Thursday, July 3, 2008

Branson or BUST!

We've just returned from a 2-1/2 day trip to Branson. Fun was had by all! And look at that HUGE fish that Sarah caught! Okay, the photo was really taken at Bass Pro Shop.

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and after checking into the hotel we went to the Titanic exhibit. Last week we watched the movie "Titanic" so we'd all be ready for the things we would see. Sarah really liked the movie and enjoyed the exhibits as well. When you enter the hall you are given a paper "ticket" with the name of an actual passenger on the Titanic. Throughout the exhibit there are items that had belonged to different passengers and at the end you find out if your person survived or died during the sinking. This was one of my favorite parts of the exhibit.
Kevin was Isidor Straus from NYC who was traveling as a 1st class passenger with his wife, a man servant and a maid. Mr. Straus had been a US Senator and was the co-owner of R. H. Macy & Company -- today known simply as Macy's Department Stores.

Sarah was Eleanor Elkins Widener from Pennsylvania who also was traveling as a 1st class passenger. Mrs. Widener was traveling with her husband, son Harry and two servants (a female maid and a man servant). Mrs. Widener had one of the most extensive jewelry collections in the US.
I was Alma Cornelia Berglung Palsson from Sweden who was traveling with her four small children to Chicago where her husband had moved 2 years prior. It had taken Mr. Palsson two years to save enough money to bring his family to America. Alma and her kids were raveling as 3rd class passengers. On the night of the sinking, Alma did not feel the collision with the ice berg and when she was alerted to come up to the deck it took her a long time to wake the children and dress them warm enough for the cold winter air.

You'll have to wait a bit to see if "we" lived or died!

We weren't allowed to take any photos inside the exhibit, but if we could have you would have been able to see Sarah's eyes widen as we entered the room where the actual red "jump" dress that Rose was wearing when she climbed over the railing to jump was on display. The dress took over 1000 hours to make and Sarah stared at it for quite a long time trying to see the stitching, beading, etc. They also have the long pink wool coat that Rose was wearing as the ship sank as well as about 8 large fancy hats that were worn in the movie. The signs indicate that the red "jump" dress is about a size 4/6 yet the pink coat is a size 8/10. The coat was purposely made big so Rose would look scared and small when she was wearing it as that is the time the boat is sinking. Sarah was very interested in the reasoning to this and how sizing, colors, etc, can change the "look" of clothing. Yep, fashion designer in the works!

At the end of the exhibit you can start a timer and stick your finger into water that is the same temperature the ocean water was the night the Titanic sunk. Sarah was only able to hold her finger in the water for about 18 seconds as it was COLD! She understood then why so many people died simply from being in the water.

Now, onto who lived and died! Well, as for Kevin's Mr. Straus, he and the man servant put Mrs. Straus and the maid into one of the lifeboats. The lifeboat was only half full so a crew member told Mr. Straus he could get in the lifeboat too even though a "women and children" only policy was widely being held. Mr. Straus refused. However, before the lifeboat could be lowered, Mrs. Straus stepped back out and declared to her husband "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go." She gave her warm fur coat to the maid who remained in the lifeboat knowing she would be needing it. Mr. and Mrs. Straus then took seats in deck chairs, held hands and went down with the Titanic. The maid survived.

Sarah's Mrs. Widener and her maid boarded lifeboat #4 and survived. Her husband, son and man servant died. After returning to the US, she devoted herself to charitable works and donated enough money that the Harry Elkins Wilder Memorial Library was built at Harvard University. Upon donating the money for the library, she stipulated that every Harvard graduate must know how to swim as she thought that if her son had known how to swim he might have survived the sinking of the Titanic.

As for my Mrs. Palsson, she and her four children arrived on the upper deck too late the make it into a lifeboat and perished. This was the fate of 527 of the 699 third class passengers. Only 25% of 3rd class passengers survived.

Before we left the Titanic exhibit, Sarah wanted to buy a replica of the "Heart of the Ocean" necklace that Rose wears in the movie. The necklace, along with the drawing of Rose, are Sarah's two favorite parts of the movie. Plus, as she was given the passenger Mrs. Widener who had a giant jewelry collection, it only makes sense that she would want to buy a necklace to remember the occasion!

Sarah was so cute -- she kept looking through all the replica necklaces to find just the right one and then when we were outside she said "I think I got a real one!" I love our little dreamer! Here she is with her "Heart of the Ocean" necklace standing out front of the Titanic building which is designed to look like the front of the ship - complete with iceberg!

On Tuesday evening we went swimming for quite awhile in the hotel pool and then lounged around in the hotel hot tub for a bit before heading out to dinner, a walk along the new river walk shopping area and a trip to Coldstone Creamery which is one of Kevin's favorite stops. By then, we were ready for bed.


On Wednesday, we went shopping in the morning and then headed down to Lake Tanneycomo for a 4 hour guided fly fishing trip in the afternoon. Sarah and Kevin both fished and I, being the wimpy one, did not fish! (Hey, somebody had to take the photos!). We had a great guide who took us right up the dam between Tablerock Lake and Tanneycomo and then let the boat drift down, then brought us back up -- he did this four times. Both Kevin and Sarah are new to fly fishing, so the guide first let them cast a bit and told them the "ins" and "outs" of fly fishing. Then they were off! I was amazed at how many fish Kevin and Sarah caught!

And, yes, Sarah is wearing lots of PINK but she wasn't one bit afraid to hold her fish even when they flopped out of her hands! We did not keep any of the fish, instead allowing them back into the water to swim another day!

Here are photos of just three of the rainbow trout Sarah caught and one Kevin caught. Sarah caught the first fish, the biggest fish and the most fish! And, trust me, she won't be letting Kevin forget it! When the day was done, Sarah had brought 8 fish to the boat and Kevin had brought in 6. Pretty darn awesome for about 3 hours of fishing!

Look at the smile you get when you know you've caught the BIGGEST fish!

After fishing we showered off only to go jump in the pool again! It felt to good after a hot day of fishing. After dinner we headed out to the go-cart track and raced our little hearts out! Sarah's go-kart was Jeff Gordon's #24 -- what do you think about that, all you race fans!?! Then it was on to Cold Stone Creamy - again - for a late night ice cream fix!


Our last day in Branson. We took in an early IMAX showing of ocean life (complete with popcorn), stopped by Krispie Kreme (Sarah declares the strawberry filled to be the best) and then headed home. Yes, fun was had by all!


Lesa said...

Sounds like you had just tons of fun! I swear Sarah is a cute thing. I just love her smile and can tell she has a great personality!!!!

Congrats Sarah on catching the biggest fish!!

Back about 14 years ago I caught the biggest large mouth bass. It was right at 12 lbs., and of course all of the men in the family were very jealous of me being the one to land the big one. Since then it has taken the guys 11 years to finally beat that record. ha
All I can say is you go girl!


Mike and Barb said...

What a fun trip! Love the way the Titanic museum is set up - it certainly makes things more real that way!
Great pictures, as always!

sherrie said...

Sarah, you are the only one I know who could go fishing in white pants and have them clean when you got off the boat.

Great Grandpa would be so proud of you. He tried for years to make me a "fisher woman" but I preferred rowing the boat and letting him fish.

Congratulations on catching the BIG one. Better luck next time Kevin.

sherrie said...

Sarah, you are the only person I know who could go fishing in white pants and still have them clean when you get off the boat.

Great Grandpa would be so proud of you. He tried for years to make me a "fisher woman" but I preferred rowing the boat while they fished.

Congratulations on catching the big one. Better luck next time Kevin.