Smoke, Country Music, and #506

Amber and I vacationed the last three days of spring break in the Rocky Mountains. We started our trek in Jasper, taking in the bitter winds and brown scenery along with the royal peaks. We checked out some of the sights and then continued south along highway 93 with poor driving conditions. There was snow. And there was ice. But best of all, there were mountains, mountains it felt like no one else had ever seen. Awe, they rocked. I got to take lots of photos with my NIKON camera.

We rounded out our vacation by visiting Lake Louise and Banff and then hiking out to Siffleur Falls. We spent both of our nights at The Crossing (full commendation) at Saskatchewan River Crossing. They had a great deal for the weekend and a draw for a 3-night stay at Lizard Creek Lodge in Fernie, BC – apparently a 4 1/2 diamond superduper place. So, Saturday night they have this draw, but they have other little draws before it – for T-shirts and the like – and they make these draws every 30 minutes. Amber refused to go to the Tavern because of the smoke and her responsibility as the carrier of the future’s most brilliant and gorgeous child, so I get to hang around by myself. They announced the winner of the joke telling contest – a joke I will never repeat, I have a better one, too bad I didn’t know about the contest, I would have won for sure – and then I wait. Well, there wasn’t much to do. My room number was #506 and I just basically sat there wondering if my number was even on one of the BINGO balls they were drawing from. The atmosphere music sharply changed after 4 classic songs (“Mr. Jones” and the like) to heavy country music – to which I am not at all familiar, nor of which am I partial. It did not cease. Of course there was smoke too. And no hockey on the TV – it wasn’t even on. I watched the bartender tend. I watched the drinkers drink. I watched the pool players shoot. I sat and watched. The second draw and the third and fourth were not #506. I was resigned to the fact that I would be there until midnight. But then a funny thing happened – the man doing the drawing announced that the final draw would take place in about 20 minutes. Well, it was only 10:20 pm, so my evening was already looking up.

The minutes ticked away, or rather they smeared away. The music dimmed to match the lighting and the draw guy stepped forward. I was sitting back in the corner by now, watching a man get beaten badly by a woman at pool. A guy at the bar from Grande Prairie did a drum roll on the counter and the ball was chosen – #506. I was perhaps visibly shaken, but probably not. I meandered to the front to the applause of strangers, clutching my keys and grinning euphorically. I presented my #506 room key and accepted the winning handshake.

Moments later, I burst into our room to see Amber comfortably watching an episode of Law and Order. I presented her with the news and events surrounding the news. Amber was pleased, and surprised. I was relieved and very anxious to use the bathroom.

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