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i suppose i’ve always liked las vegas. i think it might even be hereditary. mom and dad were married there in the spring of 42 just a couple years before he shipped out to euroland and the war. yeah, sure there was a fairly long spell when i’d hit lake tahoe, rather than vegas, either on pre or post dove hunting up in the central valley. it was nice. quiet. a good place for cards and drinks. plenty of drinks. a late breakfast around 10 or 11. steak. eggs. carbs. plenty of carbs. then campari and soda. with a twist. until i’d fall into bed whenever. even a nice elevator ride chat with patti labelle once. drink still in hand. i oozed how wonderful she and her sisters had been that night down in the showroom. i hadn’t seen them. it just seemed like the right thing to say. though i’m sure they were. or maybe getting off on the wrong floor and scaring some guy so bad he hid in the ice/coke machine room. i thought i was on the right floor. ah, no. two floors from where i was supposed to be. poor dude. i wonder who he thought i was? yeah, tahoe. nice place. maybe even in the winter. i wouldn’t know.
back when i was a kid when my folks hit vegas, tahoe, reno, carson city etc. i was dragged right along. my dad would look for a dice game and mom would find some quiet slot area and i’d watch her play. it would last for awhile but eventually some guy would show up and tell my mother i wasn’t welcome. i’d end up out in the car. napping or people watching until it was time to leave. i guess i was lucky i wasn’t kidnapped or worse. but then those were different times. stuff did happen but not nearly as often as these days.
when i got older but still not 21 i’d play the slots with mom. usually the same end however. i was told to leave. i was also lucky i never hit a jackpot. they would have kept it. no sitting in the car though. i’d just wander. looking.
one of my favorite vegas trips was right after i got back from the nam. my folks took me. the trip was on dad. i don’t remember much other than a very nice dinner at the top of the mint hotel. perfect red fatty protein. then after dinner mom and i went to a show. vic damone and jan murray. vic was great. jan was killer hilarious.
that trip was the first time i followed dad around while he looked for a dice game. he knew what he was looking for, and maybe or maybe not, he’d find it. the game. he had an instinct for it. when he did find what he was looking for and played. he won. i could never figure it out. maybe if he’d taught me craps at age 5 instead of poker i’d know. at any rate, it was always interesting to tag along on his dice game hunts.
they’re both gone now. though i’m sure when the brown eyed girl and i make one of our vegas runs they tag right along. dinner at joel robuchon’s or bouchon. happy that we’re happy. how do i know this? hmm, yeah. ok.
my dad passed away a couple of years ago. mom a few years before that. we had planned a vegas trip in june but dad got sick. or sicker. we had to cancel. he passed away not long after. we went in july. we usually make a pit stop at a mickey d’s in barstow. as we were leaving this big fly made an appearance. you know doing one of those fly dance things when it’s hot and sorta humid. buzzing you. it even made it to the inside the car.
the most persistent fly i’ve ever seen. as we got back on the 15 we played the game of cracking a window and shooing it out. somehow it always managed to get back in. this went on for a while. we eventually got it out of the car but it somehow attached itself to one of the windshield wipers. all of this at 75 miles an hour. it hung on for a time then miraculously got sucked into the cars ventilation system and ended up back inside the car. unharmed. the brown eyed girl and i looked at one another and at the same time said, it’s dad. maybe it was. maybe it wasn’t. maybe we’ll never know. but, well, you get those feelings at times. that’s all i can say.
las vegas. yeah, it’s hereditary.