This entry was a little ditty I wrote when my youngest was still a toddler, but it remains a favorite and appears in my latest book, I'LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU...UNLESS I'M SOMEWHERE ELSE?!
Vegas. Picture a family who doesn’t drink, smoke, or gamble spending their vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada and you’ve got a recipe for success, don’t you? Right. I don’t know why we didn’t call you and ask you before we booked it either.
We were trying to be independent and see where that gets us? In Las Vegas. Not that I don’t love it. It’s just not the place to go during Easter break when all of the other boys, girls and parents have decided to descend upon this desert version of Disneyland in search of that elusive thing we’ve only heard about, but never really experienced infrequently. Family fun.
In all of our wisdom and, dare I say, packing some false courage, we decided to drive from northern California through Nevada’s fine desert region, staying in Tonopah, Nevada on the way, Tonopah being, I think, Paiute for trailers. And then “Onward, ho!” toward the Las Vegas territories.
Due to our Las Vegas destination and presence in Nevada, that “ho” part of the statement takes on a new meaning also. As we traveled past perkily painted pink palaces like the “Bunny Ranch,” my daughter screamed out that she wanted to stop and “pet” the bunnies. You and every other cowboy within a sixty-mile radius, missy.
We just put the pedal to the medal and resolutely pressed on, providing some sort of lame excuse like, “the bunnies are sleeping,” which probably wasn‘t entirely untrue, it being before noon.
We arrived at our hotel tired and parched, but feeling somewhat as though we were pioneers, except for this time we were pioneers in the smoking world. How strange it was to go from “God’s country” to Marlboro country. Who knew that childhood-filled memories imprinted in the mist of the secondhand smoke of my mind would swirl, yea, these many years later.
As I achooed my way to our room, I noted that there was a theme park located right inside our building and it dawned on me that there was another reason that this vacation was an odd choice for us. We were staying at “Circus, Circus” and I absolutely detest clowns. In fact, yes, it’s true. They sort of scare me.
Why had I not thought of this before I’d booked us into Clown Heaven, where not only were there pictures of clowns everywhere, but live clowns were walking all around the premises, garishly smiling or miming their way into my daily life. I resolutely resolved to be a big girl and have a good time. Next step, the hotel room.
And that’s when things turned around. As we were led into our room I was dazzled by the fact that it was decorated with my favorite color – purple. The room was actually pretty darned large and as we made our way back downstairs we found a restaurant that provided us with the best meal we’d had in months, mainly because I do most of the cooking.
Next stop was the pool, where there wasn’t a clown in sight, maybe because their "natural" ensemble doesn’t exactly qualify as pool attire. We frolicked, sunbathed, had iced teas served to us poolside and for the rest of the trip the fun just kept coming.
So what’s the moral of the story? As parents accept the fact that we have no idea what will work and what won’t, so just throw some ideas at a metaphorical wall, like so much spaghetti, and see what sticks.