“I’m going to the boats this weekend.”
The boats is the casino. Before gambling was legal, you could do it in the river, but you couldn’t do it on land. All the casinos used to be on boats. Her parents would say it when she was a kid and she would be so confused. Everyone in Kansas City knows what it means.
I think this folk speech is interesting because it represents how a certain population worked around restrictions that they had, and that became ingrained into their culture. It is also important to look at how the phrase has remained and lasted in the culture even well past the time when it needed to, so the phrase became so widespread and ingrained during the times that casinos were on boats that it couldn’t just leave the vernacular of the people.