by Gloria Lily
The trip to Las Vegas with my 98 year old grandmother
| In 1989 I was 28 years old and feeling pretty on top of my game.
I had a good job working in a big hospital, living in Los Angeles in my own apartment.
However life will throw sudden curves at you that your not quite as ready for as you think. I will explain.
My Aunt who also worked in the same hospital until her retirement the year before took sick.
The doctors said both of her lungs collapsed and she had double pneumonia and placed her in intensive care unit (ICU) one floor above the department I worked in.
She was and always will be my favorite Aunt and I was by her side daily. My grandmother Georgianna (her mother) came to see her all the way from New York City she was 98 at the time.
Grandmother stayed at Aunt Gloria's house and our family friend Rose kept her company as she lived near by.
Now Grandmother was a small dark skinned women with a very strong chin and piercing dark eyes that looked right through you. Her body was tiny I think she never wore a dress over a size 4 if that.
Her hands were those of a women who had done a llot of work and knew the meaning of a tight grip.
Rose and I worried over Grandmother as much as we did Aunt Gloria and after a week realized she needed a change of environment and a distraction from her worries. Rose called me one afternoon as I was preparing my lunch a turkey sandwich and a V8.
She decided we meaning her, I and Grandmother needed a trip to Las Vegas to take a breather from worrying over Aunt Gloria's bed and as a matter of fact my aunt had agreed.
So what could I say? She was right and I told her I would love to go as I had taken some time off of work and had the time.
Grandmother was tickled she loved Vegas and could not wait to get on the plane. I had never traveled with her before and was looking foward to this.
Rose and I were hardened Vegas gamblers and new where the best casinos were that had the best nickle machines.
Grandmother asked me a favor while we were still on the plane. She looked at me solemnly and said "Wendy I do not want to loose all my money there" Ok I said then dont!
No she replied. I need you to help me watch my money so I don't leave it in Vegas. Now I have to tell you if that had been anyone else I would have said No. I know what happens to people there and I dont like to get in the middle of people and thier money.
Grandmother on the other hand looked pleadingly up at me and she had such trust in her eyes and she was my grandmother.
Ok I replied but you have to listen when I say enough I mean enough no arguments. I crossed my fingers behind my back as I spoke.
We agreed on how it would go and all was well. The plane landed after only a half hour and we hurried to our hotel The Silver Slipper.
Our clothes were put away and we were on the strip in record time. We went to a few favorite spots, we won some and lost some that was always the way it went at the beginning of our trips.
Grandmother won first and it was $165.00 right off the bat. I took $100 from her and gave her the $65.
She was fine with that and every time she won I would take the higher amount and give her the lowest.
She was winning more then Rose or I. I started winning some but did not go to the machines I usually won at because I wanted to stay close by my grandmother. Rose thought I was silly and took off to her machines.
I was the youngest in this party of three and did not have enough life experience to feel I was being silly. Rose was 63 at the time and I realize now she was just being smart.
Grandmother was having a great time and I would hear her loud whoop from a few machines away.
Grandmother was from Jamaica and spoke perfect Queens English. However when she won the sounds she made were neither proper or perfect.
Suddenly I heard a dammit! from her general direction so I went to see what was wrong. She had lost $40.00 and was not happy at all. Grandmother turned to me and asked for more money.
Hmmm now what? I thought. Ok So I gave her $20.00 more and reminded her of our agreement. "Yes yes" she said impatiently and I handed over the money.
Hold on reader here is where I was lost in Vegas. Grandmother started loosing and I had $200.00 of her money that I wanted to try and save. She would turn to me with a stare I had never seen before and I admit it frightend me some. "More Wendy I need more I will win this next one" she would explain impatiently.
I gave her $15.00 more and hid 3 or 4 rows back from her but she found me I had to give her another $10.00. This time I decided she would not find me no matter what!
I went to the other side of the casino and mind now the place is jammed packed with other people too.
I new there would be no way she would find me. I hid near the $1.00 machines and lost some of my own money dammit!
Not more then 20 minutes after I sat down and was deciding where to gamble next a casino security guard walks right up to me (he is very tall and handsome too) and says is your name Wendy?
I thought either God was answering my prayers for a handsome man or grandmother was just too good. Unfortunatly the latter was true. He told me my grandmother was looking for me and needed more money.
How did she do it? I screamed in my head.
I was on the other side of the casino and at least 300 people between us!
I didn't even want to know how she described me to him although now I wished I had asked. I was wearing casual comfortable clothes nothing flashy. I didn't have flamming red hair or two ton hair it still seems impossible that she described me just right.
He escorted me ~1~
to the area she was gambling at and stood at a distance to make sure she was alright which I found rather insulting and embarrasing don't forget he was very handsome.
She eyed me cooly and said Child give me more money! Grandmother you do not want to spend anymore of your money. I tried to keep our conversations to a whisper.
To my amazement Grandmother grabbed my arm and repeated her words in a tone raised way above mine "I want my money" Yes there were plenty of eyes staring not to mention the security guard as well.
So I handed her the last $10.00 she was getting from me and said equally as loud "Remember Grandmother you are on a fixed income!"
All eyes looked away and I was embarrassed for her. This did not faze her she snatched the money and I made a hasty retreat to find Rose.
I found her happily counting all her winnings in the restroom. "What's the matter Wendy?" she asked.
I gave her a fast response. Rose we have to get Grandmother out of here and Out of Vegas now! She has Vegas Fever and I am loosing this round and the war.
Rose thought it was funny until we went and found grandmother who by this time looked very frustrated and mean. Rose simply and gently took Grandmother's arm and said its time to change our clothes and fly back to LA. Just like that! We got to the airport and yes she tried to get money for the slots there but I resisted her by showing her how empty they were.
We got on the plane and as the plane was heading down the runway I gave Grandmother her money, breathed a sigh of relief and turned to go to sleep. Grandmother gently took my hand, gave me sheep eyes and said.
" Wendy you are a good granddaughter and I am glad we went on this trip and I have some money left".
I was bone tired and annoyed with myself for putting up with all of her tantrums So I turned to her and simply said. Grandmother I should have had a V8~3~