Fitting in the big picture

Friday, September 28, 2012
News editor Murray Bishoff

There are times we seem to live in a unique area, separate from the comings and goings of the rest of the world. At other times, we seem to be right in the middle of it.

In a trip this week across central Iowa, it was interesting to study the corn crop. In places, the corn was as stunted and dry as the crop has generally looked around southwest Missouri. In other places, the crop seemed unusually green for this time of the year. A lot of the corn was shorter than most years. In eastern Iowa, the corn grew to its normal full height, but was being cut now before it had fully dried in the field.

At least in eastern Iowa, which has the richest soil in the world, the corn still grew despite the stress of the weather. Two years of parched summers shriveled a large percentage of southwest Missouri's corn, enough to remind farmers why corn hasn't been the dominant local crop.

Despite the temptation to try again next year with the high demand for corn, it might be time to plant a different crop until this drought cycle has passed.

We felt another national phenomena gracing our area this week when suddenly Andy Williams was taken away from us. Williams, the first great national performer to come to Branson and stay, lent real class to the southwest Missouri entertainment center.

With his Moon River Theater, Williams showed how the Branson model could work well for performers of his stature. Williams' presence also helped to draw other big stars for short and extended stays to Branson. The economic impact of Williams' tenure in Branson over the past 20 years has been enormous.

We owe Williams a thanks for his $12 million gamble in building such a classy theater, and for two decades of wildly popular Christmas shows that helped cement Branson as a holiday trip center. Never the troublesome temperamental star like some who have come and gone in Branson, Williams really fit in with Missourians.

We will miss what Williams was able to do in substantially boosting Branson as a tourism capital which benefitted all southwest Missouri communities. We will also miss him as a feel-good ambassador for what we have to offer to the nation at large.

Sometimes it only takes a chance to bring out the quality of local offerings. Williams gave us that chance, and we're glad our area showed the nation, through him, that southwest Missouri has a lot to offer.