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 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 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 perform the musicians were not quit ready to stop 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! 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 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 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 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 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