I slo-mo ran across the baggage claim area with my arms thrown wide yelling, “Mooooommmm! Daaaaaaadddd!” Dad dropped his carry-on bag. “Kriiiiissssstaaa!” He took his first slow-mo step and mom shot her arm out seatbelt-mom-style. She shook her head, “No.”
That’s weird, I thought, but no worries, I can cover the distance. Five steps later for me, and 30 yards for my parents, I threw my arms around them. “Heeelllloooo!”
“Hello. Daughter. It. Is. Good. To. See. You,” dad said.“Is it robot voice day?” I asked. “Can I be C-3PO?”
“No. This. Is. My. Normal. Speaking. Voice.”
I looked at mom. “I told him there will be no shenanigans this trip,” she said.
“Gotcha,” I smiled. “But there will be.”
“There won’t be.”
“But there will.”
“We’ll see,” I winked at dad, mouthing, “There will.”
My parents live in the Pacific Northwest and were curious about the whole snowbird thing. I suggested we meet up in Phoenix.
Once we got there, it took mom about 2.2 seconds to realize she’d miss the green and the mountains of home, so we spent the rest of the trip as tourists.
Now dad is a huge western movie fan, and I’m a daddy’s girl, so I’m quite the western movie enthusiast, as well.
Some of our time was spent at Superstitious Mountain Museum, which included, an old barn and The Elvis Memorial Chapel.
Why would the Elvis Memorial Chapel be in Arizona and not Memphis, you ask?
The chapel was built at the Apacheland Movie Ranch as a prop for the 1969 movie “Charro!”, starring Elvis. Fires at the ranch destroyed all the buildings except the barn and chapel; they were donated to the museum.
It just so happened that we were visiting the king of rock ‘n’ roll’s chapel, or as he’s lovingly referred to in our home, “Elvis the Pelvis,” on my parents’ 46th wedding anniversary.
“What are you doing?” mom asked. “Get off your phone.”
“Give me a sec.” I tapped and swiped and 10 minutes later ... viola. “OK, stand at the back of the church and walk toward Elvis.”
“What?” mom asked.
“I just used The Google and am now an ordained minister. It’s time to renew your vows.” I climbed over the railing and stood behind the life-size figure of Elvis. With a few Elvis “Uh huhs,” their love for each other was renewed.
And then we were off to the Goldfield Ghost Town. Who wouldn’t want to visit a ghost town?
My mom, that’s who.
She’ll watch westerns, but they’re not her thing. However, they must have been her thing 40-ish years ago cuz my parents named my sister after Miss Kitty in “Gunsmoke.” Miss Kitty was, well, how do I say this politely, a lady of the night.
Which segues nicely to one particular establishment ... LuLu’s Bordello!
Dad is a gentleman and chose to only have his picture taken in front of the sign. I, on the other hand, am not a gentleman or even genteel. At all. And, on occasion, mom will fall for my southern charm (she’s from the north) and I can convince her to do things she might not normally do.
Like, go inside LuLu’s.
There are usually floozies offering guided tours through the house of ill repute, but they were understaffed that day and the madam allowed us free rein.
And that’s when I saw it.
“Look mom,” I pointed at a sign. “‘Cameras and filming are encouraged.’ You know what that means, right?”
“No.”“It’s permission to do whatever we want.”
“I don’t think that’s what it means.”
“Oh, it does,” I said.
Mom may have got the shenanigan bug because there were numerous saucy pictures. You know the kind ... blackmail pictures.
And then the ultimate opportunity presented itself.
In the madam’s room was a double bed, a pitcher and bowl on a wooden side table, and a 100-year-old copper bathtub. “And we have arrived,” I said, spreading my arms and spinning. “Get out your camera, ma. This is one for the books, or at the very least, my profile pic on Facebook.”
I expected a bit of pushback from her, but she has an artistic eye and the lighting was perfect. She didn’t even reprimand me when my clothes started flying off and I jumped into the tub.
Our time in the den of iniquity took longer than dad expected. We found him in the saloon enjoying a sarsaparilla.
“Krista! Sue!” he lifted his bottle. “Mosey on over here and wet your whistle.”
“One moment,” mom said. “Krista, I think it would be a good idea to keep your dad in the dark about the bathtub pictures.”
“OK,” I agreed, “but only if you call me by a painted lady nickname.”
She sighed. “Do you have a suggestion?”
“Yeah, I was thinking Vivian like in “Pretty Woman” cuz of the whole bathtub scene, you know.”
“Done,” she said. “I was worried you were going to say Fannie.”