Slots and Ballads

IMG_5975I step to the edge with Jody. Together, we look out over the buffet of lights, the fog of cigarette smoke and become accustomed to the cacophony of bells. Are we ready to be swallowed up by the all of this? To say that we don’t have a clue about what is going on in this village is an understatement. I take her by the elbow, step forward, and commit.

Mystic Lake Casino has a 125,000 square-foot gambling floor with 4,000 slot machines and 100 blackjack tables.

We land at the Montezuma slot machine based on the ancient Aztec emperor that is sure to bring us luck. The graphics are several symbols including, Montezuma, a dragon, hawk, headdress, and a princess. The Mayan princess and pyramid draws me. Surely, that’s Crystel in the headdress and Antonio on the steps of Tikel.

IMG_5967Within ten minutes we have lost all of the promotional money given to us by the hotel.

Sarah McLachlan’s, Shine on Tour, is what drew us to Mystic Lakes.

Her ballads include “I Will Remember You,” “Sweet Surrender,” “Adia,” and Angel.”

She sings them all. Some of them I recognize. Mostly, I am taken in by the ambiance. Our seats are next to the sound stage. I enjoy the all of it: the audience, the music, and being seated close enough to be able to see the facial expressions of the performers.

IMG_5958A couch is on stage but even before McLachlan has audience members join her, I feel at home and as if I know her and want to know her even better. At one point during her show I get up to use the restroom but return when I realize it is a song I recognize. All the other women my age must have done the same thing.Her next song is new and a bathroom line quickly forms.

The ballad that makes me cry is one of her last songs: “Beautiful Girl.” It is a song about her almost 13-year old girl. I immediately think of Crystel.


We’re gonna push on through, pretty girl
Just like we always do, beautiful girl
I know the world can be cruel, pretty girl
You’re gonna make it ’cause you’ve got love on your side
The truth of letting go
Lies in the answer
That when the storm subsides
I’ll still be there to hold you

Our selfie at the show

Our selfie at the show

The next morning before we leave we have $25 in promotional cash to spend. Jody and I watch the reel roll two times. 7’s and Jokers go around and around. Then stop.

We stare dumbly at the $84 dollar sign that is on the screen.

There is only one thing to do. Cash out.

The $84 dollars is used to pay the babysitter.

Though this village is perplexing we will return again. It was a great date night.

This entry was posted in Casinos, Date night, gambling, Music and tagged , , , , , , , by Elizabeth di Grazia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Elizabeth di Grazia

An artist, I follow the nudge inside of me. This nudge led me to write Peace Corps stories, find the front door to the Loft, and to graduate from Hamline’s MFA program. The story that became my thesis for Hamline is woven into my book manuscript: HOUSE OF FIRE: From the Ashes, A Family, a memoir of healing and redemption. It’s a story about family. And a story about love–for my partner Jody and the son and daughter we adopted from Guatemala. Most days, I can be found working as a Human Resource Manager for a foundry in Minneapolis. When I am not at the foundry I may be volunteering as a Police Reserve Officer for Richfield, MN or kicking butt at Kor Am Tae Kwon Do.

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