Like an ugly ornament that I cannot bear to throw away so is my retelling of a Christmas Concert from a few years back. (It's kind of like the year 2020, UGLY but never forgotten)
In December of 2007 my wife and I went on a Christmas date to get the season started off right, but it did not end up like anything 'dreamed of' by Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.
We started the evening off with a nice dinner at a local steak house in front of a roaring (gas/fake) fireplace as the weather outside was as the Christmas classic described accurately as frightful. More specifically it was very COLD.
After dinner, we were off to downtown Minneapolis to the Pantages Theatre to listen to an A Cappella group called the Blenders for their Christmas concert.
note: I am not an A Capella kinda guy normally, but I got the tickets for free from my cousin.. and I AM a free tickets kinda guy so I thought I would go where the cool kids go... or something like that.
Gentlemen.. start your engines! As we approach downtown we soon learn parking on a Friday night during the holiday season would not be a picnic. There was a Christmas parade in progress near the theater so we began driving in a slow-moving car conga line consisting of a series of one-way right-hand turns for about 30 minutes resulting in us parking about 5 city blocks from the theater. Like a slower colder version of NASCAR without a winner.
Once parked we began our Frozen Mecca to the Pantages Theater where the air temp was about 2 below zero and the wind chill 14 below.
It was Minnesota Fresh! Oh by the way we were walking into this wind, not with it. To complicate things for poor little old me I was not wearing a hat, and my coat was not a great coat for MinneFROZEta.
Along our walk, we passed by several downtown establishments. One was a gay bar and then we passed a club advertising topless girls, with the words.. hot, hot, hot over the topless ad.
Now, this is where I was tempted.. not to see topless girls.. but I asked my wife since they were hot maybe we could go in for a moment and warm ourselves with their heat.
Ok, honestly there was no temptation here for me, just an excuse for me to share another bad pun with my wife so she could roll her now frozen eyes at me.
Pantages at last! We finally arrive about 15 minutes before the concert began. Shivering and frozen we bought a $3 cup of coffee from the cash bar in the lobby which my wife and I took turns holding it to keep warm.
When another couple entered the theater and sat next to us visibly cold too, I offered to let them hold my coffee for $1 apiece. They both laughed, but I did not see what was so funny.
It's SHOWTIME. So inside we go and the concert begins. The Blenders are very good but for me, one evening with an A Cappella group will be enough... for my lifetime. The Blenders are 4 guys I would guess their mid to late 30s in suits with choreographed movements like four Caucasian Temptations crooning Christmas songs minus Jesus.
To add to the atmosphere there was a group of well-dressed professionals filling a large block of seats just in front of us. I am guessing they were part of a company holiday party dressed up in suits and dresses.
They were kind of loud 'notice me types', which is .. not my type. Then during intermission, they all stood in front of my wife making FULL use of the cash bar in the lobby and there was also one young good looking guy passing a flask with something that I am pretty sure was stronger than 7-Up.
After two hours of listening to an A Capella Christmas, we retraced our frozen steps to our car and then headed back to our warm home free of anyone in my living room passing a flask and standing in front of my TV.
So to sum it all up. We had dinner in front of a fake fire, participated in downtown traffic jams, crowded parking ramps, snow, and ice, and passed by topless & gay bars, all to sit behind loud-drinking young professionals while being entertained by ... Minnesota Night and the Pips?
The next night... was a more low-key Larson type of Christmas which we spent with our son Nate and his then-girlfriend Kendra, and our daughter Erin. We listened to Christmas music, made gingerbread cookies, and played the protestant approved card game. Rook. It was a great evening which included a mini-fight with flour while making cookies.
And... for anyone by chance from that corporate America party who 'LOUDLY' sat in front of me at the Pantages Theater in 2007 I am sorry you missed out on my great Saturday night making cookies with my family. Then again the risk of flour fingerprints on your $500 suits, and the probability of gingerbread crumbs falling into the cleavage (front or back) of your black backless & low-cut dresses without a flask in sight would not be what all would call fun.
Merry Christmas Blessings. May your family times be warm and... A Capella free!
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson