Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

a panda, a parade, and the pearly gates

Panda’s require a lot of sleep.

How do I know this? I am a panda.  My husband says I am.

And I Googled pandas.

Mike has spent the past several days pointing out everything that defines his reason for calling me a panda.  I scrape most of the tartar sauce from my fish sandwich. “Panda!” he blurts out, pointing at my food.  I put on black eyeliner to go to the theater. “Panda,” he says pointing to my face.  I fall asleep in the middle of an expensive stage show at the theater. “Panda,” he whispers as he pokes me awake.

But the most important part of this is…as a panda, I require sleep.  Much more than I get.  Which was a total of four hours last night. 

Mike and I rolled out of bed at nine-thirty this morning after staying up til nearly dawn.  I had napped a bit during the show last night, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Sleep or no sleep, the plan was to have breakfast and jump into the car. Destination?  The mountains.  Our quest to find a historic farmhouse to renovate was renewed, and we had nothing else to do today.

I fell asleep in the car a few times on the way there, despite drinking a grande pumpkin spice latte (full caf) before hitting the highway.  (I dreamed Mike colored my eyes black and dressed me in white fur.) But once we hit the quaint little town, Mike woke me up just in time for the annual Christmas parade.

At least, I think it was a parade.

There was a man in uniform directing traffic. People dressed in their holiday finery were strutting down Main Street on horseback. And a guy dressed as Santa rode what looked like a lawn mower through the center of town. 

We were detoured away from Main Street, and as we snaked around the side streets, we found ourselves somehow entangled with the parade as it made its way from the other direction. Flatbeds wrapped in red plastic sheeting and carrying the town’s senior citizens strapped to weathered rocking chairs passed us on the narrow roadway.  The people on the floats, close enough to stick their smiling faces right up to the passing car windows, shouted, “Merry Christmas!” at us as if it was an order rather than glad tidings. 

This was a little too much for my husband to take, so we headed for the nearest parking space to abandon the car for a little lunch.

After drinking a grande latte for breakfast, I rejected the idea of eating Mexican cuisine (the most popular restaurant in town, based on the packed dining room) and instead, opted for a nice little bistro promising, “A little slice of Heaven.”

The Pearly Gates, as the place was called, was all but empty, and in retrospect, that should have tipped me off.  I looked at the sign as we went in and giggled to my husband, “I hope this isn’t the last place we ever eat.”

What was it DC said in her guest post last night?  Everything happens for a reason?  Well, my horrible stomach ache has got to be the direct result of the food I ate at The Pearly Gates. It cost twice as much as the McDonald’s I had the night before, but it was only half as good.  Even the “home-baked” brownie tasted as if it was baked last Christmas. 

We paid our bill in, “cash only please,” and high-tailed it out of there before the gates swung open and George Lucas poked his head out with his shiny Christmas light-saber. 

Despite the horrible meal, the rest of the day was sort of fun.  We found a few houses to look at, and even if none of them were perfect, the day was as close as you can get without a winning lottery ticket (or a brand new book deal!)

I even picked up a new wreath for the front door, bringing just a little bit of Christmas home with me. If I don’t die from food poisoning in my sleep, I might even get a Christmas tree tomorrow. Then again…I might just sleep in…we pandas need our beauty rest!

Until the next time…I’ll be working on this week’s Daywalkers!

Copyright © 2000-2016, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.