As a last minute plan for travel entertainment, I went to the library to see if I could find any books on CD for our family to listen to during the drive to Missouri. There wasn't much selection, so the only thing I picked up was "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. The kids had not seen the movie, but at least I had a guess at the story and thought they may enjoy it.
I had no idea it would be a tie that ran through our entire trip. As we began listening to the bleak description of the Kansas prairie- I thought, oh yeah that's where we are heading! And then as the 'cyclone' was described, I realized we would be driving right through Joplin MO where the terrible tornado just hit in May.
And again I was surprised as each of the kids- especially Peter- was so drawn into the story. They kept asking for more (even when video games were an option). Natalie was very concerned that I would stop the story if anyone fell asleep so no one would miss a minute. We spread the 4 hour book over a couple of our driving days and everyone cheered to hear that Dorothy made it home.
On our drive home from MO, we decided to take a back road (54) through KS rather than take interstate 44 through OK & TX. It was a beautiful drive through lots of (very) small towns and included a stop at a national historic site at Fort Scott, KS. We looked ahead on a map and decided that a town called Liberal, KS would be a good place to stay overnight.
As we got closer to the town, we saw road signs saying that Liberal was Dorothy's home! There is a visitor center (that was closed when we arrived) but it had all sorts of memorabilia from the movie as well as a reproduction of Dorothy's house.
What a fun surprise! We took pictures, walked the yellow brick road, and the kids even got to be munchkins.
Then as we began to look for a hotel on Eric's phone, we found a Holiday Inn Express that had a Wizard of Oz Kid's Suite. Eric went in, got a good deal on the room, and we surprised the kids!
There were two rooms- a king size bed for us, and a separate room with bunk beds for the kids. All the rooms had huge murals of scenes from the movie. The kids just ran from spot to spot to check it all out.
After getting settled in with snacks, we rented the movie 'The Wizard of Oz' and all watched it together in the big bed. The music was new to the kids, but soon everyone was singing 'Ding Dong the witch is dead..."
None of this was part of our plans. In addition to health, safety, beauty, and sweet times with family, we got to enjoy this extra special providential memory. The Lord is kind AND generous!