I discovered a new word that sounds so cool, it makes me want to repeat it over and over again. Pechanga. (A band of the Luiseno Indians)
Last night Rick and I went to Temecula to the Pechanga Resort & Casino where The Oak Ridge Boys were performing. It has been years, MANY years since we have seen them in concert. They are getting older... but they are still top notch performers.
Rick has worked so hard and has been under tremendous stress trying to keep in compliance, meet overinflated contractor's prices, and keep insureds happy and smiling. He needed the time away from the computer with the phone on silent! We really enjoyed our night out.
I find walking through a casino thought provoking and interesting. We never hang out long because the second-hand cigarette smoke really starts me to wheezing, but if you are a people watcher, a casino is a place with plenty of variety.
Rick rushed me passed the rooms designated "high limit gaming." (I think he was afraid my gawking would be unappreciated.) Just walking the polished walkways I saw all sorts of people. There was the crazy looking "Texas Oil Tycoon" type. You know, the western cowboy hat, glitzy western suit, big cigar, pointy toed boots... the kind of clown dress that embarrasses this REAL West Texas girl. I saw the guy that, from head to toe, was so perfectly groomed and dressed that you would of thought he was a Macy mannequin come to life. He was dressed completely in black. And in his company was a woman -- tall, blond, "perfect" in physical beauty, dressed completely in black as well. They were a perfect match. Then there were the grandmas and grandpas, the great-grandmas and great-grandpas. Those folks who live on fixed incomes, get discounts on their taxes, at restaurants and hotels, and complain about the size of their Social Security checks all while feeding their children's inheritance into the slot machines one coin at a time. I also saw the guy that looked like he just left his hard labor blue collar job at 5:00 and went straight to the casino with paycheck in hand. To finish off the mix of humanity was the young crowd. They were barely old enough to get into the door of the gambling establishment, and they surely didn't have enough to money to get into the big games. I felt sorry for the young girls because obviously their mothers never taught them how to dress for a cold December evening. Likewise, I'm afraid the young men were never shown how to be gentlemen. They were all there, hanging around the bar, sitting in the comfy chairs, just chatting. They were there just to "hook up" or maybe more innocently "meet and greet." (Or maybe not) Anyway, it was a hoot for me just to observe the crowd.
As I trotted along through the casino watching people, (Rick's legs are so long and he was walking so fast I had to trot to keep up) I saw something that made me stop dead still for a moment. Along the wall were some machines that resembled ATMs. The slot machines used cards instead of money, and when a person won, the machine would put money on the card. The winner then took his card to the ATM looking machine to get his winnings. The sign that hung above these machines read, "REDEMPTION CENTER." For just a moment I had a cold shiver and had to blink back a tear. I thought about everything that was happening in the casino at the moment, every thing that might possibly be going through the minds of the varied masses of people that were there. The need for every soul to seek redemption.
Something inside me wanted to shout,, "Jesus Christ is the REAL redemption center! Go to Him and HE will redeem you!" I didn't do it for three reasons. 1-Security would have thrown me out on the street. 2-If I would have stood there long, I would have lost my long legged husband in the crowd. 3-I could not have shouted loud enough to be heard over the noise of the one armed bandits anyway. I suddenly had a heavy heart.
We went on into the concert and were well entertained. "The Boys" sang many of those "old" songs that we loved twenty some years ago. Then they performed several of their "fun" Christmas songs about Santa, cookies, love and snow. Then, as if he knew my heart was heavy, Joe Bonsall prefaced the last several musical numbers by saying they wanted to sing songs about the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas, and that it is all about the birth of "Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior." I couldn't blink back the tears. In the mix of songs was one that presented the message of redemption.
Every person at the Pechanga that night didn't get the message, but at least that sold out concert hall full of folks heard the words. Maybe they went home and thought about what they heard. I did. My heart was a little lighter. I'm glad we went.