I've been to Las Vegas twice. The first trip was back in the stone age, in the pre-children 1980's when Denny and I flew there for a short vacation. The second time was 25 years later, in March 2008 with Ms. Laura for her spring break Both trips focused around the 4.5 mile Las Vegas Strip. They were very different visits from a number of standpoints not the least of which was the enormous change in the appearance of that sinful strip.
I'm going back. This trip will be a third, totally different Vegas experience. I'm so excited; have been since I bought the tickets in late January.
This time I'm visiting my dearest girlfriend, the one who worked by my side for many years in Houston, the one who moved to Florida in 1990, the one who I've kept up with over the years by snail mail, emails, intermittent visits and a very rare telephone call (she knows I shun the phone and maybe accepts my quirkiness). She's also the one who enjoys sipping rum and diet coke, splashed with a bit of lime with me and makes me roll with laughter. She's the one who doesn't take herself too seriously and can take a dare (alright, our dares are getting tamer all the time). She's the one who tells me I'm an unusual and complex person (I like this). She's the one who coined a phrase close to my heart; "I don't know anything about it." (you sort of had to be there to get the relevance and power of this). She's the one who knows everyone, who will talk to taxi cab drivers, who is my reserved social phobic alter ego.
She is Pate. I call her by her last name, always have.
Only Pate would move from Tampa to Vegas. That's a long story.
Only Pate would leave her husband behind in Tampa to sell their house and live in an Airstream trailer in a trailer park before buying a house in Vegas.
I love this woman. She makes me laugh, always has.
In addition to spending time with her, I'm going to cool my heels while in Vegas in a trailer park instead of a glitzy hotel on the the strip. That's an enormous plus. I told Pate earlier this year that I had to make my first visit to see her while she was still parked in that silver bomb in the midst of other rigs; both big and small, luxurious and otherwise. She apparently knows all her neighbors and this is not surprising. That's Pate.
Whether I put money in a slot machine while I'm in town matters not. I'd only lose it. What matters is a few wonderful days away, a chance to renew a friendship of a lifetime, and the distinct privilege of sleeping and drinking rum and cokes in that trailer.