Names have been changed to protect the identity of the party involved.

With that said I want to tell you about an incident, I had in Reno while visiting my son’s family, Matt, Monica, little precious Evelyn, and my newest sweetie Amelia.

Monica and Matt wanted our visit to be joyful (which it was), wonderful (which it absolutely was), and to experience the delights of Christmas. They bought a ticket to visit The North Pole Village and were excited to show their two-year-old the wonder of Christmas lights.

We hopped into the truck, Monica sat between the babies and I sat between bulky men’s shoulders. It took maybe 15 minutes to arrive in the town where the North Pole was located. Because of covid, this was to be viewed from the car. First, of course, was a stop at a Starbucks to get hot cocoa to sip while we saw the show of a lifetime. The show ran from 5 to 8 and was approximately 20 minutes long.

We were running a little behind schedule, we had hoped to arrive when it opened at 5, but I won’t go there. Unfortunately, the first Starbucks was closed, (HUH?) so we had to find another one. Finally, with cocoa in hand, we sped on toward our destination.

We missed the turnoff, but not because we didn’t see the sign. There wasn’t anything to saw this way to the North Pole, nothing. Using the GPS we flipped around and came to a pitch-black turn-off with a barely readable street sign. No lights, no lit-up sign saying you have arrived, well I guess that’s because we hadn’t yet.  We drove down this dark narrow road and the only sign we did come across said ‘landfill ahead’. Just as we began to think it was all a scam, up ahead a blinking sign pointed left for The North Pole Village.

Turning, we came to a dead stop. A line of cars as far as we could see wound up a hill. No one was moving. Finally, 4 -5 cars descended, but it was hard to tell from where they first made their appearance. We inched forward and not by the length of 5 cars, I mean we might have advanced 2 feet. There was barely room for them to pass us as it seemed to have grown even narrower with a ditch on either side.

The time was 6:00, 5 more cars came down and we inched forward. By 7:00 we were no closer to our goal except more cars had piled up behind us and there was no way to turn around. We were stuck. It was time to feed Amelia and I was glad Evelyn was in a diaper. There were no bathrooms so I wasn’t about to sip anything!

I want to make a note here. We thought this was going to be a great show by the smiles on the people’s faces as they passed us on their way out. By 8:00 we were close to the top.

An elf ran up to the window and said, “Please turn off your headlights and turn your radio to FM 87.7.

Well, Matt couldn’t turn them off. He tried everything and they just wouldn’t shut off. I fiddled with the radio dial and got to 88.1 then it jumped to 107.3.

We reached the crest of the hill and there in front of us was some poorly constructed building fronts, with a dim string of lights strung across the top. They were so dim I wondered if a fog had rolled in and encased them. I mean it was very sad. Monica had bought the ticket back in September so they had what— 3 1/2 months to build the sets. I’ve seen better sets made by high school drama students!

By now we’re laughing because nothing was going right and besides it was laugh or cry, what else could we do?

We slowly pulled forward toward the first building with a dancing snowman, of course, we had no music going so it was dancing to dead air. When we came up adjacent to him he stopped and went around the corner, to take a break. My son yelled for him to get back here and dance for his daughter. All the time we’re laughing at the joke that was pulled on us. The next ‘building’ had two shuffling elves and the next two staggering reindeer. All along I thought, okay this is just like the prelude we’ll go through the metal building in front of us and the show will begin.

Nope, we had to make a hard u-turn in front of the metal structure, which Matt’s truck couldn’t make without swiping Santa and Mrs. Claus out of their living room, so he had to back up and turn. That was the end of the 20-minute show which took 1 1/2 minutes to view.

As we left we saw the cars lined up which took us 2 hours to ascend the hill. It was 29 degrees outside and they were supposed to be closed by now. These dancing whatevers still had two more hours of shuffling. Now I know why the people were grinning at us. They were saying “Suckers”.

My poor daughter-in-law kept apologizing but it wasn’t her fault. She had bought the ticket based on the rave reviews of this organization’s pre-covid shows.

I have to say that my granddaughters took it well. Not a peep came out of the 1-month-old or the 2-year-old, thank goodness. Could you imagine 3 hours of screaming babies, stuck in the car, and no way to escape?

But the memory will be priceless when we speak of it next year. My husband said, “Give it a rest, Gay.” My response was, “But it was the most awful-est show ever!”


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