The holidays are definitely the time of year that we most often reflect on what matters to us, our loved ones, and perhaps most importantly, wonderful memories! I was lucky enough this year to be able to take my mother (along with my wife and mother-in-law) to NYC for a quick, 2 night excursion to see the Rockettes. Why? Well, they are the Rockettes first of all, but more importantly because my mother has been saying for years how she wanted to go see them. She had seen them about 30 years ago with her sister and friend (both of who are no longer with us) and the experience never left her. Although I have been hearing her say this for years (and frankly had no real desire to see the show myself) it never really hit me like it did this summer when she said it; we were on a family get-away to the beach in South Carolina (where I am from and where my family still lives) over the July 4th weekend. BTW, never go to the beach on July 4th, it is nutso, but we were there specifically because July 4th was the year anniversary of losing my father… and, well, we wanted to be together. Times like that are hard, but we figured it would be less hard at the beach… so there we were. She mentioned it in passing, much like she had probably dozens of times. “I really want to go see the Rockettes again, that show was amazing”… but unlike the other times the reality of how we cannot count on tomorrow hit me, how life can and does change in a breath, and how when it is all said and done what matters is the time we give to each other, the love we show and the memories we make. I said to my wife the moment we were alone that we needed to make it happen, that mom wasn’t getting any younger (or healthier, more mobile, etc.) and we needed to not wait any longer PLUS the show was back-on after a 2-year COVID hiatus, so what better time, right?
We put the plans in motion, checked out ticket availability, discussed what would make the most sense for travel, and decided to go “whole-hog” and invite both of our mothers for a fun-filled, whirlwind trip to the Big Apple. Mom would fly back with us from our visit to SC for Thanksgiving, Cori’s mom would join us (she is local) as we all took the new Amtrak from Burlington to NYC, and my saintly brother-in-law (who has lived in NYC for many years and was willing to plan everything based on his knowledge and take time off work to be our guide) met us as Penn. Station for 2 days of amazing food, holiday sites, and, of course, the ROCKETTES!
As expected the show was SPECTACULAR (see what I did there) and my mom was so happy to have the experience. I decided since we were there we should also take in a Broadway show, and after much deliberation my mom chose Moulin Rouge (because she liked the idea of the can-can girls… she admittedly was not prepared for the LACK of clothing on most of the actors… but what do you do?). It was just the two of us for that evening show because Cori and her mom wanted to just hang out with her brother. Although my bro-in-law had prepared me thoroughly for the roughly 8 block walk back to the hotel after the show, I was a little worried about my lack of navigation skills, as well as my moms limited ability to walk any real distance. Because he had warned me that I would not be able to get a cab, we planned to just take it slow, stop when needed, and hopefully not end up somewhere completely different than we were supposed to.
In an effort to ease the walk back I shuffled mom out of the show before the encore, we went to the restroom (because at 78 the restroom is a must-have like 40 times a day) and headed out of the theater. Being among the first out we found ourselves ambushed by dozens of men waiting in pedi-cabs wanting to earn some wages… all shouting that we should take a ride and pick them. Honestly I was flustered… completely unaware that this was even a “thing”. How does this work? Is it fun? Will we die by either being run over by a taxi or perhaps being kidnapped by a murderer in a pedi-cab-driver-disguise? In all the confusion I looked at mom and said “do you want to do this?”, and rather to my surprise her answer was a resounding “sure!”. Well okay, this is the trip of just making memories after-all!
Are you curious of what a pedi-cab driver gets paid in NYC? I sure was! Upon asking what the cost would be to be taken to our hotel, I learned that they charge by the minute, and while he could not guarantee the amount of time, we were probably looking at about 10 minutes. Cost per minute? 8 dollars. Some quick math and assurance that he could take my credit card and we crawled in the seat. He immediately covered us in a festive holiday blanket and cranked up some music (the first song being the Moulin Rouge theme, very appropriate) and we were off! While my initial (internal) reaction to hearing $8 a minute was “geez, I sure wish I could make $8 a minute” I quickly realized that this girl, and frankly very few humans, could NOT do what our pedi-cab driver could do… entertain us with music and laughter WHILE pedaling his butt off with what must have been at least 300 lbs (be kind, I’m including the weight of the structure we were sitting in) rolling behind him, WHILE navigating the crazy streets of NYC! Yeah, I’ll pay $8 a minute all-day-long to just NOT have to try to do that myself, thank you. Mom and I just got to sit, relax, and enjoy while we moved through the beautiful city, including Time Square at 11 pm at night. Our spontaneous, yet highly memorable experience ended up lasting 13 minutes (a few more for the pics he took for us, of which he did not charge for the time) and after tip cost me $120. Perhaps the fastest money spent in my life, among the most memorable, and perhaps the best-spent in hind-sight.
Our trip ended the next day with the Amtrak ride back to Burlington (highly recommend btw, so easy and relaxed) and Mom flew home a few days later. Every time we chat since she raves about how fun it was, and I am once again reminded of what really matters.
So what does this have to do with painting & sipping? Well, I could say “nothing, I just felt like telling you about my trip” but that would not be true. While the trip itself had nothing to do with our business, the sentiment of spending time together doing something fun and making memories is exactly what our business is about. People come to the Paint & Sip to connect… connect with others, with themselves and connect with creativity. We provide all the elements to bring guards down, give reasons to laugh and learn, and provide all the components that truly make memories that last a lifetime.
Not convinced? Well, some see for yourself! Bring your mom (or mother-in-law, friend, co-worker, etc.) or just come by yourself! You will laugh, relax, and find connection that you did not expect!
And really, when it is all said and done, what else really matters?