“Cache Valley Mall, too good to be true…Close to you.”
That was the jingle on the radio near the beginning of the opening of the Cache Valley Mall in Logan, Utah. At lunch yesterday, I was trying to keep my kids from numbing my mind with unintelligible chanting and endless talk about the videogame “Mine Craft” so I told them about the Cache Valley Mall. They are country kids, so malls seem exotic and urban, and they associate them with escalators (exotic fun!), so I figured it would catch their attention.
I told them about the KarmelKorn shop with the clear bins full of caramel corn and cheesy popcorn and rainbow-colored caramel corn.
My 10 year old daughter went into ecstatic raptures when she heard about Hunk-a-Bread, where you could buy and eat…a hunk of bread. The bread could have butter or honeybutter or raspberry jam or a slice of cheese melted on top.
Orange Julius impressed them less.
They thought JCPenney was something to do with their cute friend Jaci from church.
I had to explain to them that ZCMI was a store that the church owned and had dresses and Garanimals and shoes and underwear and that my aunt worked there when she wasn’t teaching school. They were puzzled as to why anyone would name their store Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institute. It seems a stretch these days, doesn’t it?
But I saved the silver bullet for the last: Aladdin’s Castle. The arcade. “Back then you couldn’t really play video games at your house.” They were aghast. They said they’d heard I had an Atari when I was growing up. “That was later,” I said. I told them about the games. “They were like Wreck it Ralph.” They scrunched up their noses. “With graphics like that?” I told them about the pole position games with steering wheels.
And then I pulled out the granddaddy of all–I loaded up for them the song someone had uploaded onto youtube: Pac Man Fever.
Ultimately, they thought the song was sad, the way the singer wasted all his quarters and had to go home, but would be back the next day. They’re probably right. But it’s not that much sadder than when they blow their whole day playing or talking about Mine Craft, I say. And at least it gave us something else to talk about during lunch, and kept them “off the Craft” for at least a half hour.
Today they’ve spent about six hours playing in and out of the box that came with our new dishwasher (as the old one finally gave up the ghost. It no longer responded to being kicked as hard as I could — an odd number of times — with my heavy wooden clogs.) And the king Crafter, my 15 year old son, put the dishwasher in with his dad. So it was a good day. Next we’re going to milk a cow at some friends’ house so my 8 year old can MAKE CHEESE for her science fair project.
Yes, I like being a writer, but being a mom? That’s where it’s at.