Old Market Blues

Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“What are you guys doing this weekend?” said our friends the Graves when they called.
“Nothing much,” we replied.
“For our anniversary, our kids got us a free night’s stay at the Ameristar in Omaha,” they said, “Wanna go along?”
“Well sure,” we said. “That was mighty nice of your kids to spring for two rooms!”
“Ummmm, they didn’t actually…just the one,”
“I know, I know..just kiddin. Of course we’d like to go.”
So at 8 O’clock Sunday morning they pulled into our driveway..we loaded up an overnight bag and pointed their Nissan South with plans to hit Omaha’s Old Market area in time for lunch at a sports bar and watch the Vikings/San Francisco game.
It took forever to get there…more about that later.
Denny has a GPS system which he figured would help us navigate around Omaha. The problem is, you have to have a destination programmed in for the thing to work and we weren’t sure where in Old Market we were going. Finally we came up with an address that sounded like it was in the historic district and, sure enough, the female voice of the GPS started yelling..telling us where to go.
“Doesn’t that thing have a volume control?” I asked? “She’s really getting on my nerves.” But she guided is to a very nice place; perfect for what we were after with plenty of parking spots nearby. Old Market in Omaha..nice area but watch where you park.What we didn’t find out until much later is that those spots aren’t for out-of-town schlubs like us and even though it was Sunday and the lot was empty..we were presented with a yellow envelope on the windshield and a 20 dollar fine…60 bucks if you don’t pay within two weeks and after that, warrants will be issued and we could wind up cooling our heels in the Omaha hoosegow for awhile.
There was a time when local police would cut people with out of state plates some slack..issuing a warning or friendly reminder to that an ordinance was violated..please don’t do it again.
Not any more. 
Plus, why do business places that are closed on the weekends insist that their parking lots be off limits to visitors and shoppers?
Oil stains on the asphalt?
Anyway, we weren’t about to let this pathetic “Welcome to Old Market” incident ruin our day..so we ordered some food and beverages and settled-in to watch the game.
Now, all four of us have been Vikings’ fans since day one and earned the right to rag on them when they play poorly as well as cheer when they do well. There wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about Sunday..especially with General Robert E. Lee now commanding the Federal forces. So, after Mr. Favre dances over the line of scrimmage and the Vikings fail to mount an effective offense and are forced to punt with a couple minutes to go and no timeouts..we got up and…..YES IT’S TRUE.. paid our bill and left.
That’s when we discovered the parking ticket.
“You drive, Doug,” said Denny. “I’ll program the GPS for the Ameristar Casino.” 
The car radio was on low and I thought I heard the announcer say something about a miracle in Minnesota but then that dadblamed automotronic voice started blasting out directions and I couldn’t hear. Suddenly,  both Linda and Joanie’s phones started ringing at the same time. It was our daughters calling to say, “WOW..did you see that comeback by Favre ? Never seen anything like it.”
That’s right…we missed it. We’d given up on our team and walked out before the game was over. The former rebel general about to launch the game winning throw.
I suppose people will now accuse us of  being fair weather fans but it’s just that we’ve  built up emotional calluses from years of watching the Vikings BLOW games..not stage any highlight- reel comebacks.
Oh well, it’s not like we haven’t seen those last two minutes replayed and analyzed a couple hundred times since then. But I think we’ll watch until the bitter end this next week to see if General Lee is really now one of us when it’s his old soldiers he’s up against.
Oh yeah, about the road to Omaha. Don’t be in a hurry to get there….for the next several years!
It’s not much of a stretch to say that fully half of I-29 is under construction.
There’s no chance it’ll be done by this winter either..much of the old highway is just now being torn up.
By the way, the record for longest road construction project in history still belongs to Sioux City where the orange barrels and concrete barriers have been in place since President Eisenhower was in office.

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