Gary Willson on stage at the Grand Palace

Mom flew  into Wichita and I drove up from Kiowa. We spent the night, leaving for Branson in the morning.   She had tickets to Dino Kartsonakis at The Grand Palace Theater that seated four thousand, Andy Williams Moon River Theater,  Jim Stafford Show,  Bobby Vinton,  and the Branson Belle Show Boat.  We spent three days and two nights.  I had no intention of being part of the act at the Grand Palace, but with your mother sitting beside you with a sharp elbow I was persuaded to volunteer.  I often get asked if I was nervous.  The answer is no.  After spending nineteen years at the keyboard and performing before even larger audiences, my only concern was that I hoped Dino didn’t mess up…..(only kidding).  I didn’t think Mom had heard me play in public since my high school graduation, so that was another reason for going on stage.   Our Branson trip was a trip….What was unique was a Ruby Tuesday Restaurant across from our Motel, and the bartender knew how to fix mom’s favorite drink,  so we stopped for a nite-cap and of course mom was famous there after two nights sitting at the bar….It was the first time Mom and I have traveled together, it wasn’t a world cruise but it was instilled as an unforgettable.


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