Laetitia took her group to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Around the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City businessman, purchased 2,500 acres in the Lake of the Ozarks area with the intent of building a home and resort. The project began in 1905 with its centerpiece, a European-style castle. The castle was named after the spring at the bottom of the bluff, originally called Gunter Spring after the previous landowner, but changed by Snyder to Ha Ha Tonka. The latter was allegedly the name that the Osage Indians had given the spring and translates as “laughing waters,” but this has never been verified. Snyder died in a car accident in 1906, but his sons completed the project in 1922. A fire that started from chimney sparks in 1942 gutted the castle, and only the shell remains.
The Lake of the Ozarks has been a tourist attraction for many years. During a happy hour at their motel bar, Laetitia heard a story about a young man named Bill from St. Louis who had planned to court a local farm girl named Lou from nearby Mack’s Creek. He had met her at a dance held by the resort where he and his family were staying. While they danced, she painted a wonderfully romantic vision of farm life. He was enchanted with the idea of a bucolic life with her until the day he arrived unannounced to ask her out and it happened to be at chore time. The story was the source of the limerick of the day.
Bill’s plan to woo Lou from Mack’s Creek
With a film and a dance cheek to cheek
Soon went to the dogs
When he saw her slop hogs
And decided she wasn’t so chic.