs. There is also a Duck Crossing warning sign that is, naturally, a permanent rather than seasonal installation.

Other Noteworthy Pastimes

My mother explained to da boyz that her living room TV was inoperative since being struck by lightning and we discussed whether there was any sense in trying to repair it rather than purchasing a replacement, Mesomorph2 wandered behind the fried and frizzled television, pushed the reset button and then hit the power button to simultaneously bring to an end the electromechanical problem and our now moot conversation about it.

Prodigal3 used a portion of today’s free time to set up the miniature DVD player that was one of our Christmas gifts to Mom last year. Happily, it had remained safe and sound in its unopened box since she removed it from its gift wrap 11 months ago. More significantly, he coerced his grandmother into learning how to use the thing, providing not only a tutorial but also a follow-up examination. We’re leaving Surf’s Up, a spectacularly well done animated flick  featuring penguins, the decade’s official #1 cartoon species.

A drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a town once known and visited for the medicinal powers of its waters, which has since become a magnet for ex-hippies, antique-buyers and –purveyors, motorcyclists, coffee shop sorts, admirers of Victorian and pseudo-Victorian homes, genuinely rustic locals, tourists of every ilk, and folks who seem to devote most of their energies to developing way too cute names for their shoppes4 brought the day’s activity agenda to an end.

After tonight’s traditional reprise of our Thanksgiving dinner in leftover mode, all that remains of this visit is packing, garnering a night’s rest, and making our way home.

While I always expect catastrophe to be lurking around every proverbial corner, this Thanksgiving trip to the matriarch of our tiny clan has been has gone so well that it has generated the suspicion that some vital flaw has been overlooked or, worse, that we’ve been doing something wrong all those other times.

It’s a nice kind of problem.


  1. One of those channels appears to be the broadcast pathway of the all snow all the time station while the other two preferentially display electronically generated pointillist approximations of the programs we view at home []
  2. My 18 year old son []
  3. My 21 year old son []
  4. For example, an establishment of the White Hen/Quick Trip/7-Eleven genre located next to the “Something Or Other Inn” is called the “Inn-Convenience Store.” []

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