Click Clack

TC By TC, 7th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1_ljubgs/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Family

A short story about a father and his daughter's trip to Las Vegas his last year of life.

The Trip of a Lifetime

CLICK CLACK

Click clack, click clack, the sound of my father’s cane tapping against the terrazzo floor is what I wake to this sunny Saturday morning. Oh no, he’s coming to my room it must be time for breakfast, then I look at the alarm and see its only 6 am.

Next I feel a poke along the back of my knee, and I turn over to see my 79 year old father smiling down at me saying "wake up, wake up, pack your bags we’re going to Vegas". “What? What are you talking about Daddy? “Oh Daddy, let me get up” I say, as I mumble to myself about men and old men in particular.

Dad moved in with my husband, Mike, and I when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago. Our children are grown and live in Tennessee and Arkansas, so it is nice having him with us. Until this morning we really haven’t noticed many changes as far as his personality and memory go, unless forgetting why you walked in a room, or losing your glasses and keys are signs, and in that case I think I have it also!

When I join him and my husband, Dad is busy printing off our itinerary. Dad says, “Here you go, we fly out on Tuesday and return on Saturday morning. I asked Mike if he wanted to go and he said he couldn’t take off work, but he didn’t mind if you went with me”.

I’ll tell you; if looks could kill my poor husband would be dead now. I am not thrilled about going to Las Vegas I am thinking our house needs painting and our money should stay in savings. However, Dad is jubilant as this is somewhere he has very fond memories of times spent with my mother.

At dinner on Monday, he tells me we should leave about 7:30 Tuesday morning for the airport because of security. The plane doesn't leave until 11:45 and Fort Myers is only a 30 minute drive away, but we need to leave 4 hours early. Oh my, I can feel my excitement vanishing by the second. Mike convinces him that we don’t need to leave that early; Ft. Myers is just a regional airport and the lines won't be as long.

Tuesday has arrived and we are ready for the big trip. Dad does not sleep much Monday night and as a result, neither do I. He is like a kid on Christmas Eve, and now I know where my son, JP, got his habit of rubbing his hands together when he is excited, I think my father is going to rub a hole in his. Of course, we leave at 8:30 for the airport; did you really think he would wait?

We land in Las Vegas at 8:30pm and now the fun starts. Can you believe there are slot machines at the airport? I leave Dad at one while I go gather the rental car and luggage and then we head to the hotel. While I go and get us checked in, Dad wanders over to a slot machine and sits down. Let me tell you, getting my father to the room was a struggle in itself; he couldn't quit winning and was ready to win the “big” one.

As a result, we get to sleep at 1 am and he has a wakeup call set for 7am so we can beat the rush to the breakfast buffet and get our day started. Apparently I am not allowed to voice any opinion as to what we should do or how much sleep we need; Dad has a plan for it all.

Wednesday is still a blur to me. I remember that we went to four different casinos but that’s about it. When we get back to the hotel it is 3:30 and Dad is ready for his nap. While he sleeps, I go downstairs for some alone time. I look at all the shops in the hotel and buy a few souvenirs.

Meanwhile Dad is up pacing the floor ready to go again when I return to the room. That night we eat dinner at the hotel Seafood Buffet. It had all you can eat crab legs, steak, lobster tails, food from everywhere in the world. We eat 5 lbs of crab legs and lobster tail between us, then we each have some filet mignon. Now that I am ready for a nightcap and then a long night’s sleep, guess what Dad wants to do? You guessed it; he wants to play the slot machines some more. When my money is just about gone
I win $300. I immediately cash it out and turn the ticket in for money then squirrel it away.

Thursday morning is a lot better. Even my over energetic father takes it a little slower and we don’t beat the rush to the breakfast buffet this morning; we actually have to stand in line. We eat then are off to see more casinos. The Chippendales are at my hotel, Donny & Marie are at the Flamingo, Cris Angel is at one that looks like a pyramid, Cher is coming to Caesars Palace and Bette Midler is there now. I see all of this on billboards created out of the windows of the hotels and little trucks that drive around the strip making traffic worse than it already is. Dad was right; this place is really something, however with all the slots he wants to play, I don’t think I’ll get to see any shows.

We go to this new casino called The Wynn. We stand in line to get our players club card and are paid $20 in rewards. Oh boy, I am excited now, free money! Needless to say it is gone within 10 minutes and we are stuffing more $20’s in the machine. We take our cards up before we leave and learn we have enough points to spin the wheel and win 2 free buffets and shows. Another great buffet, which would have cost $58 dollars if we paid for it; only cost us $220 in slot play! This place really knows how to exploit you. The show isn't until 9pm that night and we plan to be back at our hotel by then, so we give our free show tickets to an elderly couple who are celebrating an anniversary.

After dinner that night, Dad and I sit at the slots and play a little more, then he gets up to go to the restroom, and never comes back, just disappears. I am frantically looking for him all over this huge place that is packed with silver haired ladies and men just like him. It seems like he just vanishes into thin air.

Finally I go up to the security desk, and they get on their radios to send a S.O.S. About 10 minutes later I see this float coming by overhead and there is my father sitting in a recliner on the float watching pretty girls who are singing and dancing in a bathtub. He is circling the ceiling on tracks and from his big smile, loving every minute of it. It is a 30-minute show and I find out where the floats go after the show and am there to meet him. When he gets off and sees me waiting, he is so excited, talking 90 miles an hour about the hot chicks in the bathtub that I don’t have the nerve to crush his excitement and tell him how scared I was, so I just let it slide.

Friday we check out of the hotel and head for Hoover Dam then Freemont Street. Dad takes me to a casino called the Golden Nugget that he and Mom used to stay at when they would come here. We take our seats at the slots and proceed to give them more of our money.

After my money is wasted, I look over at Dad and his machine is all lit up with lights on top flashing. When I get over to him, he has won $2000 on a $1 bet. The casino clerk comes over and takes his information then comes back and pays him with $100 bills. Dad says he wants to play the money he has in the machine out. No problem with me, I am just worried because he gave me the $2000 to put in my purse and all those people saw it. He gives me a $100 to play and tells me to quit worrying, just play.
Well, I win up to about $600 and then lose it and it is time to go to the airport.

We arrive at the airport just in time to board the plane and settle in for a long flight home. Dad sleeps the whole way to Atlanta, while I am wide awake. My mind keeps flashing back to our 3 days in Las Vegas. I am thinking about how exciting it was to spend the time with dad and how much he enjoyed himself. He is 79 now and this may be the last vacation I will be able to take with him, as he has a few health concerns that may slow him down in the next year. At the same time I am so angry at myself because I won almost $1000 altogether and have nothing but some cheap souvenirs to
show for it. Then I flash back to all the fun Dad had and the fact that he didn’t lose anything, in fact his winnings paid for our trip out there and his gambling.

By the time we land in Ft. Myers Saturday morning, I am feeling better about the trip. After all, we both have great memories of the trip and how else in the world would my dad be able to brag about sitting in a recliner, circling the casino from above and watching hot chicks in a bathtub; to his friends at the American Legion? I guess sometimes it is better to let loose, give your worries up and just have fun. I know I would trade money in savings and my house being painted for another surprise trip anywhere with Dad.

Tags

Airplanes, American Legion, Dad, Dad Daughter, Daddy, Daddys Girl, Fort Myers, Gambling, Gambling And Betting, Las Vegas, Veterans

Meet the author

author avatar TC
Nursing Student at a state college. Interested in helping the older population (geriatrics). Advocate for domestic violence victims and animals.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Warm feelings for your dad and the time spent well worth the while. Memories are made of these! siva

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