Leavin’ for Las Vegas

English: The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

English: The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is really early…0 dark:thiry. Leaving for Vegas at the crack of dawn so that means writing in the dark. This is the 65th day I have gotten up to write and it isn’t hard anymore. I like it. I’m not sure when it went from a struggle to a pleasure but it happened along the way. There is a lesson in this. Beliefs are such thin paper houses we live in. I was so married to the belief that I wasn’t a “morning person.” I dragged myself out of bed for years thinking that I was somehow hardwired to stay up late and get up late…that for me rising with the sun was “out of character.” And here I am getting up every day at sunrise (or earlier) wide awake and feeling fine. The secret was pretty simple…go to bed earlier, which was a natural occurrence once I got up early. Such silly creatures are we…
Leaving for Las Vegas…G’s daughter is getting married. It’s a five hour drive across the desert and there won’t be much traffic since it is mid-week…should be a fun and easy trip. I haven’t been to Vegas since my son turned 21 nine years ago. The Strip will have new faces on some of the buildings, the wrecking ball stays busy in the city of money, but it will remain basically the same.
The first time I saw Vegas I was eight years old. 1958. Dad and his friends loaded their families in the station wagons and took off from Sturgis on a road trip to Vegas for a National Jaycee Convention. We stayed in a motel on the strip near the Silver Slipper Casino. The sight of that giant high heel of lights is the primary picture that registered in my memory. Vegas wasn’t as kid friendly as it is now. No Circus Circus or Arcades. We kids spent our time at the pool of the motel and played in the rooms but the sight of the Strip at night was dazzling for this little girl.
My ex-husband was a black-jack player so we made many trips to Vegas every year. He counted cards well and his ability to beat the house consistently paid for our trips. The Dunes was our home-away-from-home. The huge court-yard space around the pools with a walk-out from our room made it easy to bring the two kids. His parents liked to come with us and since I had willing baby-sitters I was able to spend some time exploring. I am not a gambler. The idea of risking my money at games of chance never appealed to me but early on I discovered I could sit in a live poker game and play cards for hours without investing more than $20. It was cheap entertainment. Poker Rooms are all the game of Hold “Em now. Internet Poker changed the face of live poker dramatically. But before those high speed games took over, we played a lazy version of Seven-Card Stud. There was a lot of conversation in those games. You got to know your opponents and the real game was to figure out their “tells.” The cards said one thing, but the body language told another. A table was made up of “regulars”, “locals”, “tourists” and “drunk tourists.” I was kind of an anomaly. I wasn’t a local but I wasn’t a typical tourist either. I was there so often I knew the dealers and room managers by their first names and many of the regulars as well. Poker rooms were still male bastions in those days so an attractive young woman was a welcome addition to any table if for no other reason than it gave them something different to look at and interact with. The dealers were very “kind” to me.
The dealers of Las Vegas. That is a sub-culture unto itself. There are many jobs that expose the public in an unflattering light and create an air of cynicism and mistrust for those who are serving them. I would hazard a guess that the gambling business rates high on that scale. There are so many memories flooding my banks right now I don’t even know where not to go next! I think I’ll just end it here and pack my bags. I’m leaving for Las Vegas…

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