RED SUEDE COWGIRL SHOES…and other necessary extravagances.
Greetings from the splendidly beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. It is time once again for our semi-annual Go West, Young Women trek. Sadly, Suzanne is not with us this time; she chose to stay behind rather than fight the altitude sickness. While we completely understand and support her decision, it is never the same without her.
But we must forge on without her, so we do. She sends her blessings with us.
As we all know, the world has changed in the last seven months. Cripple Creek, Colorado has changed as well since our last trip here in early March. Social distancing and mask-wearing are the norm, which precludes some of our favorite activities, namely, table games in the casinos—Gail’s favorite. Some slot machines are spaced with every other one out of commission if they are close to each other, and some are divided by plexiglass. Still, we managed to have fun.
“Fun,” as a noun, is defined as “enjoyment, amusement or lighthearted pleasure.”
Having fun, as we see it, is a priority in life. We agree with the wise doctor:
In “Red Leather Cowboy Boots,” (June 7th, 2020), I wrote about the awesome cowboy boots I purchased after my quest to do just that. This weekend, in Colorado, I broke them in.
It was indeed fun.
My friend Shari helped me find my perfect pair, and several weeks ago on our trip (Plan B: Let’s Sea, October 4th) I helped her find her perfect pair. While she was shopping in the vast western store in Oklahoma City, I discovered some western-themed footwear that I didn’t know existed. These shoes sucked me in, and I was hooked. Except that I couldn’t find the perfect pair that spoke to me, so my next quest was to find them online.
And I did. And they are fun.
I broke them in this weekend, the day after I broke in the boots. When I found these Ariat Cruisers, in the “Vintage Cowgirl” print online, they screamed fun, and then they whispered my name. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist.
Among the various fun activities Gail and I engaged in while nestled behind Pikes Peak in this quaint little mining/gambling town, was simply relaxing in our room. We stayed in our favorite inn, and, as always, we were welcomed back with open arms.
Massages are not Gail’s jam, but once again, I received a fabulous treatment from Joanne, the in-house masseuse extraordinaire. While I wouldn’t call it fun, exactly, it does help to free me up and relax me to enjoy the other lighthearted pleasures we partake in.
Gail rarely sits down to watch TV, but when she is away from home, she allows herself this lighthearted pleasure. We watched the good old favorite Saturday morning cartoons,
The movie “Matilda” was showing later, and it caught our interest.
Matilda, the main character, is a little girl who possess extraordinary telekinetic powers, and generally tries to make life fun. She struggles with the mean and nasty teacher/headmistress at her school, who had this quote on the classroom wall behind her:
“If you are having fun, you are not learning.”
We beg to differ. Some learning, by nature, is not fun. I recall not having a lot of fun in my high school math classes, but I did learn a lot, mostly how to persevere.
We would argue that you can learn more by having fun. These are the memories that stick; the memories that we carry with us because the memories of the fun we have is often a close second to the actual fun while we are having it.
Above all, we have learned that having fun is a choice. Fun, whether it is a simple picnic in the park, or a long weekend away—or perhaps a week away on vacation, is sometimes something we fight against. Fun doesn’t have to cost anything, or take a lot of time. Watching a good movie, having dinner with friends or playing cards is great fun.
If your plans for fun, however, involve an expenditure of a considerable amount of money or time, then there are other factors that must be considered. I hate to admit it, but I still wrestle with the guilt that tries to spoil my fun when I think about how I should be at work, and shouldn’t be spending money. When I am with my sisters, I quickly beat down the little voice that reminds me “you are abandoning your family again,” because it always tries to be heard. My children are grown and my husband is quite independent without me there—he was an ace bachelor for years. They all encourage me to go, but still, that voice keeps trying. Each time I shush it, it becomes a little more timid, a little more quiet the next time. In time, I know, it will stop trying, because it knows that as long as it continues to lose each battle, it doesn’t stand a chance at the war.
Gail, on the other hand, is a seasoned pro, and reports only a twinge of this guilt for not being at work. Her work ethic is strong, but her fun ethic is stronger. Her family is independent as well, because she has trained them well.
We plan for our trips, we save year-round for them, and we have taught our workplaces that this is our priority, and that they will carry on fine without us.
And they do.
When our children were younger, it was more difficult to get away, but we made it work.
There has never been a time when our families and our workplaces approached us and said: “You deserve a vacation. Take some time off and go, and don’t feel a bit guilty about it. And, here’s plenty of cash to make it all happen. Go, and have tons of fun.” Perhaps this has happened to someone, somewhere, but generally speaking, it doesn’t happen. So, if you are waiting for this kind of special permission, accompanied by a bunch of money, keep waiting. I would bet the entire cost of this trip that it will never happen to me, or you.
This translates into a simple truth: you need to give yourself permission, and make it happen. If your plans for fun involve considerable time and money, only you know what you can afford in terms of time away from your family responsibilities, time off work and money to spend on fun. Sometimes, however, looking at these resources—time and money—from the fun is a necessity perspective may reveal that just maybe, you have enough of both to create some fun.
It’s your decision.
The sisters of The Sister Lode, whether it is one, two or all three of us having fun, are here to tell you that it is worth the effort it takes. The time you take for yourself is never wasted time. And the memories of the fun you have will stay with you long after the time is gone.
Or maybe it’s buying your own version of red suede cowgirl shoes…or both.
As always, we never tell all from our travels, but we do tell some. Here is a montage of the fun we had.
Neither of us won any money, but it was fun to try.
She’s in there, I swear…
Watch for the rocks—and Gail
We took in the purple mountain majesty…
We shopped at our favorite store, and came away with more beautiful jewels…
And staged a little crisis on the way out of town…
I had to talk Gail back from the edge…
We had to stop for a photo op at this historic site with a great name:
And on our way in and out, in the last stretch of beautiful mountain hairpin twists and turns, we always crank up this classic and sing like no one’s listening:
And until next time, we had to leave this beautiful little mountain town behind.