Bonnie Brown: Las Vegas…Country Comes to Town

Many years ago, my husband was attending a conference in Las Vegas. Naturally, I tagged along. That city is like no other. It’s sparkly, all the time. You can be indoors and not know if it’s 2 p.m. or 2 a.m.

My first morning there, my husband dressed and was off to meetings for the day, so I was left to my own devices. I got up, showered, and started to put on my makeup when I realized that I had forgotten to bring my makeup mirror. You know, it’s the kind that is magnified on one side. The kind that I now require so as not to look like Dracula. I did the best I could and called down to guest services to see if, perhaps, they had a make-up mirror I could use. You know, like when you forget your toothpaste or some other toiletry, and they provide that for you. We were staying in Caesar’s Palace, so I was hopeful they might have one.

I went downstairs to have breakfast. I definitely fit the definition of “country comes to town” gawking at all of the splendor. Everything is beautiful. The lights, the carpeting, the sounds, the people. I am the most unlucky gambler. Just ask my husband. I am “the cooler.” The first time I ever gambled, I played roulette, just like James Bond. Your odds of winning at roulette are probably not very good. At any rate, my $20 disappeared in a flash, in literally seconds. I was mad and was about to have a melt-down over my loss. I am a sore loser. My husband calmed me down and told me that if I gambled, I had to be prepared to lose. What?!

As I made my way to the restaurant inside the casino, I observed an older lady seated at the baccarat table, the sole player there. It was 8:30 in the morning. She looked a little bored so I decided that she must be winning. After all, if you’re losing, you look angry, right? I ate breakfast and explored the casino a bit more. They have amazing shopping there too. I’m definitely luckier at shopping than gambling.

I returned to my room a while later to find the door standing ajar. I was a little uneasy because I didn’t see any indication that it might be housekeeping. As I got closer, I peeked in and saw a toolbox inside the door near the bathroom. I “yoo-hooed” and a nice gentleman responded, telling me he was almost finished. I ventured in to see him installing a makeup mirror on the wall in the bathroom! A really, really nice one. Wow! Now that’s customer service. Needless to say, I was quite gushy about it.

Later that afternoon, I ventured out once again to explore and happened to pass by the baccarat table, and much to my surprise, the older lady was still there! She had on different clothes but still had the same bored demeanor as earlier that morning. Still winning, I presumed.

That evening when my husband returned to our room, I told him about my experience and showed him the newly-installed, German-made, high-tech makeup mirror in the bathroom. He was impressed. He then told me that he was going to treat me to a dinner theater performance. So I dressed, used “my” new makeup mirror and couldn’t wait to merge, once again, into the glitz and glamour that is Las Vegas.

On the way to the theater, we passed by the baccarat table and sure enough, the lady was still there. But now she was dressed in elegant evening wear, dripping in diamonds. She looked fabulous! And she still looked a little bored although there were now two more players at the table. Was she tired from the long day of gambling? Could it be she was winning?

My trip was wonderful and I enjoyed every minute spent in that very different environment. And it’s true that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” My husband wouldn’t let me rip the mirror off and bring it home!

Bonnie Brown is a retired staff member of the University of Mississippi. She most recently served as Mentoring Coordinator for the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.

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