Tag Archives: memories

#SATurday: The Lion Sleeps in a Casino

21 Feb

#SATurday: The Lion Sleeps in a Casino

When I was younger, my family moved around a lot – more times than what I can list here without risking your gaze blurring over – but we always visited Kansas every year. My mother’s parents lived in Kansas, and it was the go-to family house we found ourselves at for the holidays or even just for the summer. During these visits, my mom and dad liked to get together with old friends and family that were still in the area, and they would all go off to the casino. Since the casino provided an area for children, my brother and I went with.

Originally, the casino was called Station Casino, due to an old train that sat out front, but now it’s called Ameristar, even though the giant train is still sitting in the same spot. Oddly enough, I went back there recently, and the children’s area is still there, too – all gated off like a pink and purple jail cell. Of course I wonder if the inside play area is still the same, but there’s no way to find that out at my current age. The children’s zone – known as Kids Quest – has a cutoff age for 12. Older than that and you are in the arcade all night.

Despite the fact that my brother and I probably stepped foot in this place only one dozen times, it sticks out in my memory. My guess relies on the fact that it might have been one of the only places that was stable in my life. We returned every year, and every year, it stayed the same. There was even a kid named Jimmy that was there every year. He was the owner’s son or some other worker’s son. I can’t really remember why he was there every day, and to be honest, I don’t even know if his name really was Jimmy. I might have simply given him a name for my own comfort. It’s strange to have memories with someone who is a fleeting image of a person that once was, so I’ve been known to attribute things like names that might not be real, and eventually, I lose count.

That being said, Jimmy introduced me to the Pocahontas game, and I remember that game more than his name. (Again, perhaps this is why I’ve given him a name. I try to make up for the fact that I remember video game otters more than a fellow kid’s existence.) But I remember the otters most of all. And the fruit roll-ups. And how Jimmy always helped me find my brother since my older brother was at that age that he constantly ran away from me, and I was at that age that I constantly tried to follow him. Younger siblings, eh?

This will soon come into play. I promise.

This is how Jimmy and I looked during adventures.

The play area was three stories tall at the time, and with my little feet, it took a long while to get the top of it all. This was where my brother and some other kids hung out – mainly because you couldn’t get to them unless you passed a fortress of punching bags. It was one of these punching bags that nearly knocked me out when an older kid hit me in the face with it. I think that’s when my brother decided to hang out with me instead of his new friends.

It doesn’t seem like much, but we did eventually leave the three-story-tower-of-punching-bag-doom, and we went to the karaoke stand. This was something I ALWAYS wanted to do but also something every kid in the play area refused to use. It was just what it sounded like – a karaoke stand with three mirrors around it and a microphone at the front. You picked a song on the clunky computer, and then, the song played in the entire area, and you could sing with it.

My brother picked “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, and to this day, that’s the only time I’ve ever done karaoke.

I don’t think I’ve purposely avoided karaoke. Even though I am a horrible singer, I think I’ve simply never come across another opportunity to do it or to feel like singing out in public, but I always remember that time, and in a way, I feel like that one time was happy enough for a lifetime of karaoke.

Even in a pink and purple jail cell, we learned to sing. It probably helped that most of it didn’t include lyrics at all. Instead, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” provided marvelous sounds we could belt in a song – a song that I knew because of The Lion King, a song my brother later cranked when picking me up ten years later from Driver’s Ed, a song I heard recently in a grocery store that brought it all back. Funny how even the littlest moments can stay with us forever. In a sense, memories are like lions in that song – sleeping tonight – but always near the village, always on your mind.

Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh

Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh

Wimoweh

~SAT on #SATurday

#SATurday: The Lesson of Macaroni and Cheese

14 Feb

#SATurday: The Lesson of Macaroni and Cheese

When I was little, my mother was making me Macaroni and Cheese – something I continue to love to this day – and I was horrified when she poured it down the sink right in front of me. Of course, that isn’t what she had actually done. In reality, she had poured it into a strainer I couldn’t see from my position near the kitchen’s island. But I still screamed.

I started crying uncontrollably. I was starving (at least, I was starving in my kid mind), and she had just made food for me only to throw it away. As my five-year-old self began crying out my explanation (because she had asked when I was so upset), she began laughing uncontrollably. Now – in my tiny dramatic brain – she was laughing in my face. Of course, she hadn’t thrown out my food, but I think my panic surprised her so much she had no other way to react. Because she couldn’t stop laughing, she actually had to pick up the strainer to show me that my food was fine. After that, we were both laughing.

It might seem strange – and perhaps, it is – but this memory is one of my fondest memories I have of my late mother. Probably because she later taught me how to cook Macaroni and Cheese before she died, but I mainly love this memory because we were doing something together.

kft-288b_1z

I only had eleven years with my mom, many of which I don’t remember, and she was often too ill to do much, so my memories with her are fleeting – probably unmemorable to the kid who gets a lifetime with a mom – but then again, maybe not. I guess I’ll never know, but I do think about aspects of my life like this a lot, and I’m very grateful for even the tiniest moments because even the tiniest moments last a lifetime. Her lessons have stayed with me, after all.

Let’s take this memory for example. When she started cooking, I was really excited, and then, when she “poured it down the sink”, I was crushed, but then, I realized it was not what it seemed, and everything was fine. In fact, I was one step closer to eating, and I got to laugh so hard it stuck with me for life.

On my bad days, I try to remember Macaroni and Cheese. Aside from the pasta being possibly the best comfort food in the world – no exaggeration – I think there is a lot to learn from the lesson of the strainer. When everything appears to be going down the sink, so to speak, maybe it’s only being strained of all the bad stuff so you can move on to the best part – eating. And I do love eating.

We’re only getting closer to enjoying it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh along the way.

~SAT

TTSP.S. I am taking on more clients who need book reviews, interviews, and editing! I provide the first chapter’s edit for free. If you’re interested, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

In the meantime, check out Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen. This historical novel was inspired by true tales about the Japanese occupation, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction, literary fiction, and women’s fiction like The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

A Reading of “Regretful Memories”

13 Apr

Coffee, Books, and Art by Sarit Yahalomi reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, and Sarit also posted the review for Minutes Before Sunset right below it, so you can read both. Find out why she said, “Again it was a page turner and full of action, and I couldn’t stop reading until I reached to it’s end.” Click here to read her reviews, and click here to go to Amazon.

covers

As many of you know, I recently started my YouTube Channel – Coffee & Cats and I was supposed to upload a video of myself as I interviewed for The Lurking Voice. But Weebo, my computer, threw a hissy fit, and I lost the video. But you can listen to the podcast by clicking here, so there’s no need for a tiny violin of sadness to start playing.

I’m sure many of you can relate to the horrible frustration of losing an entire document or hour-long video you’ve edited for another hour. It isn’t pleasant, and the hardest part is to accept it and let it go (unlike the time I spent an entire day taking it back and forth between Apple stores only to be told nothing could be done…blood pressure is rising.) So, I’ve learned to move forward when I lose work I’ve started, including novels, but I have been waiting for another opportunity to record another video. Well, I got it.

‘Regretful Memories’ was a poem of mine that was recently published, and I shared it during my last blog post. I hope you all enjoyed reading it because today I am reading it to you. (Special thanks to Zach Hitt, Anthony Stevens, Steven SanchezRaymond Vogel, Jennifer Coissiere, and Angie Neto for their encouragement on my Facebook Author page.) I promise the reading isn’t boring. In fact, I’m surprised I didn’t hurt myself while performing it. I even committed a poetry sin.

Join me on FB, and your name might pop up next!

Join me on FB, and your name might pop up next!

Are you enticed yet? Because I am. 

Watch it below, click this link to watch it on YouTube, and/or click here to read along as I perform my debut reading. You know how social media works. Please like, share, and comment. Wink. Wink.

Hope you enjoyed the reading!

Remember, if you subscribe to my YouTube Channel, you get to watch the videos one day early.

Much love,

~SAT

%d bloggers like this: