Recently I took a vacation trip to Vegas. Yes I know of all places to go, Vegas (sin city) would not have been on the top of your list for vacations but this trip had been planned for a long time. You can see from the picture at Hoover Dam, my son Ryan went with me. This trip was special in that this was a Father/Son trip.
Years ago when Ryan was around 10 or 11 years old, I'd take him to a convenience store and buy him a 20oz. coke. He'd always go for the bottles that had the "You can win" lid's on them. When we'd get in the car he'd take off the cap of the coke bottle and look at the inside of the cap and sure enough! Most times he'd win a free bottle of coke. I can't tell you how many times this happened. Over and over again he'd win those free cokes. One day I told him, "As lucky as you are when you turn 21 I'm going to take you to Vegas." Well Ryan, even at this young age had an Idea of what Vegas was like, because he'd watched the Griswalds (Chevy Chase and family) go to Vegas on their vacation. He loved that movie and of course we joked with each other about only having to buy one way tickets to Vegas because we'd drive back the cars we won (just like they did in the movie.) We'll we had fun for several years joking about this, then as Ryan got a little older he mentioned, "Dad, we really ought to go to Vegas as a Father son trip when I turn 21." I think he may have been 16 maybe when we decided to really do this. So I made a commitment that we'd do the trip when he turned 21. So for many years after that we would occasionally speak of the trip joking again about winning it big. For me the excitement about the trip was different than I suppose Ryan's was. I was excited about spending time with my son.
Well Ryan turned 21 in November of last year and with his school and my work we couldn't arrange to go on vacation until March of this year. Well as you can imagine... were not gamblers, but we did plan all kinds of other fun things to do while we were there for four days. We stayed at the Paris Hotel (pictured above), which I would recommend to anyone wanting to go to Vegas. It's centrally located on the strip and close to many other shows and hotels. We wanted to play golf, but decided against it when we realized just how expensive the courses were there. We went to see Lance Burton the magician. This was a great show and we enjoyed going to his show and then out to eat our first evening. The next day we went to see Terry Fader the ventriloquist. You may have seen him win on the TV show, "America's got Talent." Now this was a great show, lots of fun and he;s so talented, and again we went out to eat. The next day we went on a tour bus out to Hoover Dam and enjoyed our day there. Of course our Dam tour guide enjoyed telling us telling us several Dam jokes as we went on the Dam tour. You can imagine.
The good news is we didn't lose a lot of money, because you have to bet to lose it. Every hotel has a casino and you see many people betting money, and losing it. I didn't see anyone win big, and if they did win and collect a stack of chips, it wouldn't be long before that stack disappeared as they continued to play. Ryan and I played a few slot machines, yes we ventured out with our 10 to 20 dollars here and there, but it was short lived and I was thinking to myself it sure is good that we bought round trip plane tickets, because we certainly were not driving back in new cars that we won playing the slots in Vegas. Save that stuff for the movies!
The reason I even mention this trip however is because I will never forget this trip as long as I live. What began as a joke when he was 10 years old turned into a wonderful Father/Son trip that gave Ryan and myself a chance to spend some quality time together. I was telling someone at work about this trip my son and I took together and he said... "It's great that you have a son at the age that would want to spend time like that with his Dad." I really never thought about it much, but I am so blessed that my boys (both of them) love being with their Mom and Dad. they show great respect for us as their parents and both love spending time with us.
Another thing that I believe is so important is that I made a promise to my son and I kept it. This trip was so important to him and he thought about it constantly throughout the years and now that we've gone and come back we talk about the fun time we had together. It's also kind of fun to watch the expression on my Christian brothers and sisters faces when I tell then I went to Vegas for my vacation. I guess most see the worst in Vegas, the drinking, gambling, and exotic shows, but that's not all there is to do there. There's so much more to see and do. Wonderful restaurants, great shows, and fantastic tours around the area. You don't have to go there with the slogan in your head... "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" you can go and come back and tell everyone what you did. Sin doesn't just abide in a city called Vegas, you can stay at home and find it as well.
I thank the Lord for the time Ryan and I had together.