After a day in Joplin, there was still a night on the town to look forward to. First, however, Kammy drove me to Carthage (just a quick 30 minute drive away) to visit the Civil War Museum. The museum houses an impressive mural depicting the retreat of the Union soldiers through Carthage. There is also a diorama which shows how the “Battle of Carthage” played out. Displays in the museum focused on the Civil War in Missouri, and particularly in the Carthage area. If there had been time, I would have studied each of them.
It was getting late and we had to get back for the Shakespeare Festival. After I checked into the motel, we made our way to Missouri Southern State University, the sponsor of the festival. Nicknamed “MOShakes,” this festival is only in its second year of presenting Shakespeare plays. The production itself was condensed to a reasonable ninety minutes (without intermission), and the cast is made up of local talent as well as college students.
This year MOShakes presented “Twelfth Night,” a comedy involving a woman disguised as a man and the hilarious love triangles that ensue. This version of the play was set in the 1920s, with flappers, the Charleston and argyle. Shakespeare’s words doth pour forth with such speed that their wit does at times pass me o’er, but this play was filled with so much physical comedy you didn’t have to follow the dialogue exactly to enjoy the show. I’ll be on the lookout next year, when perhaps two different Shakespeare plays will be offered. I can see them both, and it will give me an excuse to stay longer at the Boots Court Motel.
Located directly on the original Route 66, The Boots Court Motel is a throwback to the fifties. Four rooms of the motel have been renovated and furnished to look the way it did back in the heyday of the Mother Road’s popularity. With hardwood floors, an old-fashioned alarm clock, and vintage tile work in the bathroom, the rooms are at once homey and elegant. True to the sign out front, there is a radio in each room (and no TV). The radios are professional reproductions and are tuned in to the local Carthage station which broadcasts music from the 1940s and 50s. The Boots Court Motel does offer Wi-Fi, so you can reenter the present if necessary. However, there is something so wholesome about the décor, the nostalgic music, and the excitement of knowing that Route 66 waits just outside the door; it prompts you to be still, and just soak in the simplicity of yesterday.
I saw a lot on my trip to Southwest Missouri. It can be a busy place with so many options for entertainment, dining and museums. There was so much to see it made my head spin. However, I think the memory that will stay strongest with me is of settling into my room at the Boots Court Motel, listening to Patsy Cline crooning about the Nile and tropic sunsets, and then returning home to loved ones.
Written by Sally Anton, a welcome center supervisor for the Missouri Division of Tourism.