library: Sin City Visited and then Repeatedly Revisited
Bellagio Fountain

It all began innocently enough.

Some years ago I (hereinafter referred to as Loving Husband) got what at the time seemed to me to be a bright idea.

My lovely and charming wife (hereinafter referred to as Miss Margaret) had yet another birthday coming up.

She's already had enough of them to easily qualify for the highly prized Senior Citizen cup of coffee at McDonald's.

Another birthday would just be one more mile marker on the road to senility.

But, birthdays are birthdays and are always events to be commemorated.

the bright idea

Having satisfied himself that Miss Margaret already had at least two of everything, it occurred to Loving Husband that taking her to Las Vegas for her birthday instead of buying her more stuff might be the perfect gift.

In a rare moment of weakness, Miss Margaret agreed with one of Loving Husband's ideas.

They went, they ate, they gambled, they drank, and did all that other things tourists do in Las Vegas..

A good time was had by the Cute Couple.

cute couple

How Miss Margaret and Loving Husband came to be known as the Cute Couple is another story but for purposes of staying on topic we don't really need to get into that here.

the tradition is born

Getting back to the subject at hand, Loving Husband hadn't taken into consideration the possibility that Miss Margaret would view her visit to Sin City as anything more than a one-time thing.

Little did Loving Husband know.

Sure enough, as Miss Margaret's next birthday approached, she asked what to her seemed to be the obvious question.

"Have you made our reservations yet?"

To which Loving Husband responded, "What reservations?"

"My birthday, Las Vegas, you idiot."

The precedent has been established. Miss Margaret's birthday trip to Las Vegas would become an annual event.

penny slot machines

When you think Las Vegas, you think gambling.

Miss Margaret and Loving Husband aren't really gamblers although over the years Miss Margaret appears to have become addicted to pouring cash into penny slot machines.

The problem with penny slot machines is that you can bet many pennies at the same time which Miss Margaret has a tendency to do.

Her strategy is to bet more pennies in the hope of winning even more pennies.

The number of pennies bet and the number lost seems to increase exponentially every year.

Loving Husband's contrarion strategy is to bet as few pennies as possible for the express purpose of losing his hard-earned pennies as slowly as possible.

Miss Margaret thinks Loving Husband's strategy is dumb.

Loving Husband thinks that Miss Margaret's penchant for extravagent behavior knows no bounds.

Under any circumstances, the whole penny slot machine thing is just part of the annual Las Vegas adventure.

Cute Couple always finds ways to squeeze drinking lots of wine, eating too much high calorie food, and catching a show or two into their busy schedule.

And then there's the walking around. Lots of walking around.

free drinks

As for the wine part, after Cute Couple had been visiting Sin City for several years and investing untold numbers of dollars in wine, stepson Matt, who is knowledgeable about such things, offered the casual observation that, "If you are gambling, cocktail waitresses on the casino floor will bring you free drinks."

The word free proved to be enough to pique Loving Husband's interest and draw him into the conversation.

"Even if we're playing penny slot machines?"

"Yea, even cheapskates like you can get free drinks."

Free drinks are a good thing, especially in Las Vegas where everything is expensive.

More than $30 for a couple glasses of wine and a tip for the waitress at some of the better places on the Strip is a lot of money to old country boy and miser, Loving Husband.

But, as we all know, nothing is ever truly free.

To score free drinks, you need to gamble which costs money and to get the cocktail waitress to keep coming back to refill your glass on anything more than a weekly basis, you need give her a generous tip every time.

Cute Couple has embraced the trade off and offers it as a cost-cutting tip to those determined to both drink and gamble.

walking and more walking

When returning from Las Vegas and sharing their experiences with anyone who will patiently listen, Cute Couple always makes an attempt to understate the amount of wine consumed and number of dollars that went into the slot machines  in an effort to perpetuate the myth that they are responsible adults.

The estimated number of miles walked, however, gets truthfully reported.

Their standard mode of operation is to leap out of bed at the crack of dawn - about the time of day when true connoisseurs of the Las Vegas lifestyle are going to bed - and start walking.

By the time Cute Couple returns to their hotel room sometime around dusk in a state of near exhaustion, the total amount of ground covered (actually concrete, tile, and commercial carpet) will likely have been somewhere between six and ten miles.

In Las Vegas, bar hopping is replaced by casino hopping - bouncing from one casino on the Strip to the next, eating, drinking, seeing whatever there is to be seen, and gambling at each stop along the way.

The thing is that the Strip is four miles long and the casino properties are enormous.

When you look down the street, the next stop appears to be pretty close because it is so big but always turns out to be a good distance away when you're walking - the preferred mode of transport for nearly everyone.

Cute couple considers the distances successfully covered to be a tribute to the effort they have expended to keep their aging bodies in reasonably good working condition.

the graying of las vegas

Cute Couple makes its annual trek to Las Vegas midweek to take advantage of lower prices and smaller, more civil crowds.

And, because it makes them feel young again - at least in relative terms.

The midweek crowd, you see, tends to be really old - mostly senior citizens nibbling away at their retirement accounts in search of the kind of mindless diversion offered by bright lights and talking slot machines.

Those of a certain age and in poor physical condition will frequently be accompanied by children or grandchildren whose role is to assist them in doing what they have become too feeble to do for themselves - and to watch their inheritances being gambled away.

At some point Cute Couple will reach that stage in life and be forced to acknowledge that the time may have arrived to retire the tradition.

Until that time, there will continue to be wine to drink, food to be eaten, a new show to be seen, and money to be lost playing penny slot machines.

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