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Besides planning trips, Burdell also writes this weekly column which tells about sports happenings now and 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago, sometimes a trip down memory lane that some of you may relate to, what the Ancient Sportsman (Burdell) and Ancient-ess (Charlotte) have been up to and about trips they have been on. Each week is a new adventure.
Tales of the 
Ancient Sportsman
    Wow and double wow! What a fabulous end to the week. It is Sunday night and we have just returned from the Branson Praise Fest in Branson Mo. at the Mansion Theatre. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were three days of blessing on top of blessing. I sometimes had to pinch myself to see if I was still in my body. It almost seemed like I had died and gone to Heaven. 
    I must admit that after a long winter of covering basketball games and wrestling meets, the Praise Fest was just what the doctor ordered. I’m not lying when I tell you that after the Rose Bowl Parade tour, I had visions of my tour directing days coming to an end.
    But God had just the tonic that I needed. That tonic came in the form of 45 of the most wonderful and caring travelers you could ever ask for and a dynamic bus driver that kept things lively. My soul and spirit were revived and I am certainly not done. Oh yes, some of the big overseas trips by airline and maybe some of the 10-to-12 day trips may be a thing of the past, but there are plenty of trips that we still can do.
    We left at 7:00 am Thursday morning from Altoona and made pickups in Pella and Oskaloosa on our way to Branson. We made it to Branson in time for dinner at the Dockside Café and then we were on our way to the Mansion Theatre for the evening session. The Crabb Family, the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five and Tim Lovelace were all excellent and I was particularly blessed by the Booth Brothers.
    Friday morning, Dr. Steve Gaines presented the morning message and he was top shelf. The music of the morning was provided by the Guardians, Greater Vision and the Kramer’s and they were all super. 
    We went to the IMAX complex for lunch at McFarlin’s and then it was off to Sight and Sound Theatre for the musical “Queen Esther”. I have seen most every Sight and Sound production in Branson and I must admit that this one tops them all. The sets, the costuming, the music, the animals and every part of the show was superb. If you are in Branson, you need to see this show. But read the book of Esther first and it will come to life.
    Just when I thought that I couldn’t be anymore blest, we went to the Friday evening show. The Hoppers and Greater Vision, just blew me away. I was riding in high cotton as it is said in the south.
    Now, I was looking for springtime in Branson. Daffodils were in bloom and the white flowering trees were in bloom, but on Friday and Saturday it was frigid and the wind was outrageous. Burrr! 
    The bus parking at the Mansion Theatre was right in front of the door and believe me, It didn’t take long to get from the bus to inside that door. The high light of the morning session for me was the Chuck Wagon Gang. They sounded just like the earlier group sounded on our barn radio in the 1940’s. The Blackwood Brothers hosted a morning Gospel Music show on KMA radio and sometimes they would feature the old Chuck Wagon Gang. I was taken back to my childhood.
    My afternoon plan was to take the group to downtown Branson so they could grab a bite to eat and maybe do a little shopping at Dick’s 5 & 10. But only 16 chose to go downtown. The rest opted for relaxing at the hotel. 
    We stayed in Branson for the Saturday evening show at the Mansion and it was “An Evening with the Collingsworth Family”. What a show! This family gets better and better. Phil and Kim now have six grandchildren joining them on the stage and another is on the way. 
    We headed for home on Sunday morning and had church on the bus. What a blessed time. And then everything broke loose. I had planned for lunch at the Golden Corral in Columbia, but they had experienced a fire and were temporarily closed. Plan B was the Cracker Barrel. I called them and they assured me that they could take us, but there would probably be a 30 minute delay. When we arrived the wait time was now two hours. No thank you.  Just down the street was a KFC, a McDonalds and a Wendy’s all in a row. We parked the bus and scattered to the three. At KFC the computer went down and they were helpless, at Wendy’s they were having problems with computer overload and it took a while to wade through that. All of this proves my longtime theory. That theory states that to err is human, but to really screw things up requires a computer. 
     We survived and we had everybody home before dark. Yes, I am very tired, but so overly blessed. I am ready to get back to work and I have a track meet to cover Thursday if the weather is fit. I am fired up and ready.