Ice Ice Baby!


Each week on Wednesday night, I visit my mom in the city where she lives in a beautiful seniors’ facility. I call it Wednesdays with Memere.

Sometimes we stay in and after we share supper, she beats me at crib more often than not. Happily I don’t get skunked as much as I used to but often enough to keep me humble.

Sometimes we go to Chapters where she happily stocks up on all the paperbacks of her favourite authors that she can pile on her walker. Interestingly, while she tends to walk fairly slowly most of the time, she darn near flies through that store!  Like shopping with small children, it’s easy to lose sight of her as she whips from section to section, in search of reading material. Afterwards, we enjoy coffee at Starbucks while she rests and regains her strength and I catch my breath from chasing her. J

Sometimes, though, we go to the casino at West Edmonton Mall. One thing you should know about my mom is that she LOVES to gamble, be it bingo, lottery tickets or casinos.  And if you thought she could move fast at the book store, well, you haven’t seen anything until you see her maneuver through the slot machine aisles, in search of her faves.

She also talks to the machines. Mind you, most of the people there seem to think that the machines can hear them.  Maybe it’s just me, a casino newbie, who finds that a bit strange.  When we first started playing the slots together a few months ago, I must admit it was pretty Greek to me. She seemed to know how to play all the games, what won and what didn’t, instantly. I had a hard time concentrating with all the noise from the slot machines around us, including our own. Each time we go, I feel a little less awkward and more willing to try a new machine. What I am not willing to do is lose money but Mom uses her winnings as seed money for both of us (and my sister when she is in town) so I can happily play and lose my mother’s money instead of my own. (Don't worry - it's set aside as 'extra' - we're not using her lunch money or anything like that. LOL)

Mom is attracted to games like Zeus, Hot Shots and Mega and often has amazing luck.  I could take them or leave them until I found the machine that simply couldn’t be resisted…the Penguins.  They slip and they slide while giving you bonuses and when you win, the machine blares with the catchy melody and deep lyrics of Ice Ice Baby - a fun song made famous by Vanilla Ice and immortalized forever in this slot machine - and the penguins squeal 'wheeeeee...".

Clutching our twenties in our hands, we case the joint, waiting for a penguin player to tire and move to other slot machine delights. We clap our hands and hoot when we do well and pout and grumble when we don't. I find myself shrieking ‘yes!’ when the penguins leap off the cliff into the icy water (I presume it’s icy water, they are penguins after all) and doing my happy dance as the points rack up. While I still don’t like to gamble, my mom’s happy face to have company while indulging in her beloved pastime joined with the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby running through my head (which happen to be ‘ice ice baby’….go figure!) make it all worthwhile.

When we’ve had enough, we cash in our slips and the money goes back in Mom’s purse for the next time. We head home, happy and content. As I drop her off, I wave goodbye and consider it another  Wednesday evening well spent.  Ice Ice Baby! Wheeeeee.....