It was a fabulous four-day weekend down in Omaha this weekend as Vivian and I celebrated national Eat a Turkey Day with family and friends. My brother Nathan was able to make it up to Omaha on Thursday to have Thanksgiving Dinner with Vivian’s parents and our mutual friend, Eric “Onion-Boy.” We ate a big, juicy turkey, which didn’t seem to phase its distant cousin Diggy, who was too busy whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith Show and perching on Nathan’s shoulder to notice that we were eating one of its relatives. Vivian made some meat roll ups, and I made some deviled eggs that all contributed to filling us up with hors d’oeuvres prior to the actual meal.
The real fun came after the food, when Nathan broke out with the Wii and we all took turns playing bowling and golf together. Vivian had the chance to clobber us in both golf and bowling as I tried desperately to get my ball to go somewhere in the vicinity of a hole once in a whole. Of course, we had to create custom “Mii” characters for both Eric and Vivian’s dad, of course. The one we made for Onion Boy provided almost as much amusement as the games themselves.
On Friday, Vivian and I helped out with a cookie decorating table at the Durham Western Heritage Museum, where they were holding some Christmas festivities and lighting a giant Christmas tree for the season. It was a great time watching kids get high on sugar and mistake Vivian’s Dad for Santa Claus (he told them he was just his grumpy elf). As volunteers, Vivian and I got to participate in the festivities for free, which included live music by Heidi Joy
We couldn’t leave the museum without getting a picture with the big man himself (and his misses) before taking a long, frigid walk through the Gene Leahy mall, all lit up with festive Christmas lights, sipping hot cocoa and egg nog to keep from freezing outside in the picturesque wonderland that is downtown Omaha in the winter.
Saturday marked the return of Lindy in the Mall, an Omaha Jitterbugs event where we steal a portion of the Mall of the Bluffs for ourselves and do the Lindy Hop for the amusement of Christmas shoppers wandering by. On this particular Saturday, Sarah and the rest of the terrible trio were reunited for the first time in ages as they took to the floor.
After the dance, Vivian and I took a look around the mall, stumbling upon a kiosk selling “Power Player” video game systems. These were familiar-looking self-contained video game units designed into a game controller that plugs directly into your TV, but instead of coming with one or two games of Pac-Man and Galaga, it came with dozens and dozens of fairly popular NES games, including Super Mario Bros, Contra, Bomberman, and even Duck Hunt with its own little light gun. I quickly recognized the system as a pirated game console, with tacky packaging that lacked a company logo and including such artwork as a screen capture from Star Wars the Phantom Menace. After some investigation, I found the units had been around long enough to warrant their own page on Wikipedia. I didn’t buy one, but I was seriously tempted. Honestly, who couldn’t resist being able to play sweet little games like Excitebike and Balloon Fight again?
Hugh and a bunch of us went out to Old Chicago afterwards for dinner and then took a walk through downtown Omaha to see the newly-lit Christmas lights. We headed on to Blockbuster afterwards for a lengthy debate on whether to watch Big or We are Marshall that evening when we crashed at Ben’s to hang out until two in the morning. Ben’s such a good sport.
On Sunday, I returned to Lincoln to help Nathan move into his sweet new apartment. It’s a brand-new complex with all sorts of amenities that almost make to want to move in right next door: free golf, free hot tub, free washer and dryer in the apartment, free cable, and all sorts of extras. Plus, no more noisy college kids playing obnoxious country music at three in the morning. Boo-yeah!