My family and I are enjoying a few days in Branson, Missouri. I can recall my trips to Branson as a child, so this trip is always a nostalgic for me. Of course, in those days we weren't interested in Branson at all. It was just a suburb to the greater and infinitely more interesting metropolis known as Silver Dollar City. My sister and I used to talk about growing up and living in Silver Dollar City. What work would we do? Where would we live? And who wouldn't want to live in a town with a steam train and a rollercoaster?
Silver Dollar City has changed since then. There are new attractions and some old ones are no more (anyone remember the Diving Bell?) Then of course, there is the inevitable sell-out to popular culture. It is not as bad as some theme parks. I am thankful that we don't have to confronted with the Nickelodeon culture at every turn. I don't want to see the Hatfield's and the McCoy's flashing gang signs to their boyz and capping each other in the SD Hood over nothing but bling-bling. I am not a fan of clogging, but I don't want to watch a 6th grade dance class version of Brittney's latest video. (I know, Brittney probably isn't even the "in-star" these days. She is so 15 minutes ago).
I like indulging in nostalgia and I like immersing my children in it even though they have no clue. I am also aware that nostalgia is nothing new. In the hotel room is the latest copy of the Ozark Mountaineer. It is a sort of "remember when" hillbilly-living magazine. It contains an article about May Kennedy McCord, a singer-storyteller once known as the Queen of the Hillbillies. The magazine features a reproduction of a 1942 newspaper advertisement of May Kennedy McCord's radio show. The images and captions hint at the "remember when" nature of the show. The main caption says "The World is Still Hungry for the Great Simplicities." I imagine that would have been a very accurate statement during the height of World War 2. I also am struck by the fact that during an age that many remember as a simpler time, the 1940's and 1950's, they were also longing for a simpler age. Is it possible that our desire to return to the Golden Age is really a misunderstood longing for a simpler, more hopeful future?
Let's think about that. You can tell me what you think. In the meantime, I am going back to Silver Dollar City and take in that distinct aroma of stone ground flour, homemade taffy, smokehouse smoke and hot asphalt that is just how remember it.