I knew getting my mom to Las Vegas for the first time in over 30 years was going to be one for the memory books. She hadn’t been to Las Vegas since Bally’s was the MGM Grand and you could walk across the Strip directly to Caesars Palace. This was the pre-Mirage era. A different place in a much different time. This trip she would experience something unlike anything she had before. My mother would have her own terrace one bedroom suite for three glorious nights at our home away from home, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Here’s her journey through my words and our meticulous planning.
I booked her a nonstop on Southwest Airlines and got my best friend Kristy to get her off to the airport in Nashville early Thanksgiving morning. Jacques and I drove early backroads past Big Bear into Barstow watching the sun come up together and got to the Las Vegas airport as mom was landing. I slid inside the airport past my first slot machines of the weekend and grabbed mom up at baggage claim once she text me she had landed. After a quick trip down the Strip to Peppermill only to get put on a waiting list for a table, we decided to get to The Cosmo, park and see about checking in early. The Henry, their delicious 24/7 feasting place, fed us while we waited for our suites. We caught up with mom, discussed the schedule and decided the when, where and why of it all.
Luckily when Jacques grabbed keys our rooms were next to one another which made for easy tending to. Mom doesn’t get out much at 71 years so we were thrilled to show her our Vegas even though we put her through her paces in the process. The Cosmo always takes amazing care of us and that’s why we stay no other place. This experience was no different! Only better! With our rooms facing the breathtaking Bellagio fountains we enjoyed three days of a fabulously good time, enjoying life and loving each other.
Dinner was 7:30 at burger and bamboozled shake emporium Holsteins inside The Cosmo. We didn’t stray far from the resort. With our Identity program points adding up why go anywhere else? Jacques had the Billionaire Burger with foie gras while I noshed on popcorn shrimp and mom had a classic burger that I ate most of. Holsteins actually saw us again later during the visit for a quick lunch after a stroll on the Strip. It was then I had the “Coffee and Donuts” milkshake with its adult kick of a perfect amount of booze and homemade donut!
Later Thanksgiving night we jumped in a taxi and headed to The Linq where Larry Edwards, headliner in Divas Las Vegas and dear friend, met us before the show for pictures with mom and the VIP treatment. As I expected, my mother loved the show and enjoyed the raunchy humor of emcee Brian Keith who was standing in for Frank Marino. We’ve seen Brian Keith before and simply adore him. Our seats were fabulous and the staff sweet as could be. If I must be honest. Larry stole the show. He turned impersonations of his legendary Tina Turner and Patti LaBelle out! Yes, God! Gave me life. His energy was electric.
The entire cast was quite entertaining even though I missed our dear Coco Montrese who was away traveling. We got back to The Cosmo after the show, played a few slot machines and headed up to bed while Vegas continued climbing into the morning hours. Before I made the reservations I told mom that the shows were later in the evenings and we wouldn’t be getting in until after. She replied, “Time doesn’t matter in Vegas.” I lived for that!
Friday we walked Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile. Yes, on Black Friday. It wasn’t that bad but there were no real sales to be found. We didn’t stay long. For lunch we had our favorite China Poblano because we know it always satisfies. An air salt margarita, please. Why you’re at it make it two! Later in the evening after a soak in the precious deep Japanese tub, we cabbed it down to Wynn where we dined on sushi at Wazuzu and witnessed the spectacular Le Rêve. Again, I knew the show would blow mom away and she sat with her mouth open the majority of the time. We really love the production and am now so glad we opted for the show. I looked at seeing other cirque type shows but to us nothing compares. It’s awe inspiring and brilliantly gorgeous. The men are stunning, the water effects turn us out and I could see the show again and again. And probably will!
The next morning we got out earlier than expected and wondered over to Bally’s to relive the days past though not much has changed since it switched from being the MGM Grand decades ago. The Honolulu Cookie Company took our money in exchange for a few boxes of their sugary gems. We discovered them in May on our honeymoon in Oahu and are thrilled they are closer than Hawaii. Back at Cosmopolitan we played a few more slots, had some burgers and quietly found a nap after I hit the fitness center for some lifting and stretching of my traveling body. Even though their Boulevard Pool was covered with their incredible holiday Ice Rink, we opted watching as skaters made their blades cross the slick sheet of ice instead of getting mom on blades. Wouldn’t that have been something?!
The thing that made this trip so successful was we had no set agenda other than a few plans. Mom went with the flow and since no one is 21 anymore, it was a different pace for us with her which I appreciated slowing down and learning how the new slot machines work. Man, from Showgirls to Britney Spears to Titanic to KISS to Big Bang Theory there’s a slot machine with anyone’s favorite pop culture attraction. The chairs even vibrate when you play while watching and hearing the sights and sounds of said subjects. It’s quite an explosion of reference to what people want to see. Are you a fan of Ellen? No problem. Did you love Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman? Play away! Enjoy matching kittens, wolfs, diamonds while feeding a machine your bank? Even everyone’s favorite Friends have even gotten involved? Start stuffing in your money and spin those wheels. Good luck! And don’t forget your Identity card at The Cosmo. Jeesh! Trust me on that. Wink!
Saturday evening we had dinner reservations at STK. Everything. The DJ was pumping old school music that gave me and my mom our life! Everything. We love this damn place. Our drinks arrive, I look up and who was finding his table? Miracle worker and daddy bear, Dr. Paul Nassif from television’s Botched. He looked at me a few times and found his seat with his female companion and a few other couples. Dinner was delicious and their steaks are truly the ones! The husband had a dozen oysters and mom dug into shrimp cocktail while I sipped my Pinot Noir and scanned the room for other fabulous people while moving to the music.
I always get a bit blue the final night before returning home because I love the Las Vegas Strip and know when I wake the majority of the neon and marquee lights will be off. The sound is so quiet outside from the night’s hustle and boom. But I’m also happy I’ve had another joyous time to enjoy life in Sin City with the man I love. Mom’s flight back home was very, very early since we had to check out, get our bags down and car out first. We decided to head home ourselves after dropping her off at the airport and pulled out of town as the sun was coming up. With Las Vegas fading into our mirrors the sadness lasted not long for discussions of our trip for Christmas began and plans in motion. We can’t stay away!