Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I am still having trouble with all of this...but learning! These pictures go with the previous blog. Eddie's brother Flay, who lives in Branson and served in the military during WW11 came to the Day Room. He is pictured next to Eddie with his wife Ruby.

Cameras were flashing all over the room when Joe arrived with his banjo! What a treat for everyone. AND you could tell that Joe was enjoying himself!

Joe with Sandy Milner...she and her husband Chip volunteer to run the Day Room every year.

The mimes are wonderful to watch! These youngsters are very talented and dedicated!
The men outside the Day Room. What a treat for the Mall shoppers!
The displays that I brought. The large one full of our family members including one of mine that rode with Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders! Under that is the frame including 2 pictures of Bob Chance from our church. Next to the large picture is the one of Joe's parents and a picture of his book cover.
We truly spent many enjoyable hours at the Day Room! If you ever get to Branson for Veterans Week be sure to stop by and visit!
Connie Beesley

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Veterans Day Room

On the second day of Veterans Week the Day Room opened as well as Vendor Village and the lunch tent. We were up early and started our day at the Day Room. What a wonderful idea this was and continues to be for Veterans Week.

Chip and Sandy open up the room and manage it all day...every day during Veterans week.

This is a place where veterans can come for coffee and snacks; a place where they can sit and visit with other veterans; AND a place where they can bring their guitars and other instruments and play and sing. This year we had determined to spend most of our time here as we both enjoy visiting with all the veterans who stop in here.

As we arrived we notice that Erwin...one of the authors who had been given an award at the opening ceremonies was just leaving. BUT when Eddie got his guitar out of the car, Erwin decided to stay a while longer. He had brought his fiddle. He and Eddie enjoyed playing for a while before he had to leave.

Veterans are asked to bring photos of themselves to display...and the display in the Day Room is growing every year. This year I made up some displays for the room. I had pictures to frame of one of our church members who served in WW11 and did a display of family members of the Gaudette's (my side) and the Beesley's who have been in military service. I also got permission from Joe Bonsall, one of the Oak Ridge Boys and author of G, I. Joe and Lilie to frame and display a picture of his parents from his book (He liked what I did and asked if he could have it.)

We left for a bit to visit Vendor Village. It is always fun to visit the booths and see what they have to show...books and many other interesting items! This also is a place for visiting and "hanging out". AND most importantly for registering for the week...to get the ALL IMPORTANT badge that will get the veteran into the lunch tent for a FREE LUNCH! YES there really are FREE lunches for veterans every day for Veterans week. The local Golden Corral supplies the food and it is very much appreciated by all! Vets are FREE and spouses pay only 4.00...what a deal!

This year the tent was set up on uneven ground...but instead of complaints we were all teasing and having fun. The ones setting on the upper side would promise to hold onto their plates and drinks so they would not slide into the one sitting across the table from them! And they were also gracious enough to let us know they would warn those behind us should we fall backwards! Except for the fact that we were not rolling about on ocean waves the tables and chairs were slanted at precarious angles! A flatter place would have been nice but would not have inspired our conversations!

After lunch we went back to the Day Room for more visiting. Eddie once again took his guitar inside and soon more veterans arrived to "pick n grin"...

This year many more of the ladies brought cookies and snacks...there was enough that everyone could find goodies that they liked. Even those who were not Marines enjoyed the sugar cookies that I brought...made in the shape of the Marine Corps Emblem.

All week long we told folks that someone "special" was going to be there with his banjo on the 10th! When the big day arrived the Day room was full and the anticipation was high! Then the special guest arrived...Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys! He came with his banjo and soon there was a crowd listening and enjoying the fun and music! Joe had someone video them and that can be seen on his web page. When it was time for another group...the Mimes...to perform the musicians were not quit ready to stop playing...so they moved outside the room and continued making music! What a treat for the mall shoppers!

I had intended to add pictures to this...but since I am still learning how to do all of this I think it will be best to post this then add another blog with the pictures.

Connie Beesley

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Update and Openng Ceremonies in Branson

Guess by now it is evident that plans did not go as PLANNED. I had meant to get a lot written about Branson by now but have been VERY busy here at home.

We always have a lot going on at church...and that has been one thing taking up time...THEN there is always the 4 grand children that keep us busy in one way or another....helping with homework...and also going to school with Jace the youngest because he did his book report on Eddie's book Lucky Enough. On top of all this are all the fund raising activities as we help our 13yr old grandson Keith pay for his trip to New York City this May with his vocal music group. They will be singing at Carnegie Hall and he is one happy boy to be planning this adventure. And must not forget the two teenagers...Dillon will be Graduating and we've had to keep up with all the "Senior deadlines". Brittnee is still catching up on school work from her last surgery. Those of you who know us well know that she was born with clef pallet and has had many surgeries through the years. Last week she had the appointment she had been waiting for as she says "forever"....the cosmetic surgery for her nose and upper lip. After the appointment we thought the surgery would take place in January...much sooner than we had thought. AND then yesterday when Eddie called to give them the deposit and let them know it was a "go"...they told him they could do it December 1st! WAY earlier than we anticipated. BUT for Brittnee there is no doubt and she is excited! So...now we do what is necessary to prepare for this surgery...and then of course there is Christmas to prepare for so as far as rest...well, maybe sometime next year!!!!


We got into Branson early enough to be able to drop off the things we had brought for the Veterans Day Room. It was good to see Chip and Sandy again.

We left the pictures and the cookies then met up with my brother Michael and spent this night resting...as we knew the rest of the week would be hectic.

The opening ceremonies were held at the Mansion Theater. We arrived early in order to be sure and get a good parking spot...but actually it was to have time to visit and renew friendships. There are many veterans who come every year for this event.

Since Eddie would be giving out an award we were taken back stage. What fun...to be back there with some celebrities we knew and meeting others for the first time. I saw some pretty red very high heels and just "knew" they had to belong to Dalena Ditto...and sure enough, I was right. Before long she was there wearing a beautiful red dress that matched those shoes! She asked me to take a picture for her (and I'd actually should remember to send that to her soon)...she wanted a picture of her and Cathy Rigsby together. Cathy was there dressed in her Peter Pan outfit. (Later in the week we would see the play...what a performer she is! AND still the best Peter Pan!)

This picture could be titled "The Tall and the Small" Both ladies are very talented and just plain "super" in our book! It was fun to watch Cathy back stage...I think she could even be a dancer with Island Fire!
I can tell you it has been a wonderful experience to be back stage. We are very blessed to have been able to do this and get to know so many performers in Branson.
It wasn't long before the Oak Ridge Boys arrived! Last year Eddie had gotten to be back stage with them at their theater and I sort of "complained" a bit about being left out front...BUT NOT this year! Since last year when Eddie and Joe Bonsall were both given a Stars and Flags book award we have gotten to know Joe and looked forward to seeing him...as he and Eddie would be giving out those awards to this years recipients. And of course...all the veterans always look forward to seeing the Oaks sing in the opening ceremonies. I had all the medals separated and ready for Joe to take on stage and hand out BUT he insisted that I go out with them and hand them to him as needed. I am generally out there in the audience watching Eddie on stage so this was new to me. And right there in the front row were some of our very dear friends we've gotten to know over the years Sherry and Roger Koehler! After our part on stage we went out into the theater to relax and watch the rest of the show Before we had even gotten back to our condo Joe had sent us pictures of us on stage!

Be patient and keep checking back...there will be more about Joe and the other events of the fun filled week we spent in Branson!

Connie Beesley

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Make New Friends

I was recently reminded of a song we sang when I was an assistant Brownie leader

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver and
The other is gold.

On the 3rd of November Eddie and I made two new friends in Joplin, Missouri. We had been asked to speak to a rotary club meeting there on the 4th and decided to get there the evening before. We got in early enough that the lady who had asked us to speak was able to meet us for dinner that evening

Sharon and her husband Gary met us in the hotel lobby and took us to one of their favorite restaurants...Chatters. (when he first told us the name...I thought he had said Cheddars...we had never heard of or eaten at Chatters.

Over dinner we made new friends...how fortunate we are to be able to travel and speak AND make new friends as we do what we like...

The next day we met them again at the Rotary club meeting. Eddie was introduced and spoke for the alloted time....after which we visited with those who did not have to rush right back to work....and also a while longer with Sharon and Gary.

We are blessed to now have new friends to keep in touch with...hopefully they will also come visit us sometime.

After our visit in Joplin we headed for Branson....Veterans Week....the 5th through the 11th. It was to be a busy but wonderful week for us.....

Being on stage at the opening ceremonies.......
The Oak Ridge Boys.....
Sunday service at the Hamner Barber theater......
The veterans Day Room....pickin' n' grinnin'......
Viet Nam veterans mini reunion.....
Tony Orlando....
Marine Corps Ball.....
Oliver North....
More new friends....
Closing Ceremonies....

So much more to blog about in the coming days!!!

Connie Beesley

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Before we left for the MWSA Conference in Orlando I sent an email to someone who lives near there in the hopes of finally meeting her. We had only talked to her on the phone and via email....after she located us because she wanted to talk to Eddie about her brother Danny.

Saturday morning we attended MWSA workshops...but soon it was nearly noon and...I was feeling a little nervous. Eddie probably was too, but wouldn't say so. At least by now he has come to realize that all that happened on that August day in 1965 was not his fault. He had been point man...but he had done everything "by the book". That day 3 men loss both legs and two good men died.

In August of 1965 Felicia was just 10 years old when she was told that her brother Danny would not be coming home alive. I remember that my youngest sister Lois was only 9 when our father died...how lost she appeared as she tried to grasp that her daddy was gone forever. It is hard for any of us to lose a loved one...but when we are older we understand those things do happen...it isn't so for the young, they don't understand. When Felicia first contacted us she wanted to know all that Eddie could tell her about the time he spent with him. And of course the events of that day.

And now we were about to meet her and her husband. She put us right at ease with a big hug and beautiful smile. She was glad to finally meet us as we were her! After a few brief words we went into the hotel restaurant, had a good lunch and visited for a long while.

It is good when families can visit with those their loved ones served with and it is good for the one who served with their loved one. Not only is there healing but also it is an assurance that the one who has paid that ultimate price will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

Eddie gets a BIG HUG! What a day! We are so happy to have finally met Danny's family.
Connie Beesley

Eddie's Radio Interview Part 1 -- October 9, 2009

Eddie's Radio Interview Part 2 -- October 9, 2009

Connie's Radio Interview - October 9, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Perfect Valor

Had a busy few days...including some long hours of babysitting for some family friends. Can't get much done with little ones around. I will try to get the rest of my blogs about the MWSA conference done this next week as we are leaving on the 3rd of November for Veterans Week in Branson...and will have more to write about that when we return.

On Saturday night after the banquet we gathered to watch a documentary film the was brought to the conference by Richard Lowry who was one of the recipients of an award. His book Marines in the Garden of Eden won a silver medal for history. It is the story of the battle for An Nasiriyah. AND is now in my stack of "books to read"...I need about 48 hours in a day in order to catch up on the reading I want to do.

I knew the film we were going to view was about the battle for Fallujah and as I entered the room I nervously took a seat. The story began in late 2004...all I could think of was one date that kept screaming in my mind...November 9th, 2004.

Perfect Valor details some of what it took for our Marines to win the battle for Fallujah. While it concerned a different group of Marines than those that I was writing to in 2004....the experiences had to be the same. It was the same time, the same place. I started writing to a LCPL Tyler Farmer because I had gotten to know his mother. Marty in an online chat room on Classmates. I started writing to Tyler in June of 2004 and wrote to him on each tour until February of 2006. He served with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines Kilo Company.

In August of '04 I got an email from Tyler's mother with the address of a Marine who could use some more mail: LCPL Steve Segura. I began writing to him...over the course of the next few months I wrote 7 letters.

In the middle of September I received a lovely card from Steve...he wrote:
"I want to thank you so much for writing me and I enjoy reading every letter. A little about myself. My name is Steve. I'm 26. I have 1 older sister, 1 older brother, 4 younger brothers, 4 nephews, 3 nieces, no kids of my own. It means a lot that you wrote to me. I hope to keep hearing from you. Oh yes, I'm from Homestead, Florida. I get out of the Marine Corps on Jan 16. I have a lot of plans after the Marine Corps. When I get my pictures back I'll send you some. Write me again soon please.

Love always your friend, Steve"

The last letter that I sent to him was dated October 22, 2004. I am sure he received that one as it was never returned to me....as mail is when a Marine is injured or killed.

I will never forget the day when I was sitting at my computer going through my email...Marty had sent an email...she had just heard from Tyler...Several of his friends had been injured and Steve had been killed on November 9th, 2004...

I remember loudly saying "Oh NO...NO...NO! And soon Eddie was in the room next to me asking what was wrong. I told him and he held me while I cried for this young Marine who had paid the ultimate price.

All through the film I kept thinking about Steve...and some tears fell but I managed to watch the entire film. It is well done...and gives credit to those who are there fighting this war. And it causes one to reflect on the cost of war...and remember that we still have troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to NEVER forget that while we go through our regular days...they are in harms way fighting...fighting terrorism to keep us safe.

Thanks for bringing the film Richard...even though some memories are hard...it is good...I will carry the memory of a young Marine named Steve Segura and WILL NOT FORGET him...and many others.

Connie Beesley

Monday, October 19, 2009


While at the MWSA Conference we were able to meet many wonderful people: two of those were Chris Martini and Rebecca (Becca) Bryan. We were privileged to view his current film "Trooper".

This is the review Eddie wrote for the film:

Someone once said that "War is Hell" referring to the actual combat situation. Many times the hell begins after the tour of combat is over. Chris has done a great job portraying that in Trooper. In the film we see a father and son who fought in different wars both struggling to come to grips with the changes war has made in their lives and those around them. In watching the film the combat veteran realizes that he is not alone in his struggle and those around him understand a little better why he is as he is. Now let the healing begin. Thanks Chris

We have been in touch via email with both of them and have added them to our list of those we call friends. We are very blessed to be able to be involved in organizations where we meet such talented people. It was our pleasure to be able to visit with Chris for awhile after viewing the film.

Chris sent an email...here is a portion of what he wrote:

The making of TROOPER was chock full of epiphanies and moments of synchronicity,but one in particular was Chris Roth, our Line Producer’s, bumping into Dwight Zimmerman, who would later become a producer, on the streets of Brooklyn.Turns out we were down a major location for the film, his house, and Dwight was like an Angel coming down from above. Dwight is a military writer and liked the story about a Vietnam Veteran Father helping his Iraq Veteran son adjust after War. I have been living in Dwight’s house with a camera ever since as Dwight is aware. :))))Well Dwight suggested I screen the film at the 2009 Military Writer’s Association Conference in Orlando.Joyce Faulkner, the President of the MWSA conference, opened the door to us and I was on the plane for Orlando.All went smoothly until I realized I was in a room made up entirely of Combat Veterans,mostly Vietnam, WWII, and Gulf War Veterans. I started to sweat and panic before the screening.This was much more important than I initially imagined. For if the film failed on this front,it FAILED, in my mind. All I was thinking was how I could get out of this alive, maybe could sneak out with my film and nobody would notice, maybe I could disappear before the Q&A. No joke, this kid was nervous. The lights went down. During the screening, I had no idea how the film was being registered,really. I know how these things go. It can go either way. The film finished and the lights came on and I found that all my fears were false. THEY LOVED IT.

AND Becca Sent us some pictures: (I am thankful for these....can't believe I did not carry my camera with at all times).

Chris and Becca

Eddie and Chris

We wish Chris the best with his film.

Connie Beesley

Friday, October 16, 2009

MWSA: Military Writers Society of America

This past week end we were able to attend the Military Writers Society of America Conference in Orlando, FL. The beautiful weather was just the beginning of an enjoyable time. As a board member, Eddie was asked to be the MC for the Saturday banquet and the Auctioneer for the Sunday auction AND I was given the title of SGT Major! Yes....they needed and wanted someone a "bit" bossy...or maybe it was just someone who could get things done! I was in charge of making things flow as scheduled.

We were able to spend time with old friends we met before and made some new and wonderful friends. In the next few blogs I will be telling some of the events of the conference.

I'd like to start with something very special that was sent to us by someone we met at the conference...Mike Mullins. Many emails have been heating up the Internet since the conference...all of us still talking about the week end. In one of those emails we received a beautiful gift from Mike: The email subject line read "a little thing I did"


Face like a hawk;
Eyes that blaze and leave no doubt;
The man is what you see, no other way…
God gave him more
Than ever He took that day.

Beesley lost much when he met Betty then.
Flesh and bone disappeared
In war’s whirlwind.
Eddie stands tall, taller than you and I.
His feet don’t touch the ground;
His head doesn’t reach the sky.

It wasn’t so good at first.
He couldn’t accept his gift of life.
Then he met the angel
Who was to become his wedded wife.
Now they do God’s work,
Reaching out to wounded and maimed GIs.

He writes, he preaches, he changes lives…
He gives them hope by example
And shows them strength here on earth,
Sharing her smiles and dimples.
Years ago his legs went to heaven,
Beesley will join them in God’s own time.

Mike Mullins, 11/12/09

Michael D. "Moon" Mullins, author of "Vietnam in Verse, poetry for beer drinkers." "ViV" won the Gold Medal for poetry, 2007, from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA). The book is available on line from on-line Amazon, B&N, and B-a-M book stores.It is available as an audio-book from the author. Please contact me at this e-mail address; mullins.m.1@comcast.net or via land mail at POB 456 Windfall, In. 46076.Vietnam Veteran, Delta 3/7, 199th Light Infantry, '68-'69. Vice President of the MWSA. One dollar from either version goes to the Wounded Warrior Project.

WHEW! NEVER had a poem written for us before! AND wanted to share it...
We met other wonderful folks and will have more stories to tell in the coming days....like Chris Martini and the film he let us view...Richard Lowry and the film he showed stirring up some memories...AND meeting a special lady and her husband....the sister of CPL Daniel Duffy.

Connie Beesley

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September Update....

We are getting settled into the new routine of school being back in session...we have two grandchildren in high school and the oldest will be graduating this year. We have one grandson in middle school...now playing on the 7th grade A football team! The youngest is in 4th grade and also a great football player. By the end of summer I am looking forward to school...and having those much quieter days! With grandchildren in and out all summer long we just don't seem to get much done around here!....

In July we took all 4 of the grandchildren and our daughter on a long vacation. We started with a cruise to Cozumel leaving out of Mobil, AL. In Cozumel we took them snorkeling...an new and fun experience for them! Even our daughter who was always so afraid of sharks went with her children. They all loved the cruise and want to do that again! After the ship board fun we drove to Gulf Shores, AL for a few days. Eddie took the all of the children deep sea fishing...
and they all caught several fish...but Dillon's...the oldest caught the biggest fish!

They also got to go para sailing...800 feet up in the air! We wanted to do something memorable as a family because with Dillon graduating it may be hard to get all of the family together for vacations in the future.

Now we look forward to upcoming activities that we enjoy...spending time with veterans and their families! Later this month we will be attending the annual Veterans Dance....a really fun time! We look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new people as well...from WW11 vets to the present war...we gather to visit, dance, and have a great time!

Then in November we will once more be off to Branson, MO for Veterans week. We just learned that Oliver North will once again be the guest speaker at the Marine Corps Ball there! We spend as much time as we can in the Day Room where veterans gather to talk and spend time with one another AND many bring their instruments to "pick and grin" and sing a song or two!

We haven't been able to do any other traveling this year...still paying off all of our previous traveling and cost of books. Hopefully we will be able to do some traveling by next year as Eddie truly misses being out their visiting our troops and veterans. But whenever we are out and about...he keeps his eyes open...

spotting veterans and chatting with them. He always spends more time than needed for his appointments when he goes the Veterans Hospital...spending time with the veterans there. We even meet veterans and their families when we are in other hospitals and business places...so we still get to offer words of encouragement to others while not traveling.

For those veterans who read our blog...if you've never been to Branson for Veterans Week...you would truly enjoy the week of activities! You can go to
http://www.bransonveterans.com/ to find out all that will be going on during that week.

Connie Beesley

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Time for Healing

Over this past holiday week end a town near us hosted one of the Moving Viet Nam Memorial Walls. Eddie never misses visiting the Wall when it is anywhere near us....OR should we see that it is somewhere along the route of any of our travels. He ALWAYS has time to go visit the Wall.

We went out for the opening ceremonies on the 3rd. I had forgotten my sun screen (something I rarely do) so I found a shady place to be while he listened to the ceremony. Many of those in the stands came to be in the shade before the speakers were finished. One of those was a veteran who had been in Viet Nam. We visited for quite a while. He admitted that he had not spoken of his time there though he did attend reunions. (We encourage military men and women to attend reunions and stay in touch with those they meet while serving. It is not always easy to re-connect later in life.)

As the ceremonies were winding down Eddie and I began to make our way out to that long black wall. As we started one of the staff asked if we needed help to find a name. I replied to her "No, we know where to look". Those places are etched in our minds and we have no difficulty locating those we come to visit.

We stop first in the center...and look toward the bottom of that first panel and there he is Charles Sides. I remember so well the first time that Eddie saw his name on the Wall. Eddie hadn't been looking for him, but there he was. We went to the book of names so that he could look and see if this Charles was a Marine from Oklahoma City...thinking it just couldn't be the same person he remembered from boot camp. BUT there it was...and the guilt started. Eddie told me how they had become close as they were both Oklahoma boys...how he encouraged him when the going got tough. They went to different duty stations after graduation. Charles had gone into Viet Nam with the first group of Marines and was killed in March of 65 two months before Eddie arrived.

From there we looked to the next panel and found Cpl Daniel Duffy and Lt James Mitchell Jr. Both men were killed from the same land mine that injured Eddie. After all these years hearing about them I feel I knew them and feel the loss of them as I touch their names. Eddie also looks for others from his unit that were also casualties of that long ago war. Then we move down to panel 11 line 12 and find Ronald William Beasley one of Eddies nephews who went down with his helicopter. His name is too high for us to touch...but we stand and look at it for a while before returning to the center.

As we return there is a lady standing there with tears running down her cheeks. I ask if she has found the name she is searching for...she shakes her head "no".
Then she tells me she has a brother and cousin on the wall still MIA's. All I can do is put my arms around her and hug her as I say "We will never forget any of them". We talk for a while and she tells me her daughter just "doesn't get it". She just doesn't understand why we come to the Wall...why we "don't get over it". We talk some more and Eddie gives her a copy of his book. He gives several copies to veterans as we spend time there at the Wall.

It is hot and after a long while we decided it is time to go...

We spent the 4th at home away from crowds and people...just being glad to be living in our great nation.

Then on the 5th after church Eddie returns to the Wall. I tell him to go alone so he will feel as though he can take his time and not be worrying if he is wearing me out....he calls after a while and I tell him to stay till it closes...stay as long as you need. When he returned home he told me he was able to talk to several more veterans and give out many more books. It truly is a healing place for so many of our veterans and their families AND confirmation that WE WILL NOT FORGET.

Connie Beesley

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rest & Relaxation!

We decided we needed a V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N! SOOOOO we packed up and headed to one of our favorite places ~ Branson, MO, When we let our grandchildren know we were leaving we heard all sorts of "comments"...."take me with you, I can miss the last week of school" ~ "What do you mean, you're finally taking a vacation....you are gone a lot" Even our daughter thought we should take at least one of the children with us, but we stuck to our original plan of having some "down" time just for us!

When we arrived...things started going a bit "wrong" The key to our room would not work and it was almost time for us to be at the owners party for the time shares. I really felt like crying, but Eddie kept us both calm and all worked out! We made it on time! Good thing too, cuz I was about to make my Branson debut! From someone who has always managed not to get picked from the audience....I ended up on stage twice this evening! First it was David Hamner from the Hamner Barber theater who picked on me! He needed an assistant and I was it! I was standing right there next to him...and could not tell you how he did what he did....putting those metal rings together and taking them apart!
Must have been my great "TA - DA". For my wonderful help he gave me two tickets to their show (more about that later).

Then later in the evening some members from Island Fire came....one of the dancers tried to get Eddie to go on stage, not noticing he couldn't do that. (not the first time this has happened). Because she felt bad, I said yes when asked and once again I was on stage! So here I was trying to follow the lead of one of the dancers and I'm sure looking totally ridiculous!

While at the owners party I won one of the door prizes and had another set of tickets for a show! What a way to start the week! What had started out a bit rough turned out great...pays to stay cool and not get angry when things are not as you would like!

Tuesday we met two of our dear friends from Branson, Chip & Sandy. We don't get to really visit with them when we are in town in November for Veterans week so this was a real treat for us to just get to spend time with them. After lunch they took us to see SIX, a show we had heard a lot about!

Wednesday we started with an early show at 10AM...the tickets I had won. We saw Ricky Boen and Texas Mudd. If you like Texas Swing this is a show I'd recommend. Oh, enjoying comedy helps too....Ida Clare kept us laughing till our sides hurt! In the evening we were back at the Hamner Barber theater for their show. If you like amazing magic and a great ventriloquist this is a must show! Both David Hamner and Jim Barber amazed us over and over during their performances! I must have said "how did he do that?" (concerning both performers) over and over again! We hope to take our grand children to see this show sometime this summer!

Thursday we met Eddie's relatives for lunch! He has several family members living in Branson and the best way to visit is for us to meet somewhere. We filled a very long table at Charlies! Then at 5 PM we went to the John Tweed show. We have been blessed to get to know John and his wife through our visits and veteran events. If you like "EXTREME LOVE SONGS" this is the show to see. Actually, John sings a variety of songs and is a great entertainer.
From his show we went to see Breaking Up is Hard to Do. We had planned to see this show last November and missed it because my brother got sick. Glad we went....It is a delightful musical and worth seeing!

Friday we met our friends Chip & Sandy again...this time it was our treat. We met for lunch then went to see Island Fire! Along with all the traditional dancing we learned a lot about the culture of the Islands...Hawaii, Fiji and Samoa. Once again, I was on stage. I'm sure I looked silly, but at least I wasn't the only one up there! And NO, we did NOT buy the tape...didn't want anyone seeing that! Then in the evening we went to see Noah the Musical. What a show! It was full of talented people, live animals and wonderful sets all telling a familiar Bible story. We were amazed when someone came on stage after the show and gave an altar call for anyone interested in praying! This is the first time we had seen anything like this! We hope to see their Christmas show in November if time permits.

We had a wonderful time...visiting family and friends and seeing many shows. And along with all of this we were blessed to meet several veterans and others that we could talk with and hopefully be a blessing to....we made sure to invite the veterans back to Branson for Veterans week in November. Eddie and I both enjoy talking to others and encouraging them. Life sometimes deals us lemons, but Lemonade sure tastes great! Hard things happen, but life can still be good and full of enjoyment!

During this entire week so many good things happened and we just felt the Favor of God in our lives. We returned home refreshed and it is a good thing because the following weeks have been full of activities at home and have kept us busy!

Branson is one of our very favorite places to visit...we never get tired of going there! Just don't ask us which show or shows are our favorites...tell me instead what type of entertainment you like ...then I can tell you which shows have what you are looking for!!! Since we like all sorts of entertainment we are never disappointed. Branson is full of wonderful shows for everyone! If you've never been.....you should GO!

Connie Beesley

Monday, May 18, 2009

Purple Heart Event in Branson

I keep putting off writing...so many things going on AND thinking I will wait till I get the photos downloaded on the computer. But decided not to wait for that...might take a while longer to get that accomplished!

We were privileged to attend the Purple Heart Event in Branson in April. We have had to just do those things that are closer to home as we are low on funds and have not had much in the way of donations lately. I can tell you that being able to get there is wonderful because when Eddie is out and around other veterans he is in his element AND feels his best! He'd love to be on the road visiting ALL the time....wellllllllll...maybe not ALL the time...but most of the time. (He does enjoy some time at home working outside on the property...
mowing and planting new bushes, trees, shrubs or flowers...and this past week he has done that as well as plant a small garden for the grandchildren to help him tend. They have been waiting to get that done!)

We started early on Friday by getting up at 4:45 AM so we could go to Branson Landing to see Al Roker! He was in town and we thought it would be interesting to just say we saw him! There was a large crowd gathered even that early and we got a glimpse of how they film his part of the show.

From there we went to the Day Room for registration. It was good to see our friends Chip and Sandy who are so generous to always run the Day Room. This is a great place for veterans to go and meet...to talk and visit and spend time. It was only opened for a few hours for this even, but is open all week during Veterans week in November......AND Chip and Sandy run it for the entire week!
We always enjoy spending time there visiting with the veterans...meeting new people and renewing acquaintances from past years. This day was no exception, we saw people we knew and also made new friends.

The opening ceremonies were at the Hamner Barber theater and Eddie was asked to say the opening prayer. It was so nice to be able to meet Dave Hamner and Jim Barber....we were back stage visiting for about 45 minutes before the start of the ceremonies. It has been amazing to meet so many wonderful people as we do things in Branson and elsewhere in our travels. At the opening ceremony they had a speaker talking about PTSD which was very informative for many of those attending.

The next day there was a show at the Hamner Barber theater for the veterans which included a variety of the talent from other shows as well as Dave and Jim performing. AND of course Dalena Ditto was there! A trip to Branson would not be complete if Eddie did not get to see her! We have gotten to be good friends with her and her husband...though on this short trip there was not time to go see her show...and visit with her family. (We did not even have time to see Eddie's family that live in town.) The closing number caused "sweaty eyes" for most of us. It is an interview of 3 Iwo Jima survivors and recipients of the Purple Heart....and shows the flag raising on Iwo. After the number those 3 veterans were brought up on stage and given a chance to say a few words. WOW...what a way to end a show!

The closing ceremony was at Branson Landing. This time the crowd was gathered to honor the Purple Heart recipients who were attending these events.
Eddie was asked to wear his uniform again and to help in the flag raising ceremony. He is always glad to do anything that Marlyce or anyone in Branson asks him to do. It was awesome to watch these veterans march into the plaza area. The guest speaker who is also a friend insisted on being the one to help push Eddie down the ramp to the stage area. Barbara Fairchild and her husband Roy sang to the audience during this ceremony.

We had a wonderful time, though it went by too quickly. We plan to be back in town the end of May just to rest and visit with all those we could not see on this trip.

Connie Beesley

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WOW...how sweet to be a local celebrity!

Just before Spring Break we got an email from Connie Mashburn who works at Best of Books here in Edmond (where they carry Eddie's book Lucky Enough. She wanted us to know that her grandson Cade was doing his book report on Eddie's book AND she proudly told him she knew us. We called her and "got the details" AND told her that we would gladly come to his school as well as let him wear Eddie's uniform jacket and cover (hat for those of you who are not military).
Cade attends Cross Timbers Elementary School here in Edmond where our grandchildren went until they built a new school closer to us. We knew his teacher. Ms. Knoles who was also glad that we had come for the book reports. They had the cafeteria set up as a Wax Museum and we were all given a handful of pennies to "operate" the "wax" figures. What a site to see all of these students dressed as different people from different eras. It took a while for us to find Cade as we had entered on the opposite side from his position. BUT he was easy enough to spot in that sharp dress blue jacket! He was sitting in a chair with a blanket over his legs so that it appeared as though he were an amputee.

We made our way to his position and dropped a penny in his cup. He started his "story"...got mixed up and oh so cleverly without missing a beat said "machine malfunction please put in another penny". I nearly laughed at that! We put in another penny and heard Eddie's story!

I had forgotten my camera but got pictures from his grandmother as well as permission to tell this story. It truly is an honor when we hear that students in our town are reading Eddie's book when they must do a report on a biography...to be included among people in history like Alexander Graham Bell, Amelia Earhart and so many others is an honor.

I want to thank Cade for choosing Eddie's book and for doing such a fine job on his report! We enjoyed our afternoon at school!
Lately we haven't been doing a lot of traveling as we are working on funding in order to purchase more books. We do have some "events" planned and hopefully will have the funds to do even more. We always enjoy sharing our story and encouraging others. Life might deal you some real "lemons" BUT you can make "lemonade" AND have a wonderful life in spite of adversity!
Connie Beesley