We go to Big Cedar Lodge, near Branson, at least once a year and sometimes twice. We have seen most of the shows in Branson and some we have seen more than once. We don’t go for the shows anymore but for the serenity and quiet we enjoy at Big Cedar. This is a wonderful resort on the shores of Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks. Branson itself is a slice of Middle America. People who visit there are, for the most part, senior citizens who are retired and the average folks who have made America what it is today. They have been hard working people, who are morally sound and responsible individuals. At many of the shows, veterans in the audience are ask to stand and be recognized. Almost every male in the audience stands. I will let the reader guess what religion they might be affiliated with and how they may have voted in the last election. One thing I am pretty sure about, and that is, there is not a terrorist in the group. It’s probably the last place in the world a terrorist would want to go.
Anyway, we attended only one show during this visit. It probably seems rather corny to some of my pseudo-intellectual friends , but I wanted to relive the memories of my childhood. We went to visit the Roy Rogers Museum and stayed for the show, which featured Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr. and the Highriders. The Highriders are another version of the Sons of the Pioneers. The museum and show were both fantastic. I also had the privilege of speaking with Dusty at the end of the show. Told him how much his dad meant to me. We talked about Trigger who lived to be 33.
The museum is like stepping back into the Golden Age of the movies and the Westerns which were a delightful and important part of my childhood. I used to spend Saturday afternoons in the movie theater for 9 cents admission and buy a bag of popcorn for a nickel. My heros were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Johnny Mack Brown and Wild Bill Elliott and their sidekick Gabby Hayes and Smiley Burnette. The plots were simple without all the blood and gore and explicit sex scenes. They didn’t even kiss the girls, just sang them a song. It was too sissy for the hero to kiss.
The Highriders sang many of the cowboy ballads that were songs you could hum along with rather than the blaring noise and smoke which the rock musicians now use to deafen us. The words of the songs were crisp and distinct, clearly audible for even the oldest ear, as opposed to the rap profanity which, thank goodness, is barely discernible with the most sensitive hearing.
Oh, how I long for the good old days. The Western Movies are now only part of my fading memory but I’m very thankful for places like the Roy Rogers Museum which helps keep them alive for all us old codgers who remain the heart and soul of our deteriorating America.