“But, Myrna, it’s supposed to be one of the best places to retire in the entire country,” Bart argued, his brow furrowed and deepened the lines on his sallow forehead. He reminded his wife of a grumpy old cartoon man, one from the Sunday funnies, or maybe an animated fish ready to expel its inky toxin into the water. Myrna and Bart had this discussion on regular basis over the last few weeks, and he had yet to convince her of Branson, Missouri being a viable alternative to their current residence. He was ready to leave the travails of his previous career — and their lifelong home — behind them and make new in a different city. She was not.
His tirade continued, “Come on now … we could get a condo dirt cheap.” Just what she wanted, a dirt cheap condo in a place where she’d rather take a punch in the eye than live. “The kids can come visit us for a change since it’s smack dab in between where they both live, and the grandkids will love it there, too,” Bart feebly added to his argument. Myrna couldn’t be convinced.
She said, “The kids won’t spend the money for fare into that tiny little airport, and Grace and Sam can’t fly by themselves yet. They don’t want to visit us anyway, Bart. Face it – we’re old and boring.” No amount of coaxing about go-kart tracks, water parks, and some place down the highway called Silver Dollar City was going to sway those grandchildren into spending any significant amount of their summer vacation in the sweltering Midwest. Especially not in the Ozarks in the height of its humidity. Or at least no more than a weekend, which their parents — her own children — wouldn’t financially support but cost for which Bart certainly wasn’t going to spring.
He came at her from every angle. “There’s great golf there, I hear. Anderson and his old lady retired there, so he had their development’s realtor send me a personal invitation to take a tour.” Great, she thought sarcastically, just the people I want to associate with in our golden years. “Darling, you know that doesn’t interest me,” she told him. “And his wife was not asked back to our Bunko night after that incident, you remember?” Oh, no, Myrna mentally pleaded – don’t make me spend any more time with that woman.
“She’s been to Betty Ford since then, Myrna, just before they moved.” Bart’s monologue was unending. “Anderson tells me that Andy Williams has a great show, too. You’re always trying to get me to to see crap like that.”
“He died, hon,” Myrna quickly interjected.
“And Anderson says ol’ Dolly Parton has that Dixie Stampede place where you eat supper and watch a Wild West show at the same time! Maybe she’ll be there when we are.” Just what I need, Myrna conjectured, dust settling around the dinner table and buffalo chips flying into my plate. She caught herself squinching the “11” permanently etched between her eyebrows into a cynical mass of perpendicular lines. She simply replied, “That just doesn’t sound very appetizing, Bart.”
He looked forward to a change at finally leaving the rat race. Hours spent with his friend out on the links, leaving the hens behind to do — whatever it is they might do — just no more of their prattling on about nonsense. No more traffic, a life of leisure out on the lake, and people their same age instead of these young bucks who took over his and Anderson’s sales jobs. That is, if his ticker would yet allow it all to happen.
He wouldn’t be deterred from making a final stand. “Oh, listen, gal. I suspect you’ll love it there.” What she didn’t know was that he’d already booked their tickets into the little wood-replicated airport nestled back in the hills that his former colleague had described. They had an appointment at the Palatial Pines Co-op Association coming up the next week, and he’d placed a deposit on one of their charming villas. This is what he’d toiled for his entire adult life. Bart wanted to get there quickly before Yakov Smirnov retired. It’s going to be great, he thought. Everything’s going to be swell.