Okay! So I didn’t get married this past weekend, but I did take a quickie trip to Vegas for a wedding. I left Friday, the wedding was on Saturday, and I returned Sunday.
My nephew, Lindsay who teaches literature and creative writing at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, married his longtime girlfriend, Anna, in Las Vegas, her hometown. The wedding and reception were held at Canyon Gate Country Club. It was lovely. And the best part was that my whole family was able to attend––even my mom who turns 101 in a month.
Two carloads of family drove from Bakersfield, California, to Las Vegas, a trip of about 4 hours. And I flew in from Eugene on a nonstop flight.
Gotta tell ya, that Vegas airport is really spread out. D gates where I came in and out were far, far from baggage pick up and check in. I had to ride a shuttle train that seemed to go a mile or so between terminals. The experience made me really appreciate the single baggage carousel at Eugene. There were 15 carousels in Vegas and the signs indicated it could be any of the last three. I finally found my bag. Next time I’ll just take a carry-on.
Then I followed signs to the taxi. That meant going outside and it was like walking into an oven. Even at 9:45 p.m., it was still about 100 degrees! And the taxi line had a few hundred people snaking back and forth in lines about a block long. I just wanted to turn around and head back to Oregon!
The flight from Eugene was scheduled to leave at 7 p.m. and arrive at 9, and the plane was a half hour late. The Red Rock hotel/casino shuttle bus had its last airport pickup at 9. So my timing sucked! I didn’t have any choice but to take a taxi––20 miles to Red Rock. Las Vegas is very spread out; it certainly has changed since I was last there as a kid in the 1950s. With tip, the taxi ride was $58. Totally too much!
When I finally got to the hotel about 10:35 p.m., my sis, Edna, was waiting in the lobby. And my mom had stayed awake to greet me. Edna and I had a connecting room with Mom, and my brother and his fiancé, Harry and Jayne, and a second nephew, Jason, were in rooms nearby. It was the whole fam-damn-ly as my dad used to say.
The next morning, all, but Harry and Jayne, met in my mom’s room for breakfast, and it was yummy. Fabulous food that was hot and the serving cart turned into a table. Everything was included: salt and pepper, butter and preserves, even Tabasco. When we were done and everything piled on the table to be picked up, it was quite a sight.
Because the wedding wasn’t until 5 p.m. and the hotel/casino complex also included cinemas (actually15 small theaters), all six of us decided to go see The Great Gatsby. The movie had just come out, and we were all anxious to see how it stacked up to previous versions and to the book.
After seeing it, I thought that parts of the movie were way over the top, especially the party scenes. But the storyline sucked me in, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And the casting was superb. I hadn’t read the book since college, but now I want to read it again.
We didn’t even have to go outside to go to the movie. On the way back––still within the hotel-casino-resort complex––, we stopped in a food court for a small lunch. Then we headed back to our rooms to get ready for the wedding. Because we had the wheelchair for Mom, it was easy for her to be a part of all activities.
My brother, as father of the groom, was part of the wedding party. He and Jayne were in one car, and the rest of us headed out following them with me as driver. When we realized the gas tank was on empty, we stopped for gas. Jason jumped out to fill it. This wasn’t Oregon, no attendant to pump gas. Even though I no longer had my brother to follow, we got to the country club with no further problems. It was fairly close by. I had worried it a bit—strange car, strange town––, but I need not have.
The only problem turned out to be the temps. They were the highest for this time of June since the 1950s. It got to 112 degrees all three days. The wedding was scheduled for 5 p.m. right at the peak of the heat and would be on a large deck out in the sun! Afterwards, the reception would be inside, where it was air-conditioned.
The wedding went off as scheduled outside. I stayed inside with mom and Jason, and we watched through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Mom asked me to stay with her, and I was grateful to have an excuse to stay inside. Jason had had brain surgery in January and had on a protective helmet. He had permission from his doctor’s to attend the wedding, but sitting in that heat would have been a no-no. After a second surgery, scheduled in a couple of weeks, to implant a custom made silicone skull piece to replace the part of his skull that was removed, he’ll be able to quit wearing the helmet, start driving his car again, and get his life back. He can hardly wait.
In spite of the temps, the wedding went off without a hitch. It was perfectly beautiful. You couldn’t tell that everyone was sweltering. No one fainted, and the word is that there may be T-shirts that say, “I survived the wedding!”
The reception had a string quartet and bar and buffet. Then there was a formal dinner with a DJ playing music from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s. Then dancing, toasts, cutting the cake, the works! It went on and on. We all had a great time.
The next day after another super breakfast in Mom’s room, the Bakersfield contingent packed up and left. I stayed, since my flight wasn’t until 5 p.m.
If it hadn’t been so hot, I would’ve signed up for a tour and done some sightseeing. But I didn’t want to go outside even for a minute. So instead, I read the book I’d brought along and went to the hotel café for lunch. And this time, there was no expensive taxi ride back to the airport; I was able to take the shuttle from the hotel at 3 p.m.
When I got inside the terminal, I was greeted by hundreds of people snaking through lines leading up to the Allegiant counter. Apparently, several flights were leaving at about the same time. By the time I got checked in, I’d made friends with a dozen or more people. From there, we walked and walked, took the shuttle train, walked some more, and finally got to D gates. Here there were more snaking lines filled with at least a couple of hundred people to get through security. Finally, I got to D4. After all those time-consuming lines, I only had to wait a short time before loading began. It was a perfectly wonderful, uneventful, nonstop flight to Eugene. I hadn’t been on a nonstop flight before this trip in at least 15 years. What a great way to fly!
Loved the Eugene airport’s single baggage carousel and the easy walk to my car in long-term parking. But the best part was the cool air and green scenery. I put the window down as I headed toward Florence, and thought about how wonderful it was that the whole family could be together with Lindsay and Anna to help celebrate their wedding. . . . I also thought how wonderful it was to be back in Oregon and heading home.