Whenever we drive between Denver and Mesa, we always make it a two-day trip, staying overnight in Albuquerque. That way we only have to drive around seven hours each day, making the trip bearable. That’s one of the advantages of being retired.
For the past couple of years, we have always stayed at an Albuquerque hotel called Clubhouse Inn and Suites. It’s affordable and rather nice. They have a happy hour each night, so we can enjoy a beer or a gin-and-tonic after driving for seven hours.
The Clubhouse also has a rather nice pool in a lovely ourdoor courtyard. Interestingly, in all the previous times we’ve made the trip, we’ve never been able to sit by the pool. It’s either been too cold or it’s been raining. No big deal, really, because we are just there for a quick overnight stay.
This past time that we were traveling back to Denver, however, it was a nice warm evening and the pool was open. So Bill and I took our adult beverages outside and sat by the pool. There were a couple of groups of people out there with us. One was a group of adults who were clearly traveling together and having a wonderful time. The other was a family with several kids, all of whom were joyfully splashing in the swimming pool on that particularly nice evening.
Do you remember Holidomes? They were very popular in the 1970s. Holidomes were large Holiday Inns featuring an indoor pool area. The pool was surrounded by numerous chairs and tables. Often there were games to play, mostly things such as ping pong, pinball, or shuffleboard. Perhaps one of the early rudimentary video games. But the focus was on the swimming pool.
As I sat out by the pool that evening, I began to recall all of the times we had spent at a Holidome. More specifically, two specific Holidomes – one in North Platte and one on West Colfax in Denver.
After moving to Colorado, my family would occasionally arrange to meet my Uncle Dale and Aunt Venie and their two kids at the Holidome in North Platte, Nebraska. We would drive from Colorado and they would drive from Columbus, Nebraska, where they lived. None of us at that point were kids. Jen and Dave were both in high school and junior high. Still, we had a lot of fun. Lots of laughter and, of course, food. Jen recalls that one time Mom brought along a corned beef in her crock pot as it was St. Patrick’s Day. As Jen says, our mom was a gamer.
My favorite memories, however, are when our kids were small and the Colorado family would meet at the Holidome on West Colfax in Denver. Jen and her family would come from Fort Collins. Court’s dad and I would bring Court from our home in southeast Denver. Mom and Dad would come from Dillon. The kids would play games and swim, swim, swim. The grownups would eat cheese and crackers, Mom’s homemade pate, and maybe order a couple of pizzas to be delivered to the pool area of the hotel. I am being perfectly honest when I tell you that I can still close my eyes and remember the smell of the hotel as we sat by the pool. Chlorine and pizza sauce. And I can also hear the sounds of our kids splashing in the pool. So much laughter. Such fun.
Holidomes, at least as far as I know, are no longer in existence. I’m sure Holiday Inn has a solid financial reason for closing them down. People in this day and age are looking for something different I expect. But the memories of our times at Holiday Inn sure did come racing back to me that day sitting by the pool in Albuquerque.
And let me tell you, those kids were having some kind of fun. Maybe Holiday Inn should reconsider.