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    December 2021 Newsletter: Happy Holidays!

    image of man holding leg lamp

    Hi fellow traveler!  

    A few years back, I was in Cleveland Ohio to watch a football game with a few of my buddies. I realized that the house from the movie A Christmas Story was nearby. 
    That movie has long been one of my favorites, so I talked my friends into catching an Uber to check it out. The home was purchased in 2004 and remodeled to look just like the movie version. 
    What a cool experience!  If you want to see the house, you can watch my video.
    I got to hide from the Old Man under the kitchen sink (“daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie”). I also got to see where Ralph decoded “Drink your Ovaltine.” 
    By the way, the owner also purchased the house next door and turned it into a hotel named “The Bumpus House.”
    But the highlight, of course, was holding “A major award!”  There I stood, holding an actual LEG LAMP while standing inside the sacred house when…..
    I dropped the lamp and broke it.  
    Nah, I’m Just kidding.  But that does lead me into the story I want to share with you today.  
    In the movie, you’ll recall that Ralphie’s Old Man wins the voluptuous leg in a newspaper contest, and is very proud of his Major Award. Of course, the wife is horrified and is both embarrassed and resentful of the leg. 
    Making matters worse, the Old Man puts the leg in the front window. According to Ralphie, “the whole neighborhood was turned on.” 
    The mother then “accidentally” destroys the monstrosity (or work of art, depending on your point of view), and the dad flips out. He buries it that night to the sound of taps. 
    What we don’t see in the movie is, to quote Paul Harvey, the REST of the Christmas Story. 
    The movie is based on a series of short stories written by the brilliant Jean Shepherd, who also wrote and narrated the movie. The written account provides an interesting follow-up. 

    Tour the Christmas Story house | Cleveland OH

    (You can buy the book on Amazon. If you like the movie, you’ll LOVE the short stories!)
    After the “sensual, luminous…nimbus of Pagan fire” is destroyed (intentionally?) by the wife, the old man desperately tries to salvage his award by gluing it back together. But alas, after two hours the glue couldn’t keep it together. 
    Frustrated, he and the wife have a few words, then refuse to talk to each other. 
    This begins the Great Marriage Standoff. The battle between the old man and the wife “moved into the Trench Warfare or Great Freeze Stage.”
    For three long days, not a word is said between man and wife. Kids delicately maneuver the uncomfortable silence. 
    Then, the Christmas Spirit entered.

    While reading the paper in the front room, the husband looks out the window where the leg once stood in unparalleled glory and says, “you know, I like the room this way.” 
    The wife, working in the kitchen replies “uh… know, I’m sorry I broke it.”
    Old Man: “Well, it really was pretty jazzy.” 
    Wife: “No, I really thought it was pretty!” 
    Old Man: “It didn’t go well in here.”
    Then, the Old Man gave the official treaty declaration: “family, let’s take in a movie!”

    The argument was never resolved. They just moved on. 
    Who hasn’t been in the Great Marriage/Child/Parent/Brother/Sister/Friend Standoff before?  

    If you’re in one now, I would urge you to forgive and focus more on making things right rather than being right. 
    Let the Spirit of Christmas work within you. Bury the hatchet and go “take in a movie.”  

    THAT is the rest of the Christmas Story.

    Let it serve to remind us the most important part of the holidays: people.  

    From our family to yours, I hope you have a Merry Christmas. 

    – Matt 

    Latest Guides

    We recently created guides for Glacier National Park and the Grand Canyon.  We’re working on Bryce Canyon, the Black Hills and Washington, DC (ok, it’s not in the Rockies, but I know it really well!).

    Latest videos

    Grand Canyon Trip Planner
    7 things to see in the Grand Canyon Village
    Bryce Canyon’s Scenic Drive
    8 things to do between Zion and Bryce
    The Best of Bryce Canyon: 17 things to do

    Mark your Calendars!

    • December 12thThe Best of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills. This will be a PREMIER, which means we will be on YouTube while the video is being shown, and you can ask us questions or chat about whatever you want while the movie is being shown.  This is a 52-minute video covering 21 things to do in the Black Hills. This will PREMIER on December 12th at 7AM Mountain Standard Time (6am PST, 8am CST, 9am EST). Click the link above to see a preview. 
    • December 27thBlack Hills LIVE Q&A.  In this video we’ll address specific trip-planning tips for the Black Hills. Since it’s LIVE, you’ll be able to ask us questions and get answers in real time. 
    • January: Time to get ready for Yellowstone! Stay tuned for our Yellowstone Q & A. 


    We’re Matt and Cheryl, and we’re in the Rockies. :) We are both teachers. Cheryl teaches special ed, and Matt teaches American history. We love the American West and the national parks. We want to help you have a great vacation on your next trip to the Rockies.


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