McKenzie’s Branson Brainteaser

BOOK: McKenzie’s Branson Brainteaser
3.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

© 2011 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Edited by Jeanette Littleton.

Print ISBN 978-1-60260-401-8

eBook Editions:
Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-60742-441-3
Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-60742-442-0

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.

Scripture taken from the H
, N
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

Cover design: Thinkpen Design

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683,

Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses

Printed in the United States of America.
Dickinson Press Inc., Grand Rapids, MI 49512; April 2011; D10002783


“Yeee-iiikes!” McKenzie screeched. The amusement park's Giant Swing launched her seven stories high through barn doors and into the blue sky.

“Woo-hoo!” Sydney cried, clutching the bar across her lap.

McKenzie's stomach felt like it leaped into her throat. Her curly auburn ponytail whipped her face. The ride, which was housed in a red barn, swung like a clock pendulum, rising and falling. Back and forth the swing soared, its riders screaming.

When the swing sailed high above the barn, McKenzie caught a quick view of Silver Dollar City, a theme park in Branson, Missouri. Far beneath her, the ground swayed, making her dizzy. The lush Ozark hills surrounding the park seemed to rise and fall.

The swing dropped backward until McKenzie was almost hanging upside down. Her stomach tingled with each rise and fall. She gripped the lap bar so tightly her knuckles turned white.

The swing flung the group of riders back and forth until McKenzie thought she would throw up. Finally the swinging slowed and soon halted.

McKenzie's knees felt like wet noodles as she slipped beneath the safety bar and tried to stand. “Wow, was that ever cool!”

Sydney beamed, her white teeth a contrast against her skin. Her brown eyes flashed beneath dark lashes. The cornrows laced with tiny rainbow-colored beads in her short black hair clinked as she swung her head. “I thought I was going to fall out on my head,” she said with a laugh.

The girls stumbled to the ride's exit along with the crowd of other riders. Laughter and chattering voices filled the air. The rumble of the PowderKeg roller coaster thundered in the background.

“We have to go on that!” McKenzie exclaimed, watching the cars streak along the rails, twisting and turning as the riders shrieked. “But we probably won't have time today. I have to head to the Dixie Showcase and get ready for the show this afternoon.”

“I can't wait to watch you,” Sydney said. “Aren't you nervous?”

McKenzie nodded. Though she'd performed in front of thousands of people at rodeos, the Dixie Showcase was different. People from all around the world came to Branson to watch the Civil War horse performance. McKenzie's job was to wear a southern belle dress and ride a horse around an arena. While the audience feasted on a meal, she and other performers warned the rebels that the Yankees were coming.

“I'm not as nervous now as I was two weeks ago when I first started, though,” McKenzie answered. “It's getting easier all the time. I am so glad Mom's friend Miss Val invited you to come visit me for the week. We'll have so much fun.”

A warm summer breeze ruffled McKenzie's hair. Overhead, the leaves rustled in the treetops. Flowerbeds sprouted in rainbow colors around the tree trunks. Shops built to look like log cabins lined the maze of walkways. Inside the shops, tourists could buy all kinds of souvenirs and handcrafted items.

“Branson is such a cool town.” Sydney stepped into a jewelry shop to look at an earring display. “And I just love Silver Dollar City. I've never been to a theme park where pioneer arts and crafts are made. I feel like I've stepped back in time to the 1800s.”

“Except for the rides,” McKenzie said, picking up a pair of dangling hoops. “They're definitely not 1800s.”

“Neither are these.” Sydney grabbed a pair of wire earrings embedded with red, blue, and green stones. She held them up to her ears. “How do they look?”

McKenzie looked up. “Great. They're definitely you.”

“I'm getting them.” Sydney pulled a handful of bills from her jean shorts pocket. She handed them to a man wearing old-fashioned black pants, suspenders, and a white shirt.

“We'd better head to the basket weaver's shop. Miss Val is probably ready to start training you after she takes me to the Dixie Showcase.” McKenzie glanced at her watch.

Sydney grabbed her change and the bag. Then the girls headed down the old-fashioned Main Street, past the general store. When they reached the basket shop, they inched around the crowd of people gathered inside. A young man sat on a wooden stool weaving baskets with thin strips of wood.

“Hey, girls!” a familiar voice called out.

McKenzie looked to the back of the shop. A middle-aged woman approached them, wearing a long brown dress and a faded yellow sunbonnet hanging around her neck.

“Are we late?” McKenzie asked Miss Val, her mother's friend from college who had recently moved to Branson.

“Right on time.” Miss Val wiped her hands on her stained white apron. Turning to Sydney, she said, “Are you ready to help me in the basket-weaving demonstration?”

“I'm ready.” Sydney bounced on the tip of her toes.

“I thought you were taking me to the Dixie Showcase.” McKenzie traced her finger across the top of a burgundy and blue basket hanging from a hook.

“I've had to change plans.” Miss Val tucked a strand of long reddish-blond hair behind her ear. “I have to cover for Andy while he takes a lunch break. I found someone to give you a ride to the Showcase.”

McKenzie opened her mouth to speak, but a tall, thin teenaged girl walked up beside them. Her long, curly blond hair was pulled up in a high ponytail. Her orange T-shirt hung loosely over her faded blue jeans. She smiled shyly at the girls and then turned to Miss Val.

“Hi, Shara,” Miss Val said, smiling at the teenager. “Girls, this is Shara Hayden. Her mother is a friend of mine. Shara, meet McKenzie Phillips and Sydney Lincoln.”

After the girls greeted Miss Val's friend, she continued, “Shara just started working at the Dixie Showcase helping out with the horses. She's offered to give you a ride, McKenzie.”

McKenzie couldn't help feeling a little envious of Shara. She absolutely loved horses. Though she had been chosen to perform at the Dixie Showcase, she would have been just as happy to clean horse stalls. Back home on her parents' farm in Montana, she helped take care of their small herd of horses.

Shara turned to McKenzie. “I'll be glad to help out whenever I can,” she said with a smile. “Are you ready?”

McKenzie nodded. She turned to Miss Val, hanging baskets on display hooks. “Are you still planning to pick me up after the performance?”

“Yes, Sydney and I are coming to the show, and then we'll find you afterward,” Miss Val agreed.

McKenzie followed Shara out of the shop while Miss Val led Sydney into the back room to change into a pioneer costume.

Shara led McKenzie through the crowd of people bustling about. McKenzie sniffed the fragrant smells of the flowers and trees lining the walkways. Her stomach rumbled as aromas wafted from the concession stands. Kettle corn, saltwater taffy, funnel cakes, barbecue sandwiches. She suddenly remembered how hungry she was.

Since both girls had to work through the supper hour, they stopped at a sandwich shop for hamburgers. They ate while walking toward the parking lot.

“What brings you to Branson?” Shara asked, licking a bit of ketchup off her lower lip.

“The Dixie Showcase has hired kids from across the nation to be a part of their performances. Since I was crowned Montana's Junior Miss Rodeo Queen, I was offered the job. It sounded like a lot of fun, so Mom and Dad let me come down and stay with Miss Val for a month. They're going to drive down from Montana at the end of the month and take me home.” McKenzie took another bite of hamburger.

“Wow! You're a real rodeo queen? Is your friend Sydney working at the Showcase, too?” Shara sipped from her soft drink cup.

“No, she just flew down from Washington DC last night to stay at Miss Val's house with me. She's going to work with Miss Val and some of the other crafters at Silver Dollar City for a week. Then she has to head back home.” McKenzie shoved the last of her sandwich in her mouth and tossed the wrapper in a trash can beside a split-rail fence.

“How did you girls meet? You live so far from each other,” Shara said, moving through the crowd of people.

“We met at a place called Camp Discovery.” McKenzie nearly collided with a little boy running by, blowing an old-fashioned wooden train whistle. “Four other girls shared a cabin with us, and we all became really good friends. Even though we live in different parts of the country, we keep in touch all the time. We call ourselves the Camp Club Girls. We solved a mystery while we were there. Now, we often solve mysteries together.”

BOOK: McKenzie’s Branson Brainteaser
3.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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