Michelle Martin

Easter on the road

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It’s been a while since we have been away from home for a major holiday, but this year, we had Easter on the road. We took a short trip to the Ozarks over the Easter weekend just to get out of town for a while, to take time to reconnect as a family and break the routines that make everyday life work, but can also become ruts that are difficult to escape.

Maybe a short trip is an exaggeration; getting to the environs of Branson, Mo., takes a bit more than eight hours of driving, given decent traffic conditions. But we didn’t want to fly with a family of five. Between the expense and the inconvenience of getting ourselves through airports and whatnot, the trip would have been more trial by fire than relaxing interlude. And an eight-hour drive can be done in one day, provided you leave enough time for breaks.

While Branson itself offers a truly world-class collection mostly country music shows and “family attractions” such as go-carts and minigolf, that wasn’t really the attraction. What drew us was a condo in a resort a few miles out of town, with space enough for the kids to spread out, a kitchen so that we didn’t have to endure three restaurant meals a day and an inunit washer and dryer. Never underestimate the importance of laundry facilities when traveling with children.

That there was an outdoor pool, and weather just warm enough for the kids to use it, was a bonus.

So we spent three days mostly hanging around the resort, going to the pool and the playground, renting a boat for a couple of hours to spend time on the lake, playing board games and watching playoff hockey on TV. Caroline spent a fair amount of time on homework. Apparently, AP U.S. History has no respect for school breaks. Teresa joined other young guests at an Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning, only after we promised that the Easter bunny who appeared would stay away from her if she stayed away from him. She finds adults in fullbody character costumes “creepy,” to use her word. She had great fun scooping the plastic eggs off the grass, even if most of the candy they contained went uneaten.

Frank took himself to the basketball court and down the water slide, set up his computer to watch one hockey game while another played on the TV (did I mention we watched hockey?) and drew compliments from other shoppers at Walmart for how nicely he treated his baby sister.

We managed to color eggs and Teresa found them in the condo Easter morning, before we packed up the minivan, attended Mass (make sure to visit Our Lady of the Lake Church in Branson if you’re in the area; it’s a parish with 450 families has a church that seats 1,200 to accommodate guests) and headed back. Easter lunch was at a Sonic Burger outside Springdfield, Mo. Dinner was at a Bob Evans in Springfield, Ill. Easter Monday morning found us back at work, a little tired from the drive, but grateful for the rest.


  • michelle martin
  • family room