Welcome to Las Vegas!

By SUE STATON

Community Columnist

I’d had a trip to Las Vegas planned for two years. The one and only time I had ever visited that city had been in the late 1970s, and I had always wanted to go again.

So I talked a dear friend into going back with me two years ago. We called ahead and got our plane tickets to fly out at the end of April 2020. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, our trip was canceled. We were told our tickets would still be good whenever we were allowed to fly. We once again planned our trip for the end of April of this year.

We were to fly out of the Cincinnati airport on a Sunday with an early flight, so we decided it would be best for us to spend the night near the airport because we are not spring chickens anymore. We arrived there and decided to eat at the Rafferty’s nearby. It was while we were waiting in line for a table that we wondered if we were going to get to see Vegas because of what happened.

To really make explaining this short, a man who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both tried to start trouble in more ways then one. He left the building and proceeded to do donuts at a high speed around the outside parking lot. He then parked his car and re-entered the building, and by that time everyone was panicked. The manager escorted him out, and he acted unusual outside. The police had to be called.

In today’s world, with all that has happened, the whole place was on edge. I was thinking I was never going to get to Vegas or live to see home.

The next morning, once again it looked iffy for us because the fog was like pea soup outside. We both expected the flight to be detained, but we did take off, Vegas-bound.

We had a very pleasant ride on the plane. My friend, M.K., and I love to talk, and we enjoyed talking to a man sitting near us. I had never met a professional gambler before, but this gentleman was one. He frequented Las Vegas often and other casinos around the United States. Since he would be flying home the same day that we did, we joked that if we saw him on the plane, we would know he didn’t fly back on a private jet.

We finally arrived in Las Vegas, and my ex-sister-in-law, Pat Darnell and her daughter, Michelle, were waiting at the luggage pickup to greet us. It was so great to see both of them. My friend M.K.’s mom and Pat’s mom were best friends, and we all had gone to church at Kiddville Baptist together many years ago.

Patsy and Michele drove us down the strip in Vegas, then took us to eat lunch at a restaurant called Blueberry Hill. One could tell it was a great place to eat because the line was extremely long. Thinking we would be waiting for about an hour after giving our names, we decided to look around their gift shop. About two minutes later, we were seated. We learned we were with the right person. The manager told the hostess to seat us. He was a friend of Pat’s.

We arrived at Pat’s house in Spanish Oaks and immediately were treated royally. Later we decided we would take a walk, and she decided to drive us around first to show us where two miles would be and where cut-throughs were if we did not want to walk that far. As we drove, she showed us where some important people lived up the street from her. Col. Tom Parker, (Elvis Presley’s manager), B.B. King, Michael Jackson’s dad, the president of UNLV, a congressman from Nevada and several more that I do not remember.

Pat and her husband Marshall (who is now deceased) had been pretty important themselves. Marshall had a beautiful, elementary school named after him. He has had countless impressive honors throughout his lifetime. They both hailed from Kentucky. He began as a teacher and became a principal and superintendent in Las Vegas. Patsy was a counselor at high schools there.

My friend and I enjoyed our walk so much because we enjoyed the different flowers, plants and buildings. Across from Pat’s house is a large pool, and a street or two up is a tennis facility with six courts. Pat said the main reason they purchased the house there was that her son played tennis when he was home. He is now with the Secret Service.

Since there is a three-hour time difference between Las Vegas and Winchester, Ky., we were worn out. We had gotten up at 5 a.m. Kentucky time, and it was near midnight when we got to sleep.

The next morning, Michelle arrived to take us two hours away to the Valley of Fire. It is amazing how the rock changed from brown and gray to the color of fire. The rock itself is beautiful. It is definitely worth going to see.

After going to Lake Mead, we went to a Mexican restaurant in Overton, Nevada.

We came back home to rest, then went to eat at a place we never knew existed. It was a Marie Callender’s Restaurant. It was good. I have eaten the pies and frozen dinners from Marie Callender’s, but never knew the company had restaurants. We again drove down the Las Vegas Strip after dark.

I’m writing this on the third day of my vacation, and we have spent the entire day on the Strip.

As I expected, the Vegas Strip has doubled since I was there. The Bellagio is beyond beautiful. I understand that every season is gorgeous there, and Christmas is even more spectacular.

We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, ate outside and sat watching the fountains in front of the Bellagio. The crowds are coming back to Vegas as we watched the streets packed on Tuesday.

Oh, by the way, I did play the slots and came away with $35 to the good. Pretty good for penny slot machines, I thought.

We’re going to California tomorrow! I will finish writing about Las Vegas next week.