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Sharon Randall: Sister’s visit ó eat, talk and laugh

By Sharon Randall
Scripps Howard News Service
Itís a long way from South Carolina to Las Vegas. My sister doesnít get to visit us often. So when I heard she was coming for 10 days, I began to plan.
The first five days were easy. We spent Thanksgiving in California with my children and grandchildren, fighting over who got to hold which baby for how long. Then we flew to Vegas and she settled into our guest room for five more days.
A three-hour gap in time zones kept us on different schedules. At night, sheíd be surfing channels when I was ready to crash. Come morning, Iíd be up drinking coffee, waiting for her to stir.
Between waking and sleeping, we did what we always do ó eat, talk and laugh. And she watched a lot of TV with my husband, a man she had once warned me about: ěIf you donít marry him,î sheíd said, ěI will.î
He suggested taking her to The Gun Store to shoot Uzis.
ěWhat?î I said. ěSheíd never do that! It costs too much.î
I wanted to take her to all my favorite places: Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon, Trader Joeís.
But every morning, weíd talk over coffee. Then Iíd make Dutch babies and weíd talk some more. Weíd have pizza for lunch with more talk. And then it was time for dinner. Story of my life.
Finally, I said, ěLetís go see the Bellagioís Christmas exhibit.î
ěOK,î she said, ěIíll shower.î
Three hours later, we were on our way ó until I stopped for gas, sloshed gasoline all over me and had to go back to change.
When we finally got to the Bellagio, imagine my surprise to find that the exhibit didnít open until the weekend.
My sister just laughed. Sheís like that, easy.
ěLetís go eat,î she said.
The next day we decided to see a matinee (ěKiller Eliteî) at a theater I had never been to.
There are many fine, state-of-the-art theaters in Vegas. This was not one of them. It was located in a part of town you donít see in ads, except maybe ads for tattoos or bail bonds.
My sister insisted on buying the tickets. They cost a dollar apiece. So did the hotdogs. One for me. Two for her. Two tickets, three hotdogs, five bucks. Who needs state-of-the-art?
We were early. The screen was dark. But we were not alone. Sprawled around us were a half-dozen men, all sleeping. Some had backpacks and bedrolls. A few had removed their shoes.
I began to question what sort of theater this was? What if the film we were about to see was not what we expected? What if it proved to be a bit more ěaction packedî than we had hoped?
Never have I been so glad to see Robert De Niroís face appear on screen. I canít recall the plot, but the audience was riveting.
A fight broke out in back, but after several tense moments of swapping profanities, they had the courtesy to take it outside.
My sister didnít seem to notice a patron on her right who kept beaming a flashlight on the back of her neck. I decided if it didnít bother her, it didnít bother me.
Halfway into the movie, a big, burly man lumbered down the aisle, plopped down beside me and began slurping popcorn.
When he leaned over to whisper in my ear, I screamed. No one, not even my own sister, seemed to notice. Or care.
ěWhatís the name of this movie?î he said.
I told him. He left. And I vowed to be a better person.
When the movie ended, I told my sister to hurry.
ěAfraid we’ll get mugged?î she said, snickering.
ěIím more afraid of the hotdogs,î I said. ěYou had two.î
The good news is we were fine. The bad news is, the next day, my sister had to leave.
The measure of a time well spent is not where you went or what you did. Itís the way you smile remembering it.
Maybe next time, weíll shoot Uzis.

Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.

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