Jason’s note: This is the last in a short series of the annual Offutt Family Vacation Extravaganza.
If there’s one thing I like more than being on vacation it’s not being on vacation.
This is because of things like, 1) vacations usually take place outside, 2) heat, blood-sucking insects and loud noises are also outside, 3) vacation sites attract humans I don’t know but still interact with – outside, and 4) I’m not at the house where my wife and I pay a mortgage to be inside.
Home is where there is inexpensive food, air conditioning, people I like, no high-motion vomit-inducing rides and, although with two middle schoolers and a toddler our house is as loud as an amusement park, I can at least walk freely without security saying things like, “Sir, please put on your pants.”
We were on our third day in Branson and our first outside Silver Dollar City with its 1880s-themed roller coasters and hardy park workers dressed in period clothing heavy enough to kill a normal human. So, we decided to brave The Strip.
The Strip is a 3.3-mile stretch of street that goes through downtown Branson and features such attractions as Presley’s Country Jubilee, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, balloon rides, go-karts and a Joe’s Crab Shack.
Yeah, I know. Joe’s Crab Shack, right?
We didn’t visit any of these on our last day in “Missouri's Entertainment capital” (nickname from the Branson website). We went to an attraction that was so out of place if someone would have told me it was in Branson, I would have called them a liar.
Sorry, Reverend. I didn’t know.
Driving past flashing marquees that boasted “Best” and “Most Popular,” we pulled into the parking lot of a building that resembled a sinking ship. That was on purpose. It was the Titanic Museum Attraction.
There are (according to the web search I spent 15 seconds on) six Titanic museums in the United States. A couple make sense, like the one in New York, where the ship was supposed to dock, and at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. But putting a museum dedicated to an American tragedy in a place like Branson seemed a bit like opening a Hooters in Vatican City. How good could it be?
Pretty good. There were relics from the ship and the tour guides were knowledgeable. Each museum-goer got a card detailing the life of someone who was on the ship. We discovered at the end of the tour if our person survived, as did my entire family, or died, like me.
With that, I was ready to go home. Vacations for me closely follow the five stages of grief:
1. Denial and isolation: I’m not here, I need to hide in a bathroom.
2. Anger: What? Damn it, I am here.
3. Bargaining: I’ll change the baby’s diapers for a year if you let me go back to the hotel. Yes, I know she’s 3 and potty-trained, I meant the next baby. Yes, I also know I’ve had a vasectomy.
4. Depression: This vacation is happening and is penance for something I did in a past life. I must have been Capone.
5. Acceptance: I can go home after this.
We arrived home five hours later, but I know we’ll go on vacation again next year.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.