meeting-andy-williamsSo glad my family explored Branson, Missouri before Andy Williams died. Didn’t process anything significant when he hugged me in his Moon River Grill. 2009 was the year. Now that I’m reading his obituary, and Facebook is filled with memories and audio videos, I appreciate anew the deeper benefits of family travel.

My son Adam Fristoe the actor recently asked me what kind of music I listened to all my early years. Musing, he was, about the influences on his life.

Certainly didn’t think about Andy Williams that conversation, more Grace Slick and Pete Seeger, maybe James Taylor. Joan Baez for sure.


Andy WilliamsAndy Williams in his restaurant, relaxed in a sweater, circulating the tablesJimmy Dorsey from his grandparents’ dancing era. My folks.

But when the news about Andy’s death arrived, I hummed his tunes. Curious, isn’t it, when and how family memories arrive?

Perhaps for my blended family that means go and see, watch and experience. Later might mean something.

marilynMarilyn Monroe silkscreen by Andy Warhol, one of many works of art filling the walls of the Moon River Grill.Singing with his three brothers, Bob, Dick and (no, not Harry) Don, in Iowa was the start and “Swinging on a Star” with Bing Crosby became a 1944 hit.

Most significant to me in Andy’s Moon River Grill were his mother’s recipes. That’s what we were eating.

Guess he was seen as a humble man despite his fame and fortune, because those Mom recipes seemed just right, not a big deal – just my kind of family travel.

Books fit into the memories too: the ones I read to the boys I birthed, and now to grandchildren. That’s because “Eloise” author Kay Thompson teamed up with the Williams boys in 1947 for nightclub acts.

How’s that for musing about family travel? Meaning then. Meaning later. And the opportunity for multi-generational conversations about music, art, literature … and death and dying.

Maybe I’ll head to the library to check out Andy’s autobiography released in 2009, “Moon River and Me” to keep my observations flowing.

Christine Tibbetts ( is a university-trained journalist, writing for 40+ years and blending a family of multiple generations through marriages.

dancingBlended Family TMOM Christine Tibbetts learned a few dance steps at Silver Dollar City in Branson after lunching with Andy Williams in 2009.