June 22, 2005

Vegas on my mind

When I was growing up we took family vacations at least once a year. While we often hit tropical climes such as Acapulco, Grand Cayman, and Belize, we spent a great deal of time in Vegas and Tahoe.

I do not recall exactly whether my parents had an agreement that every other year one of them would be able to choose the destination, but it certainly seemed that way. You see, my mother loves to play Blackjack and I grew up in Louisiana in the years before casinos and gambling were allowed on Indian reservations.

Oh, my, the stories I could tell (and probably will) of going to the Vegas strip as a teenager with my mother and sister after we waved dad off on yet another drive and tour of Hoover dam.

Fortunately for me, after about age fourteen, I did not look fourteen and never had any problems entering casinos or playing Blackjack and the slots. In fact, the year we were in Tahoe, I was fourteen (not quite fifteen) and my sister had just turned eighteen.

When Sister and I checked on Mom, she gave us a bucket of chips to cash and sent us on our way to do a little shopping. We spent her winnings and returned. Again, she gave us a bucket of chips and suggested we convert them to quarters and go play the slot machines until she was ready to go to dinner.

Dutifully, sister and I split the earnings and began playing the quarter slots. Initially, we played side-by-side.

After just a few moments, two security guards, one male and one female, walked up to my sister and began questioning her: "Are you staying here at the Sahara Tahoe? Are you enjoying your stay? How old are you? May we see some form of ID?"

Throughout the questioning and her stammering responses, I moved down one machine at a time. By the time I rounded the corner, I saw that they were escorting her out of the casino.

For those who are unaware, my sister and I both have dark hair and dark eyes; however, the resemblance ends there. At eighteen she was not quite five feet tall, very petite in a China doll way, and weighed around 85 pounds. At the time I was five feet five or six inches tall and probably weighed 110 pounds.

A few minutes passed and the male security guard walked up to me. He was cute and very nice. He began to question me: "Are you staying here at the Sahara Tahoe? Are you enjoying your stay?"

As I answered him, I began collecting my things in anticipation of being escorted out of the casino myself; however, he then asked me: "Do you have plans for dinner?"

Ha! That is one I have YET to let dear older sister live down!

The last time I was in Vegas I was twenty years old. My mother missed me and wanted to spent time with me, at least that is what she said. She arranged a trip just for the two of us over Spring Break.

Have I mentioned my mother loves to play Blackjack?

Just checking.

When she plays, she likes to sit to the right of the dealer and is the last person to whom cards are dealt. I assume it is because she likes to see what cards come up before it is her turn.

Me, I am not a patient human and really do not give a flip about what any of the other players are doing. My preference is to play one-on-one with the dealer or to sit in the chair to the left of the dealer and receive my cards first. For the record, my mother wins a lot more than I do.

When my mother and I play at the same table, she has the very annoying habit of chattering incessantly and then trying to tell everyone what to do before it is her turn. Because my mother is delightful and very, very funny, most other humans do not take offense at her or her behavior, in fact, they typically encourage her.

The second night of our trip, Mom and I were sitting in our appointed seats at a Blackjack table. As was her wont, she was chatting with the dealer, the pit boss, and everyone else in speaking distance. Being a very proud mother, she went to great lengths to inform anyone who would listen as she indicated toward me: "That's my daughter. She's in law school. She's twenty."

At which point I had to interject pointedly, "No, mother, I am twenty-one, not twenty."

I was twenty, but the legal gambling age was twenty-one.

"Oh, no," my mother asserted. "I was there when you were born, I know how old you are. You are twenty."

Then, it was my turn to finally get escorted out of a casino.

Thanks, Mom.

For my mother's birthday a couple of years ago, my sister and I were visiting my parents when my sister suggested we take Mom to one of the land-based casinos some thirty-five miles from their house.

My mother was all excited, then asked what we were going to do with my nephew and my two daughters. I told her I would keep an eye on the kids because the casino had a playroom/day care area and she and my sister could gamble.

My mother was appalled with that suggestion, she said: "I don't want my grandchildren hanging around kids of those gambling moms."

I merely told her it was no worse than those mothers dragging their underage teenage daughters to Vegas and teaching them how to play Blackjack and slots. She failed to see the humor or the irony.

What are the odds of that?

Posted by Christina at June 22, 2005 12:07 PM


Not much for taking a hint, huh? Too funny. Did she die of embarrassment after getting you kicked out?

Posted by: Tanya at June 22, 2005 02:08 PM

My you had an exciting childhood. My parents never took us anywhere. Actually they didn't take trips themselves, by choice not because they couldn't. I'm sooo jealous of you!! Your Mom sounds like she's a hoot.

Posted by: Junebugg at June 22, 2005 03:38 PM

sounds like fun! ever since i was about twelve, i was mistaken for anywhere between a junior in high school to a senior in college, with a couple of 26's or 27's in there... made life interesting ; )

Posted by: amelie at June 22, 2005 03:41 PM

I was always mistaken for being older than I was until I was of age at which point everyone thought I was a baby. I don't get carded anymore, but boy I couldn't leave my ID behind those days!

Posted by: Oddybobo at June 22, 2005 04:00 PM

Ah...the parental units don't much see the humour when it's pointed in their direction, but I guess we're all like that!

Mmmm. Vegas, baby. I can't wait until I get there in August;-)

For many reasons...

Posted by: Sadie at June 22, 2005 04:55 PM

My mom and your mom would have gotten along great! I bet she's a hoot.

When I was 13 and went into a grocery store with my 3 and 7 year-old nieces the checker told me how cute my daughters were. I also got asked which college I went to all the time from the time I was about 11. Funny how just in the past few years (I'm 41) I am only now actually starting to look any different than I did at 16. Kind of a curse because grown men would hit on me when I was WAY too young to be able to deflect them gracefully.

And don't feel bad, my sister and brother in-law got kicked out of a casino when she was 7 1/2 months pregnant! I guess being married and pregnant just didn't make them "mature" enough to be gamb ling. (sorry if I spell it correctly it is "questionable content".)

Posted by: Momotrips at June 22, 2005 05:26 PM

Your mom...got you in while you were underage....and then...got you kicked out of...

*brain shuts down*

Posted by: zonker at June 22, 2005 06:11 PM

25 to 1

Posted by: Dax Montana at June 22, 2005 06:52 PM

Wow....I wish my mom had been more like you're mom!!

And if you haven't been back to Vegas since you were 20, you really should go again. It has changed by leaps and bounds over the years! Alan and I usually go once or twice a year (since it's an easy drive from L.A).....and every year it seems like there are ten times more casinos/hotels than the last year. It's crazy! It's fun to compare photos from the past to what it looks like now.

Posted by: Dogsdontpurr at June 22, 2005 07:50 PM

Love going to Vegas! We have a timeshare condo on the strip, so for two weeks out of the year we can live on the strip,,,what fun!! You'll have to join us sometime!

Posted by: Michele at June 23, 2005 03:50 AM

Wow...that sounds like you had some good times. Your mom is a hoot!

Posted by: Moogie at June 23, 2005 07:57 AM

Ahhh, Vegas! One of our favorite vacation spots.
There's something for everyone!

Posted by: Ali at June 23, 2005 10:12 AM

Oh my god. That was an amazing series of Vegas stories. What a riot. I found you on Sandy's site and thought I would stop by. You have a beautiful blog with awesome options for your readers. How lovely!

Posted by: Mona at June 23, 2005 10:50 AM

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