Worshipping at the Outlet Malls. Can I have an Amen?


We’re back and we’re broke and it was a marvelous Outlet Mall Getaway. I could have put up photographs of the gorgeous Marriott where we lounged like excommunicated queens, or shown you proof of the tornado devastation we saw along Hwy 65. I might have even posted a picture or two of the several large-as-small-cities outlet malls where we pounded pavement and spend our unearned Dubya money, but I didn’t. The fact is I only took three pictures on the entire trip and one of those was so awful I just deleted it forever. This one, taken on our way back at a roadside flea market stop, is my favorite anyway.

I hate people who are so busy immortalizing their good times on film that they forget to actually have a good time. At least that’s my excuse.

Ah, Branson. What an interesting place. The whole town exists for tourism and it does a pretty good job. Take Nashville, clean its face of the arty coolness factor, add some old Vegas neon, and set the whole thing to music with a steel guitar. Sprinkle in some high-end swanky hotels and townhouses, then pepper the whole city with red-roofed outlet shop promise. That’s Branson, Missouri. Like Disney World, it has several different themes. I imagine an extended Branson experience would be much like visiting The Magical Kingdom, actually – except you’d have to section out the experiences yourself because Branson isn’t about to put it in neat little excursion piles for you. It’s charming.

I bought a lot less than I thought I would and my feet hurt a great deal more than I expected. It was a serious shopping trip. The Perfect Grandson is well-dressed for a least a month now and I found shoes that are actually made for walking. Although I don’t think we ever saw a bookstore, I still found goodies elsewhere. The only real defeat was my unsuccessful quest for the Perfect Bag. If you can’t buy it in Branson, it’s possible it simply doesn’t exist. It may take me a week or so to make peace with that.

The best part of the trip was the easy, no timetable, sauntering nature of this Gal Trip. We told stories and laughed and finally just exhaled after nine months of students (except for someone who’s been on sabbatical for a whole semester, bless her heart).

I’d like to go back, next time with a different entertainment focus. Kind of the Campy Branson Tour so I could include a stop at the wax museum, take the ghost tour, spend an afternoon at the Monster Asylum, and hit all those marvelous miniature golf courses. I live to people-watch. In the South, we can be eccentric like that and no one cares.

I’ll leave you with the only other picture I took. It’s from some gas station in Clinton, so it’s more of an “en route” kind of thing. You know, I do weddings as well.