Remember catching a glimpse of the casino that had the big red velvet ropes? We couldn't go in but we knew that whatever was behind there was bad for us (in a good way). All those dressed up ladies in high heels, smoking cigarettes and men with slicked back hair. The sound of ample coins hitting the metal catch tray.
But our love filled vacation only lasted a few days and then I had to go home. Back to the real world of 3rd grade. A world full of sharpened number 2 pencils, learning "Clementine" on the recorder and whether John Cherry really liked me. When I didn't hear from you I was hurt. No, really. You were my...first vacation. There would never be another like you.
Oh sure, there was Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park. There was even a brief tryst with Bedrock Village and Disneyland. But they couldn't compare to you. You with your shiny twinkling lights at night, your lucky smiling leprechaun, your, your...umm. I'm sure you had a lot more to offer than my 9 year old brain could possibly comprehend. I heard the rumors of the other vacation spots and how they talked about you. They said you were dirty and small. That you smelled bad and that there was nothing to do. I always tried to defend you. In my opinion you were just misunderstood. I just KNEW you had the same flare as Paris (or what I imagined it to be). Vegas was the worst. She bad mouthed you for years. Saying you were her ugly step sister. That you had no class. That you were for...gasp...old people!!!
Fast forward 10 (ok..ok, 28) years. Mom is turning 60 and will be in Reno with a girlfriend. Would I fly out and surprise her with her girlfriend's daughters? I don't know. In my mind I'm thinking, "Couldn't we go to Vegas? Isn't Reno kinda, gross?"
Then, as any good type A personality with a guilty complex and an overactive superego knows, I instantly felt bad. Shame on me! So your heart was broken, so what? You got over it. You've moved on. You had some good times with Reno. Give her another try. It's for your MOM damn it!
So, we 3 thirtysomething girls hopped on a plane and went to say "RE YES!!!"
Come on baby, mamma needs a stiff drink, hot young men and some dirty cash. Ok, here's how it went down. This man, "Doc Cheatum" met us in the hotel lobby. Talkin' about the fabulous shows and slots that we were about to experience. Oh, we had some experiences but I wouldn't necessarily call them "fabulous". Our pedicures clouded and clumped. The 1:30am fire alarm going off the the 16th floor, terrifying. The watered down drinks and waiters that could barely speak English let alone get you another glass of water.
But then there was this...Front row baby! This man with the face of a plastic Clay Aiken gave us the business! We screamed and hollered and generally made fools of ourselves. And he loved it! We were personally invited back any time we wanted. That's right, Greg groupies.
More importantly, mom had a good time. And ya know, upon further reflection, I did too. Reno may not be the ultimate vacation spot but as my camera died while it took one last photo, I realized it might have been a sign. I think this is what I'm supposed to learn...
The colors and memories may be faded, but there will always be a line of traffic and a fat guy walking down your street to see you.
I'm not exactly sure what it means now, but in another 28 years I'm hoping it will make sense.