Off on another trip to Las Vegas to see the glitz of the city and also to remember the past glamour of the city as well. The city is host to one of the largest clothing shows twice a year, and I have attended some of those, but this time as is our norm, we are there to visit two of our children and five of our grandchildren. This trip will even be more of an event as our third child is getting remarried to a charming young lady and we will have photo ops that will be unique, in that we will have pictures of all of our grandchildren together for the first time. By the time this article is published, we will be back home, so I have been busy writing plenty of articles ahead of time, so that I can concentrate on other aspects that the trip will entail, like reservations and packing.
I have to admit and I have probably stated it several times that I am not fond of what has happened to Las Vegas since my earliest visit there in my youth. Maybe in my halcyon years I was enamored by the glamour of the city, but there was a feel to it, that is no longer there. I remember getting dressed up each evening for dinner, a show and a tour of one or more of the casinos. While we still dress for dinner, we are now a true minority in this city. There was something about standing around a gaming table where all of the men were in coats and ties, and the ladies all looked elegant. The waitresses and the tobacco servers were always attentive and your requests were brought to you and they were all complimentary. The cocktails and the glasses of wine were brought to you, as long as you were having a good time. I wish that I had even kept some of the miniature packs of cigarettes as mementos of those days, they would bring you out a pack of five or six cigarettes of your brand, or they would even bring you a cigar in the style that you wished. All of this was in the name of customer service and the concept of keeping you happy as you “donated” your money to the casino.
In the old days the strip was gaudy, but only in the amount of lights festooned around the entrances to these fabled casinos. Today some of the casinos are more like “Disneyland” for adults, while they may look prettier, the charm is all superficial. Somehow I have not gotten used to shorts, tee shirts and sandals at a gaming table, let alone in a fine restaurant, and the restaurants are now far superior to the ones in the early days. Las Vegas has become a Mecca for foodies and for fine wines and liquors. As some things get better, others have degenerated.
I also no longer enjoy walking on The Strip, it used to be pretty and fun and clean. Now you get accosted by hawkers of day trips, bordellos and cards advertising ladies of easy virtue. All of these were available even back in my early days, but not as blatant as it is today, not to mention that The Strip is now strewn with debris from all of the advertising handouts and fast food that is no longer deposited in the receptacles. I can picture the likes of Benjamin Siegel and the early founders of Las Vegas rolling over in their graves. The likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack have now evolved into spectacular theatrical shows that can run for years if not decades with recorded music, instead of big bands. I have seen some of these shows, but I long for a real entertainer to make the evening. Even the lounge shows are a distant past, when the likes of Louis Prima and Keely Smith would pack people in for an hour or so at a time. I remember even sitting down and relaxing with Frank Sinatra Jr. entertaining in a lounge all for the expense of a couple of glasses of wine.
Some of the casinos are gone, the landscape of The Strip has changed and gotten much longer, but I know that we will still have a grand time. There will be more wine to try, more dinners, though it will not just be my Bride and I any more. This raconteur will have some more tales to weave about this trip, and there are still remembrances of past trips as well. So humor me, as this article is light on the wine, but for setting the stage for more to come.