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  • Writer's pictureJill

Las Vegas Bound!

First, let me tell you what we are doing on our road trip. In case you don't read my husband's newsletter ( Robert and I are embarking on a road trip down the Mississippi River!

We are flying to Minnesota (through Las Vegas!) and then driving to New Orleans. We will be sightseeing along the way, but our primary focus will be Robert's speaking tour. Democrats in primarily Republican states say that they feel isolated, and often despondent, without like minded folks around to work with or talk to. So, Robert and I are going to be part of the solution, and provide for them the community, and inspiration, to "keep calm and carry on" (the title of Robert's newsletter today!) by hosting reader meetings along the Mississippi - 8 meetings and over 200 readers! We are excited to meet you all!

And then...Las Vegas. I have always loved Las Vegas. I know it seems a little untoward, but my parents loved Las Vegas, and we would visit when I was growing up. I remember seeing Betty Grable in "Hello Dolly!" at the Riviera Hotel when I was 9 years old. I had so many Shirley Temples I almost floated away! And we always stayed at the Stardust, my dad's favorite hotel, and my favorite neon sign, which now resides in the city's Neon Museum, after the hotel was demolished in 2006.

At any rate, despite the fact that I do love the sparkle and energy of Las Vegas, I have not visited the city in 25 years, and, in fact, I will never visit again. Here's the reason.

I know I have told this story before, but let me tell it again since I just had a brief unexpected brush with the city limits.

At the turn of the millennium, in the year 2000, our family of 5 (Jenny, 15; Jackie 12, and Julia, 6) and our good friends, also a family of 5, took a trip to Vegas to celebrate the New Year. We saw Siegfried and Roy on New Year's Eve, and on New Year's Day we began the morning by having breakfast at the Venetian. Before getting on the road, we stopped at the restrooms, and then began the long trek to our car in the parking structure. It was a long walk, maybe 10 minutes or so, and when we arrived at our cars, we looked around, and realized...WE DIDN'T HAVE JULIA! (She was only 6 years old!)

I was stricken, panicked beyond comprehension, and all 10 of us immediately began RUNNING back toward the casino to retrace our steps to see if we could find her. As I was running as fast as I could, with my heart in my throat, I prayed. I said, "Lord, if you find Julia for me, I will NEVER visit Las Vegas again!"

We ran to the place in the casino where we had stopped at the restroom, and there on a bar stool amidst several security guards was our Julia, crying, but fine. She was so little (6) that she must have gotten distracted when we stopped, and because there was so many of us, we didn't notice (I didn't notice) that she had not followed us up the escalator to the parking lot.

Even retelling the story makes me queasy. We felt like the worst parents of the year. Losing your child in a casino? Could it get any worse?

So, that's why I haven't visited Las Vegas in 25 years, and I will never visit again. A promise is a promise. A very small price to pay for my Julia. A fabulous daughter and a spectacular human being.


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