THE SISTER, FRIEND, FATHER AND MOTHER LODE
I’ve hit them all.
By definition, the mother lode in gold mining terms is the principal vein or zone of gold. It is also used to refer to the real or imaginary origin of something valuable or in great abundance.
As parents go, our father and mother were the most valuable treasures we had in our family. My sisters and brothers continue to be treasures as well.
And, because one can never have too many friends, I can also say that with each new friend I make, I continue to hit the friend lode.
The Sister Lode was conceived three years ago on one of our sister trips to Cripple Creek, Colorado, which is a gold-mining town with ongoing mining, and where the mother lode was struck in 1890. Its history is that of a bust-boom-bust-and boom again town. Casinos replaced the empty storefronts when gambling was legalized there in 1991, and it has continued to grow since.
We have done our part to help it grow.
Since 2010, we have traveled to this peaceful mountain town typically twice each year; first in March to observe our parents’ passing, but especially to celebrate their lives, and then back again in the fall. The celebrating keeps getting easier, and more fun.
If you know Gail, it won’t surprise you to know that many people in this small town remember her from previous visits, especially the Blackjack dealers and the pit bosses at her favorite casino, The Brass Ass. And this is a good thing.
Gail even made new friends along the way at her favorite stop along the way, the Pop-A-Top saloon in Peyton, Colorado.
Usually, Suzanne joins Gail and me. However, the altitude has taken its toll on her during the last few visits, so she decided to stay home this time. It’s never the same without her, so we anticipate the day when we can take an epic trip—likely of her design and plan—with all three of us. Until then, the show must go on.
No one could ever take her place, and we don’t want anyone to try. To prove this, we enlarged and copied an iconic photo of ourselves on the grand stairway of our favorite inn, the one we have chosen to make our home away from home since 2014. The existing picture in our favorite corner room featured three cute little bunnies, so we saw it fitting to replace it with three other cute little bunnies.
We took a shot of the Ferris Wheel along the way for Suzanne, she’s got a thing for them, and we did ride this one several years ago. It was shortly after her birthday, and it was a slow day at the park. We asked the Ferris wheel operator if she could have a special ride in honor of her recent birthday, one that perhaps was a bit faster than he would normally let it go. We got off, she had the wheel to herself and after that one-of-a-kind ride, he probably lost his job.
Despite the fact that Suzanne cannot be replaced, we found someone who deserved a long-overdue getaway, and she became our traveling companion.
Gail’s friend Margaret had been there perhaps thirty years ago, so it was time for her to go again. I had met her prior to this trip, but this was my opportunity to get to know her. She is now a member of my friend lode.
I would say we showed Margaret a good time, but I think it is more fitting to say that Gail showed her a good time. If the first night out was any indication, she knew she was in for a ride. Speaking of rides, Gail and Margaret dragged in six hours after I tucked myself in, forced to bum a ride from the blackjack dealer as he finished his shift. They didn’t know the shuttle buses stopped running at 2 a.m.
Three strikes, and they were out. (Be sure to zoom in on the sign.)
There was no monetary currency won that night—or any time throughout the trip, but our winnings were much more valuable than any jackpot.
We ate at our favorite restaurants,
I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between this picture, and this classic birthday photo of Gail I posted on her party post several weeks ago…
Took in the scenery,
And took advantage of several photo ops.
We shopped at our favorite shops, bringing home another jewelry jackpot—we always win at 9494–the town’s altitude, as well as our all-time favorite place to find more Colorado treasures. If you ever make it to Cripple Creek, you must stop there, too.
The mother lode was there for us again, just not in monetary terms. Anywhere we go together, we can feel the father lode, too. This time, the friend lode was a bonus. And, as always, The Sister Lode is the greatest treasure we continue to share.