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Courtesy of Andrew Lovgren
Young Andrew Branson
Though he has always lived in Iowa, Andrew Lovgren has been visiting his grandparents in Branson for many years.
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Our intern, Andrew Lovgren, made the move to Missouri for the summer.
Despite having lived in Iowa all my life, I’m not entirely a stranger to Missouri.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my grandmother lives in Branson, and so several times a year my family and I made the nine-hour drive down, in the days when I owned a Walkman instead of an mp3 player.
For many years, a week of every summer was spent down south when my parents, likely even more excited than I was, would meet my grandfather half-way down. Once with my grandfather, I always had to first answer how things were going up in “I-o-way” before we could talk of the excitement of another adventure in Branson, filled with shows, mini-golf (often at the location which now houses the Titanic Museum), fishing, a for sure visit to Grand Country Buffet, of course, and plenty of bowls of peanut butter straight from the jar, preferably chunky, straight from the jar (which likely led to my current allergy to the delicious confection).
At home, I've never liked fishing, but each time I visited I couldn’t wait to get out the poles and the brightly colored bait jar and head over to Lake Taneycomo. Of all of the music genres, country has never been a favorite, but each year we’d fill every night with complementary tickets to show after show, always falling back to Presley’s, his favorite, and the awe-inspiring magic of Kirby Van Burch, which I enjoyed time and time again. I’m not really terribly interested in cars, but a visit down to the dealership on the back of his motorcycle was always a welcome adventure.
I enjoyed and looked forward to whatever we did, for the most part. I can look back fondly on saving gold from the menacing lake pirates, who have since retired it seems and can vividly recall many slime fights and warm walks around Silver Dollar City's annual Kid's Fest with my grandmother.
Now, whether it’s a holiday or a simple visit, when I drive by the fish hatchery or any of the great number of shows that I saw as a child on my way to visit my grandmother, I think back to those carefree summers where my biggest worry was the risk of the goose biting my hand when I fed it. Yes, some of the time when I was there I was unhappy or bored, but as the scenery along side the road slowly transitioned from the hills and rock faces to endless fields, it wasn’t long before I longed to be back down in Branson with my ever-giving grandparents.
As I grew older, I of course grew less interested in many of the activities for which I had previously yearned. Still, I can always look back at my time spent in Missouri in summers past with great appreciation for the time and experiences my grandparents gave me.
Although he has since passed away, I hold on to strong memories of my time spent in the Ozarks with my grandfather. Memories that are brought back by the brutal heat and humidty of each summer day that I'm here in Missouri.