Sunday, May 25, 2008


Ahh, Reno. I haven't seen you since I was 9. How have you been? You never wrote, you never called. I thought we had a great time you and I. Remember how much fun we had when we went to Circus Circus? We played all those great midway games like "fill the clown's mouth with a water gun" and "pop the balloon with a dull dart" or "toss the penny in the glass dish and win a goldfish that would later die in 2 days" Remember????

Remember catching a glimpse of the casino that had the big red velvet ropes? We couldn't go in but we knew that whatever was behind there was bad for us (in a good way). All those dressed up ladies in high heels, smoking cigarettes and men with slicked back hair. The sound of ample coins hitting the metal catch tray.

But our love filled vacation only lasted a few days and then I had to go home. Back to the real world of 3rd grade. A world full of sharpened number 2 pencils, learning "Clementine" on the recorder and whether John Cherry really liked me. When I didn't hear from you I was hurt. No, really. You were my...first vacation. There would never be another like you.

Oh sure, there was Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park. There was even a brief tryst with Bedrock Village and Disneyland. But they couldn't compare to you. You with your shiny twinkling lights at night, your lucky smiling leprechaun, your, your...umm. I'm sure you had a lot more to offer than my 9 year old brain could possibly comprehend. I heard the rumors of the other vacation spots and how they talked about you. They said you were dirty and small. That you smelled bad and that there was nothing to do. I always tried to defend you. In my opinion you were just misunderstood. I just KNEW you had the same flare as Paris (or what I imagined it to be). Vegas was the worst. She bad mouthed you for years. Saying you were her ugly step sister. That you had no class. That you were for...gasp...old people!!!

Fast forward 10 (ok..ok, 28) years. Mom is turning 60 and will be in Reno with a girlfriend. Would I fly out and surprise her with her girlfriend's daughters? I don't know. In my mind I'm thinking, "Couldn't we go to Vegas? Isn't Reno kinda, gross?"

Then, as any good type A personality with a guilty complex and an overactive superego knows, I instantly felt bad. Shame on me! So your heart was broken, so what? You got over it. You've moved on. You had some good times with Reno. Give her another try. It's for your MOM damn it!

So, we 3 thirtysomething girls hopped on a plane and went to say "RE YES!!!"

Come on baby, mamma needs a stiff drink, hot young men and some dirty cash. Ok, here's how it went down. This man, "Doc Cheatum" met us in the hotel lobby. Talkin' about the fabulous shows and slots that we were about to experience. Oh, we had some experiences but I wouldn't necessarily call them "fabulous". Our pedicures clouded and clumped. The 1:30am fire alarm going off the the 16th floor, terrifying. The watered down drinks and waiters that could barely speak English let alone get you another glass of water.

But then there was this...
Front row baby! This man with the face of a plastic Clay Aiken gave us the business! We screamed and hollered and generally made fools of ourselves. And he loved it! We were personally invited back any time we wanted. That's right, Greg groupies.

More importantly, mom had a good time. And ya know, upon further reflection, I did too. Reno may not be the ultimate vacation spot but as my camera died while it took one last photo, I realized it might have been a sign. I think this is what I'm supposed to learn...

The colors and memories may be faded, but there will always be a line of traffic and a fat guy walking down your street to see you.

I'm not exactly sure what it means now, but in another 28 years I'm hoping it will make sense.


Kristabel said...

The colors and memories may be faded, but there will always be a line of traffic and a fat guy walking down your street to see you.

Thank god for that! Um...I guess.

Glad you had fun, but I'm still disappointed you came home tattoo-less. xoxox

Keri said...

Well, you know, we don't want to get an infection in a dirty town. ;)

It will happen soon.


Kristabel said...

Huh. Dirty towns are my favorite places to get infections.

Cristina said...

Hmmm. I actually graduated from high school in Incline Village, which is on the north shore of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side, and an astonishing number of my classmates have would up in Reno (something I've NEVER understood... I always figured, if you lived somewhere as beautiful as Tahoe, if you were going to leave, you might as well leave for something else truly splendid).

But I digress.

My mom actually taught English 101 at UNR when I was a sophomore in high school. We'd drive down to Reno two or three times a week (she taught at night), and on Fridays we'd catch whatever art film was playing at the Keystone Cinema. Once you get away from the casinos, there's actually quite a bit to Reno - beautiful residential neighborhoods, a pretty great little university, etc. But still... they destroyed a big bit of it, for me and a lot of other people I knew, when they took down the historic Mapes Hotel in the mid-1990's.

And that's MY Reno bit. Vegas? Don't even go there. For me, the real Nevada (a state I love) is everything BUT Vegas.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it looks so seedy! It must be fabulous in that so bad but you're gonna have great stories kinda way.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

No tattoos? I'm crushed.
My memories of Reno are mixed with summer vacations my family took to Montana.
My parents would drive straight through (twenty-one hours) to Billings, Montana. We always had dinner in Reno, a 3am snack in Winnemuca (we'd travel the desert at night) and Pocatello, Idaho for breakfast.
Reno always spells twilight for me. I don't think I've seen it in the day time. LOL.
Glad you had fun.

Keri said...

Vegas will not be happy to hear that her ugly step sister has multiple fans.

Way to go Reno!!


Kristabel said...

Crossgirl...when are you coming to visit??? Not!

Anonymous said...

Never been to Reno. So it's like a second-rate Vegas?

That's great, because it's the first-rate aspects of Vegas that really sucks.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my plurals doesn't agree.