"I have a secret I must never tell. It was one of the most memorable days of my life and yet at times one of my biggest mistakes."
Some people would say we're hicks, but that's not true. We just like the small town life and bringing our children up in a safer environment. At times we thought about going places after watching the Hollywood gossip, but to us it was a fictional life.
Then three of my girlfriends and I decided to take a three day vacation in Las Vegas while our husbands would be gone on their annual fishing trip to Canada. Ethel suggested the trip as a joke, but it didn't take long before we took her seriously. Out of our group, she was the only one who traveled out of our area as part of her job.
That evening I brought it up to my husband Harry.
"The girls and I are thinking of going to Vegas while you guys are on your fishing trip."
"Mary, you've never really been anywhere. You deserve to go with your friends and have a little fun."
He was right. I was forty-five years old with three kids and two grandbabies. For my whole life I lived in the same county. After I graduated from the local college I became a teacher in the local school district. I was really happy with my choices in life and never thought much about traveling.
The next time I got with the girls I told them Harry approved of my going on the trip. Jane and Barb both said their husbands agreed as well. Ethel was divorced and wasn't in a serious relationship. She offered to make flight plans and reserve rooms for a couple nights.
In her position at an oil company, Ethel gave speeches on how they try to preserve the earth. Many times she mentioned how the companies got a bad rap when it came to conservation issues because they spent a lot of money each year on projects to save the earth.
Because there was an Earth Day convention going on in Las Vegas during our trip, Ethel had an idea for how we could save some money. She had to go as a representative for her company, then we would get special pricing because of the convention. She added it wasn't boring hearing about the latest updates for saving the earth. Plus there would be free food and drinks. After a seminar on Friday, we would have the remainder of the weekend for ourselves.
When the time came, my son-in-law drove us to the airport since our husbands were already gone on their fishing trip. Jane and Barb had flown before, but I hadn't. We asked Ethel whether she was a member of the mile high club, but she just laughed at us. She never did answer the question.
When we got to Vegas it was like an amusement park for adults. Bright lights and crowds of people were everywhere. Ethel laughed at me when I told her I saw 'Las Vegas' on TV but it was so different being there.
We had two hours between signing into our rooms and attending the convention. All four of us freshened up and headed downstairs to the convention hall. We put on our name tags and walked around.
It really was rather interesting. There were displays on the latest updates in solar power and all the different ways the companies were contributing to saving our planet. Most of it people never see on the news because negative news sells and this was positive stuff. These were people and companies helping to save on energy with new ideas and innovations. By the end of that convention, I was a much more knowledgeable person.
They served a variety of finger foods which were very good. I watched that I didn't drink too much because I wanted to enjoy my days, not spend them with a hangover. Later that evening we ate at the large buffet in another of the fabulous hotels. It truly was a fantasy land, a playground for adults.
After dinner we went to one of the many shows. It cost us over ninety dollars a person to see the show but it was a one-time experience for me. Besides, Harry gave me five hundred dollars before I left, teasing me about not spending it all in one place.
I shouldn't have said Harry gave me money because that's not really true. We always put our money together and we decided five hundred dollars ought to be more than enough money to see shows and spend in the casinos.
After the show we were all tired but decided to go have a nightcap before retiring. The flight, convention meeting, dinner, and show made for a long day. I was ready for bed. June and Barb were in a room together and Ethel and I were sharing the other. I undressed and was out in minutes, falling asleep while Ethel was still talking to me.
We began the next day with a large breakfast buffet. I had never seen such a smorgasbord of food. But Ethel said it was because of the people from other nations and various walks of life who eat different foods.
We all got our plates of food and sat down to enjoy it. I'm a big woman, not as in tall but overweight. I'm probably at least sixty pound heavier than I should be, maybe even more. When I was much younger I was a lot slimmer. After having three kids I just wasn't able to lose the weight.
Throughout my life I have been on one diet after another, but I'm one of those roller coaster people who never keep it off. Harry always told me I was crabby and hard to get along with when I dieted, so he preferred me a little heaver and a lot happier.
Although I still try to watch what I eat, I decided to just enjoy the weekend. Jane and Barb were also on the heavy side but not as much as I was. Ethel could eat just about anything and not gain a pound.
After breakfast we began hitting the casinos. We started with the cheaper slots. It was fun even though I didn't like losing money. None of us was doing very well so we decided to go see an afternoon show. At least it was only forty-five dollars.
We had an early dinner and headed back to the casino to try our luck again. Ethel had to go back to the convention for an evening of speeches and discussions. She didn't think we would want to go, but she didn't have a choice. That was part of her job.
The slots were eating my quarters three and four at a time. The more you played the better chance of winning. I got lucky and won about two hundred dollars. Then I started walking around checking out some of the other games. I was watching a number of people playing Black Jack— or twenty-one—and decided to try my luck.
The dealer told me minimum bets were ten dollars. He cashed in my coins for chips so I could play. When he finished I had twenty five chips which would be equal to two hundred and fifty dollars. I figured that would be twenty-five hands and put my first bet on the table.
I had nineteen and the dealer had twenty, so I lost. But I had twenty-four hands to go unless I won a few. I began winning and started betting more money. Before I started losing I decided to quit. By then I had won three thousand three hundred dollars!
I also received two complimentary tickets to another show at the hotel. It wasn't a big name show but it was still free. I had been drinking most of the night, and even though they were rather weak, they were still having an effect on me.
I picked up a flier for a massage parlor in the hotel. I always wanted a massage but felt I was too fat to let anyone see my body. For some reason I thought what the hell. I'm in Vegas, I'll never see this masseuse again, and I'll never be brave enough to try it in my home town.
First I went in search of Jane and Barb to see what their plans were for the remainder of the evening.
"You have any luck?" Jane asked when she saw me a few minutes later.
"It had to be beginner's luck, but I won over three thousand dollars!" I replied.
"Hey, that's great. What are you doing the rest of the night?" Barb asked.
"Jane, I won two tickets to a show here in the hotel. Do you two want to take them and go?"
"What about you?" Barb looked confused when I didn't mention going myself.
"To be honest, I'm showed out. I saw this flier for a massage parlor and thought I might get a neck and shoulder rub."
"I've had a full body massage once," said Jane. "The woman was fantastic. Ralph bought it for me for our tenth anniversary many years ago. You should get one."
"I'm not going to let anyone see this old fat body. I'd be too embarrassed."
"For Pete's sake, Mary, no one cares what you look like. You won some money and deserve to treat yourself. I've had massages a couple of time and they feel great. You can even keep some of your clothes on if you like," said Barb.
"Okay, I'll see what they have to offer. I hope the masseuse doesn't throw up when she sees all this body fat," I replied and laughed.
I gave them the tickets and told them to enjoy the show. We quickly set a time to meet in the morning since we were flying home and needed to be at the airport by noon. Then I went in search of the massage parlor.
"Can I help you?" a young woman at the desk asked when I found the right place.
"I would like a massage," I replied.
"Hi, I'm Sylvia. I'm thinking this is your first time here?"
"My first time anywhere," I said and laughed. "I don't know what exactly I want. I thought about a neck and shoulder rub, but my friends said I should get a total massage."
"For our records, you are?"
"Mary Bradford, from Ohio."
"Well Mary, fill out this short form and we'll get started."
"Mary, may I suggest the full body massage. We call it the works. It loosens all the kinks in your back, neck, and legs. Jeff is the best masseuse in all of Nevada. He'll have you feeling like a new woman."
"Jeff? You mean a man is going to give me the massage? I don't think so."
.... There is more of this story ...