My Night in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot
"You did what?" my friend Dawn asked when I told her what my husband and I did for our anniversary.
I nodded. "Yep. Scott and I spent the night in our Explorer in a Wal-mart parking lot."
"On purpose?" She half-snorted.
I nodded again. "On purpose."
Okay, let me explain. Almost every year for our anniversary, Scott and I drive two-and-a-half hours to a small historic, tourist town just east of the Mississippi River. We knew we wanted to go there last year for our anniversary. But because we had no place to leave our dog (we don't do kennels), and because there were no pet-friendly motels in the area, and because it was November and no campgrounds were open, we opted to rough it.
We packed sleeping bags, toothbrushes, and our mini-DVD player for an overnighter. (Yes, we did take showers before we left!) Since Wal-Mart is open 24 hours, that seemed the most logical and safe place to host our slumber party. Granted, I couldn't pad barefoot to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but still, we thought it would be a fun adventure.
So that evening, after a candlelit Italian dinner and a long walk window shopping along the downtown streets, we headed to the sparse parking lot.
As we got out of the car and walked toward the store, Scott asked, "Are you sure this is okay?" From the look on his face, I figured he was actually thinking, Are you going to go along with this, but then sometime in the future bring up the fact that I was a louse about our anniversary?
I laughed. "Yes," I said, squeezing his hand. "This is totally okay. Really."
We nearly skipped into Wal-Mart like two giddy kids on their way to Walt Disney World.
Inside we bought a movie and some snacks, brushed our teeth, then ran back to the car to snuggle down for the night.
"This is just like a drive-in!" I said, munching on some Milk Duds.
The movie ended up being lame, Scott fell asleep halfway through, and our dog kept barking at passing cars, but we had a blast.
We still talk about how much fun that sleepover was. Sure, it's not the most romantic or high-brow way to spend an anniversary, and I admit that my joints were creaky the next day. But it accomplished exactly what we'd set out to do: celebrate in a unique way, and just hang out together.
Life is too often too serious and troublesome. It felt nice for my husband and me to do something completely different and fun and nonserious. Even just for that short while.
Our next anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. Alas, no Wal-Mart parking lot for us this year. We're doing our civic duty by voting (something I strongly urge all citizens to do!) and then we're heading to a concert in nearby downtown Chicago. I think it will still be fun, and we'll probably still talk about it for years to come.
But I also know there are several Wal-Marts on our way into the city. And as we pass each of them, I know Scott and I will look at each other and share a secret joy over the night we celebrated our wedding sleeping in a parking lot.
If you're married, what's the most unusual and fun way you've spent your anniversary?
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My Night in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot
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