History Lesson:Political Spin by a Master

    Judy Wallman,a professional genealogy researcher in southern California , was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that her great-great uncle,Remus Reid,was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Apparently both Judy and Senator Harry Reid share this common ancestor.

    The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory.

    Remus Reid - Horsethief

    Remus Reid - Horsethief

    On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription:‘Remus Reid,horse thief,sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885,escaped 1887,robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives,convicted and hanged in 1889.’

    So Judy recently e-mailed Senator Reid for information about their great-great uncle.

    Senator Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch to help complete her genealogy research:

    “Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883,he devoted several years of his life to government service,finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887,he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889,Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”

    NOW THAT’s how it’s done in DC,Folks!

    That’s real POLITICAL SPIN!!

    Confessions of a Branson Groopie

    Over the last several months I have spent some eight weeks in Branson at the behest of my wife who likes to be somewhere else more than at home. Initially I was a bit apprehensive and wondered what in the world will I ever do to maintain my sanity for so long a time living in a 5th wheel in a strange town,but what the heck. If my wife was so set on it I figured it would at least give me some brownie points to go along and keep my grumbling to a minimum. Besides we are retired so I didn’t have any really good argument to allow me to get out of it anyway.

    For years we have purchased season passes to Silver Dollar City and always have a good time there. The “Homestead Pickers”over the years have become like close friends,and there are lots of other shows and things to do in “The City”so I knew it was at least good for one day a week without boredom. I wasn’t sure about the other six. TV where we were parked was rather poor,but I could at least get a good weather channel to help us plan our days. It turned out that we had little time for TV anyway. What I found in Branson was really a very pleasant surprise.

    Since we are members there we stayed in our RV at Treasure Lakes park. Our lodging cost was more than paid for by what we saved in the electric bill at home! Almost every week they had one or more free or reduced price ticket offers for theater shows in the area. Then there were a number of local performers that had free shows at the RV park during our stay. The park includes both indoor and outdoor swimming pools,a lodge area for card playing,a couple dances a week,miniature golf,a Frisbee golf course and lots of wildlife to view. A friend at the park took us to a number of places in town that she liked to shop including thrift shops which I discovered can actually be fun. We enjoyed meals at various buffets around town,were serenaded while we ate at the “Hard Luck Diner”,and enjoyed a number of free shows at the Branson Mall and other locations.

    Almost every day there was a different entertainment opportunity and many of them were either free (for tips/donations) or at very modest cost. The Branson Mall is fantastic. There are free shows going on in the center of the mall from about 10:00am til 9:00pm daily. These performers give great shows for tips and sell their CDs or DVDs as the only admission charge. At many of them I purchased CDs of the music I enjoyed and transferred the songs to my MP3 player to enjoy later. These are not the fabulous productions of the various theater shows,but the talent of these performers is really great. Likewise the servers at “Mels Hard Luck Diner”sing to you between serving tables and taking orders,and these folks are really good!! Food there is reasonable,ample servings,and we never had anything that wasn’t great.

    There are many Theater Shows in Branson costing anywhere from $15 to $50. Just a few of the theater shows we really enjoyed were,“Noah”,“Hamner-Barber Show”,“Buck Trent Show”,and “The Allen Edwards Show”. There were several benefit performances that we also attended that requested only a donation for entrance. These had short performances by a number of the well-known Branson performers such as,Barbara Fairchild,Allen Edwards,Mike Walker,Martin Short,and others. One of the benefit shows we attended was actually a bit over four hours long and all of it was top notch. There were performances from about thirty different entertainers,many of them top name performers in Branson.

    We were treated to some of the finest examples of Rock and Roll,Country,Bluegrass,and Comedy routines around. Elvis,John Denver,and Jerry Lee Lewis make daily appearances around town along with many of the other long gone entertainers via the talents of their modern impersonators. Some of these have improved on the originals,at least in my opinion. Likewise many of the current living music legends are assisted by a small Branson army of imitators that do a great job on their own.

    The local convention center hosts a number of events that sometimes include shows that are open to the general public. A gospel music convention held there last month was a fabulous three day opportunity to view a number of the best gospel musical groups from around the country. There are also several golf courses,lakes,and other attractions to fit most any taste. Family oriented activities such as go carts,boats,and water parks and rides of various types are available to fill the time for kids of all ages.

    The local senior citizen’s group has lunch five days a week and is a good place to visit with other seniors and enjoy an inexpensive luncheon. Branson’s choices of dining spots offers a variety that will match most any hunger. Choices go from the standard fast food places to country buffets to fine dining places. In general,the prices that are quite competitive with most anyplace I have visited. Lodging is readily available and relatively inexpensive throughout town. Whether you are three or eighty three there are fun and exciting things to do there and many of them are at very little actual cost.

    No I am not an employee of the Branson Chamber of Commerce,nor do I have any investment there at all. Just seriously enjoyed the time I spent there and thought I would share my perspective a bit. The folks of the town of Branson treated my wife and I very nicely and I am sure will do the same for you and yours. If you are looking for a fun family get-away,you could do a lot worse than Branson,MO.

    Mountain View,AR a fun destination

    Mountian View has been one of our favorite places to visit for years.  It is a sleepy little town near the White River in north central Arkansas.  Some of the things that set it apart as a fun destination are,the Ozark Folk Center state park just north of town and the musicians that gather around the town square on warm evenings.  Add this to the Jimmy Driftwood Barn and several local music shows,several annual festivals,and the quaint surroundings and you have the makings for a great getaway anytime from early Spring through late Fall.  There are a number of other music theaters and “pickin barns”scattered around to add more variety to your stay.

    This is a unique place where you can bring your chair and sit down around the square to good  musical entertainment most any summer evening.  If one group does not play your choice of venue,just move over a ways for another.  Or if you brought your favorite instrument with you,just find a group you feel comfortable with and join in.  Most welcome additional players in their circles and they are not too pickey wheather you bring a guitar,dobro,banjo,dulcimer,flute,fiddle,spoons,bouzouki or whatever.  As long as it is acoustic it is normally welcome.   Electric instruments are a no-no on the Mountain View square.

    There are a number of nice RV parks around and we have visited most of them over the years.   In recent years we have usually stayed at “Fiddler’s Valley”which is within easy walking distance from the square.  The welcoming atmosphere there along with their frequent breakfasts,and musical offerings have made them our favorite.

    The main festivals in Mountain View are the Folk Festival –April 17th –19th and the Bean Fest October 29th –31st.  If you plan to stay in the town for these events you had best have reservations long in advance.  The population of the town may swell from a few thousand friendly souls to 100,000 or more.  Many folks reserve their spots a year in advance.

    On week days there is likely an inexpensive meal available at the senior citizens center,or you can cho0se from a number of local restaurants that offer good Ozark country cookin’that will make you want to go back for more.   Free beans and corn bread are available on Saturday during the bean fest,but there’s so much more fun to be had.

    Fishing on the White River is just a few minutes away from town,or you can just drift down the river if you prefer.  A visit to Blanchard Springs  Caverns just north of town is a great way to spend a hot summer day.  Add that to fishing and hunting in the many streams and the Ozark national forest nearby,horseback riding and hiking trails are readily available.  The Ozark Folk Center has interesting exhibits depicting pioneer life in the Ozarks that makes for a great outing.

    If you decide to make a trip to Mountain View,look around.  You might find us sitting around the square licking one of those great ice cream cones from the shops in town or playing with one of the local groups.  See ya there!