That’s right – I went to Branson, MO. It shocks even my closest friends that I go to Branson, MO.
If you met me, you would know that I swear a lot, enjoy a good cocktail and I’m Jewish.
Why does being Jewish matter when talking about Branson?
Branson, MO, for those of you not from the Midwest, is like Las Vegas, but for Jesus – basically it’s minus all the sinning. The Tea Party Headquarters are located in Branson, MO if that gives you any idea. Branson is known for their amusement park – Silver Dollar City that I’ve been going to since I was a child. It’s a theme park centered around the Pioneer Days of the 1860s and it’s heavy on three things 1. apple butter 2. rides and 3. Jesus. It’s like if the Duggar’s could create their own amusement park it would be Silver Dollar City.
Remember, I’m from Kansas City so there aren’t many cool places to go for day trips from here. Branson is about as exciting as it gets.
Off to Silver Dollar City we went the day after Thanksgiving. Turns out about 10,000 of my closest friends also decided to go to Silver Dollar City the day after Thanksgiving. It was packed with everyone wanting to celebrate a Very Merry Pioneer Christmas.
It took me about 12 hours to get used to saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Everyone in Branson says Merry Christmas. No Happy Holidays allowed. I think it’s a town ordinance.
I went into a gift shop in Silver Dollar City looking for an office gift for our holiday party. The woman working in the store approached me asking if she could help me find anything.
“Yes, I’m looking for something for a holiday party gift for the office,” I said.
“One of the things I always recommend that makes a nice gift is a Nativity scene, ” she said.
I stood shocked for a moment. I’m sorry, did I say that I worked for a church? I believe I said an office holiday party. Baby Jesus is not something that comes to mind when I think of my co-workers. I was thinking more along the lines of a roll of toilet paper that read “in case you get crap for Christmas.” I scored major points that moment for not blurting out laughing or making my WTF face that involves my eyebrows wrinkling up together and my lip curling.
“No, I’m sorry. I don’t think that will work,” I said as sweet as I could muster.
Then she said it. Something I didn’t have a response ready for.
“That’s fine. Have a blessed day.”
Have a blessed day? What do I do with that? It’s not a simple Merry Christmas reply that so easy. You say Merry Christmas and I say, “have a Merry Christmas” and the conversation is complete.
I started to sweat with anxiety searching for the right response. There wasn’t time to excuse myself and ask SIRI for help. I was flying solo.
Do I say, “thank you” and walk out of the store? Does that mean I don’t think she’s having a blessed day or that I don’t want her to have a blessed day? It seems kind of selfish to just say thank you and be so one sidedly blessed. I imagined myself walking away that the store clerk grabbing the other store clerks and gossiping about me as I left. “Can you believe she didn’t say anything back to me as I wished her a blessed day? The nerve of some people not to bless other people’s days. She must be Jewish.”
Then I thought I would just say “bless you.” Wait! That’s just for sneezes. She didn’t sneeze. I would be misusing that response for a non-sneeze reply. Surely there is a Christian rule that I would be violating. They would probably march me right out of the park and tell me never to return.
How about, “I hope you have a blessed day as well.” OMG that is an entire sentence! I might as well pull up a chair and we both sit down and grab some coffee and gab a little bit with a sentence as lengthy as that. It would take me fifteen minutes just to spit out that entire sentence. People would have come and left her gift shop and she would have lost sales by the time it took me to spit out that sentence. Her day most definitely wouldn’t have been blessed by the number of sales she would have lost by me uttering that sentence.
Finally I settled on an uncomfortable and sweaty nod and realized that I really needed a cocktail. All this blessing stressed me out. Damn you Silver Dollar City and your no drinking policy! Maybe the lesson in this whole thing is I really should have gone to Vegas where I belong.