Breakfast at 7:00 am with his woman, a quick shower at 7:45, and they’d be out the door by 8:30 on their way to the home store. After picking up a few essentials it would be time to head to the hardware store. He desperately needed a new tool for weeding, and also a bit of potting soil. Oh, and winter fertilizer. If things went perfect, they’d be driving away from the hardware store at 11:00 on their way to meet friends for lunch at 11:30.
It wasn’t quite a sit-down restaurant, but the couples hadn’t seen each other in what seemed like forever, so he budgeted an hour and a half for the lunch. Farewell handshakes and hugs would conclude at 1:00 pm, so he figured they could be pulling out of the parking lot at 1:05, which would leave plenty of time to drive to the ‘burbs for their nephews game. The kid was only 6, so it wasn’t exactly organized. From his perspective it was more like a bunch of adults forming a fleshy boundary which attempted to keep sacred childhood. Either way, he was excited to see his sister and brother-in-law.
From there, the plan was to split-up for an hour or so to clean up. Then everyone would meet back up at 6:00 for some Colorado-style pizza. He figured they’d be out of the restaurant by 8:00–8:30 at the latest. Afterwards everyone would return to their respective homes, and have a nice quiet night on couches.
Yep, he was pretty proud of himself for having such a thought out plan, but now it was time for bed.
Pulling the covers up–awkwardly as usual–to warm the back of his neck, he shut his eyes, smiling.
He awoke. Widening his eyes as if that helped him regain consciousness faster, he reached for his phone. Seeing the time before noting who was calling, he read “5:30” with some confusion. “Who would be calling so early on a Saturday?” he wondered to himself. The screen informed him who it was, and he couldn’t help but smile.
“Honey,” he said. “Honey, wake up, wake up,” he said shaking her.
“What time is it?” she mumbled.
“Huh? Why? That doesn’t matter. We’ve got to cancel our plans for the day. The mountains called. They’re open!”
Confused, this was the first time he could remember seeing anything other than milk in a one gallon jug. He eyed the waitress suspiciously. Licking his lips at the mention of homemade root beer, he believed the milk jug proved its homemade claim while simultaneously casting a shadow of doubt regarding the health code. The root beer was fantastic.
Hannibal, MO is where he found himself. Why? Who can remember such things? Besides the root beer, he remembered hearing about Mark Twain. He has yet to meet a man who can forget about Mark Twain once they become aware of him. He also remembered his parents being at the restaurant, so he knew it wasn’t a boy scout trip–the main reason he would’ve been in Missouri.
Ahh, boy scouts. Some of the happiest moments of his childhood occurred because of the boy scouts. Almost every boy scout event etched at least one memory into his mind. Those green Eureka Alpine tents. At first, his fourth grade hands had trouble setting them up, but the older boys gladly taught him to work smarter not harder. Building fires, hiking, sleeping out under the stars, canoeing–all things he would’ve never done if it hadn’t been for troop 428.
Boy Scouts. That was a long time ago. As he grew to be an older teen, he wanted to own more gear himself. Coincidentally, his family was on vacation in Wyoming, on a ranch, where he first laid eyes on a Cabela’s master catalog. Not knowing the treasure he’d stumbled upon, he fumbled through the pages at first. It was the tent section that caused him to slow down. And slow down he did. Reading the description of the 3-person, 4-season, dual door, dual vestibule Eureka Summit XT, he could hardly contain himself. And for only $229! Unfortunately, even though a second trip to Wyoming from Kansas required a drive through Sydney, Nebraska where the flagship showroom store was located, and even though they stopped and it was near his summer birthday, his mother wasn’t having it. (Whether his father would’ve bought it is another issue. Let’s just say he learned too late in life that the man had a harm time saying ‘no’.) While crushed, the damage was temporary as he was at least happy to be heading back to the Cheyenne River Ranch.
The chance to regularly shop in a Cabela’s came into his life once again with the advent of the Kansas Speedway in 2001. This brought Cabela’s, the #1 tourist attraction in Kansas, to his home town. No more ordering from the catalog. But at this point the trouble was that he was in college and college had landed him back in NE Missouri on the Mississippi, near Mark Twain’s ol’ stomping grounds. Shopping in a Cabela’s was becoming a fantasy that was just too good to be true.
I’m happy to report the wait is over. Today, August 15th, 2013, not one, but two Cabela’s locations are opening in the Denver Metro area at 10:30 am. He moved to Denver on a whim, a decision rooted in passion. Some might foolishly count this turn of events as coincidence. He knows it to be fate. Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” He now knows the third most important day in your life is the day you learn someone loves you enough to not give up on you. For him, that day is today. Long live Cabela’s!!