Vegas destiny

10 seconds of Rebecca Jade

I’m not big on “destiny.” Still, I called this Vegas destiny because it felt like my friend MAK and I were destined to go to that place on Sunday, September 24.

We had talked about a few dates. It had to be after the 16th when my wife and I had tickets for a play. And it had to be before the 29th when I had my annual physical. Meanwhile, he had to see an Electric Hot Tuna’s Last Waltz show on the 21st in Kingston, NY.

Early start

We stayed at a hotel near the airport on Saturday night because we had a 6:21 a.m. flight. The current conventional wisdom of people who travel far more than I was that we are at the airport 1.5 hours before the 5:58 boarding.

BTW, there are two Hilton hotels on the same short road. The first is Hilton Garden, which my wife and I visited the Friday before to double-check that the shuttle would work. And the second is Tru by Hilton, which we booked. We’re glad my wife stayed until we checked in.

It was a nice room. The most difficult things were two: the big-screen TV in the room had a remote control that we couldn’t control. I called the desk, and a guy came up very quickly. He tried the remote and got the same result, took the remote, and then brought back a remote that worked a few minutes later.

He also solved our second problem: we couldn’t find how to turn on the lights. There are these little black buttons about halfway down the metal trim. We might have seen it in the daylight, but since we checked in well after dark, there was no way we could have discerned them.

The logical strategy would have been to go to bed immediately before our 3:45 a.m. alarm went off. But no! We stayed up until well past midnight talking.

Early morning flight

I slept perhaps three hours, and MAK not all when we had to get up and ready; the shuttle did work. We got to the American Airlines check-in. There are a lot of people there at 4:30.

My friend didn’t mention that we weren’t checking our bags. Our economy status was such that everything, including checked baggage, was charged extra. Fortunately, the total outside dimensions of the piece, length + width + height, were less than 62 in / 158 cm.

We go through TSA without a hitch. You can bring water BOTTLE through, just not water.

We went to Burger King partly because the Starbucks line was longer. A tip: ordering a Croissan’wich without the egg confuses the staff.

On our way to our gate. I saw Steve Hartman. He’s the guy on CBS News who does the On The Road segments started by the late Charles Kuralt. They tend to appear on the CBS Evening News on Friday nights and CBS Sunday Morning.

He’s also on the CBS Mornings on Mondays with his son and daughter on a segment called Kindness 101, which I don’t see often. I wait for him to finish talking to someone; I say to him, “I really like your work,” and then I move on because I don’t like bothering public figures too much, especially at 5:30 a.m. at an airport.

Because American Airlines offered to check a bag to our final destination – for free – I liberated myself from my larger bag. We were each in the middle seats on both legs of our flight, about a row apart. 

Seatmates (1)

I could see the woman on the aisle seat would be flying to XNA from her boarding pass. Where the heck is THAT? Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, serving Fayetteville/Springdale, Arkansas. She goes to Walmart to instruct them in baking their cakes. It was great initially, she indicated, but her workload continues to increase.

She was watching something on her phone: The Chosen, “the first-ever multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus.” I heard of it, and maybe I’d watch it someday, but not on a cellphone.

We only had 45 minutes from landing in CLT at a B gate to taking off from a C gate at least 10 minutes away, and that’s just to the beginning of the C area. As we’re walking, I see coming toward me my niece Rebecca. She had performed in Charlotte on Friday night, then in Montgomery, AL, on Saturday night. She was flying back to San Diego via CLT (east to go west), and she was running from The C gates to wherever her flight was. Seeing her just long enough to hug her was a bit of kismet.

Seatmates (2)

On our CLT to LAS flight were several – at least two dozen – Pittsburgh Steelers fans. We knew this because they wore black and gold paraphernalia, primarily uniform tops and some T-shirts. Most were attending the NFL nationally-televised game that afternoon between the Steelers and the Las Vegas Raiders. Another bit of destiny, being in the presence of a temporary hejira from Steel City to Sin City.

The guy in the window seat beside me slept most of the trip, wearing a hoodie, so I could barely see his face. About 20 minutes before landing, however, Pat woke up. He, too, was going to the game, having nosebleed seats at a severe premium.

We then talked intensely about his interests in football and other sports, COVID-19, his work as a freelance cameraman, and other things. He was delightful.

We all picked up our luggage at the farthest carousel from the gate we deplaned – one must take a light rail to get there.

MAK and I took a cab to our timeshare, passing by Allegiant Stadium. We waited for our room to be ready by watching pieces of football games (Miami 70-20 over Denver, Swifties learn who Travis Kelce is.)

Then we checked in, went out, and did a whole bunch of stuff – more info anon – and ended up at a bar/restaurant, eating and watching the end of the football game less than two miles away.

Random People with Birthdays on March 7

1953 Roger Green, librarian, blogger

Pictured: Franco Harris and Lynn Swann (with Terry Bradshaw), Hall of Famers all, from the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers

1980 Laura Prepon, actress
1974 Jenna Fisher, actress
1970 Rachel Weisz, actress
1968 Jeff Kent, baseball infielder
1968 Ricky Proehl, NFL wide receiver
1967 Zheng Haixia, WNBA center (Los Angeles Sparks)
1966 Jeff Feagles, NFL punter
1966 Mel Rojas, baseball pitcher
1965 Steve Beuerlein, NFL quarterback
1964 Wanda Sykes, comedian
1962 Taylor Dayne, singer
1961 Mary Beth Evans, actress
1960 Ivan Lendl, tennis pro
1960 Joe Carter, baseball outfielder
1954 Matt Frenette, rock drummer ( Loverboy)
1953 Roger Green, librarian, blogger
1952 Ernie Isley, vocalist and guitarist
1952 Lynn Swann, NFL receiver
1950 Franco Harris, NFL fullback
1946 Matthew Fisher, rock keyboardist (Procol Harum)
1946 Peter Wolf, rock singer (J Geils Band)
1945 John Heard, actor
1944 Townes Van Zandt, musician
1943 Chris White, rock bassist (Zombies)
1942 Michael Eisner, former Disney honcho
1942 Tammy Faye Bakker, television personality
1940 Daniel J. Travanti, actor (Hill St. Blues)
1934 King Curtis, rocker
1934 Willard Scott, weather forecaster
1930 James Broderick, actor
1930 Lord Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, photographer
1908 Anna Magnani, actress,
1875 Maurice Joseph Ravel, composer (Bolero)
1849 Luther Burbank, horticulturist
1659 Henry Purcell, organist/composer

Honey, I’d like to watch 2 MORE football games today, OK?

Franco Harris and Lynn Swann BOTH have March 7 birthdays, same as mine. And the team had L.C. GREENwood and Mean Joe GREENe.

It happens almost all the time in the last several years: I end up watching more football games in the playoffs than I did during the entire regular season. That’s not all bad; I managed to miss my New York Giants giving up 28 points to the Philadelphia Eagles in eight minutes, a loss which essentially cost them the playoffs. Yet I’ve managed to have seen at least part of all eight playoff games leading to Super Bowl XLV thus far, though by no means all of them. All I saw of the Bears’ shellacking of the Seahawks was the 10 minutes I watched at the Radio Shack, and the Bears were already up 21-0.

Whereas I watched most of both of the Jets’ wins over the Colts and especially over the Patriots. Rooting interests are peculiar things. The sports guy at the local paper has a personal rule that once you pick a team to root for while in your teens, you have to stick with that team for life.

Though not a fan, I must admit that I was happy the first time the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and for that matter when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. But when it got habitual, it started getting annoying.

It occurred to me that not only have all four of the remaining teams won Super Bowls, but, not being up on the regular season games, that I tend to associate the present team with those glory days. In fact, other than the quarterback, I would be hard pressed to name more than one or two players on each team.

In rooting interest order:

New York Jets – they get some coverage around here, a little less than the New York Giants, because the Giants summer at the UAlbany, but more than the Patriots or the Buffalo Bills.
QB – Mark Sanchez, who doesn’t feel quite ready for prime time
Only other player I could name before the playoffs – Santonio Holmes, only because he won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers; I also know the coach, Rex Ryan, he of the loud mouth
I’m thinking about: the 1969 Jets. After the NFL-AFL merger, the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls (which weren’t called that yet), so when the team led by QB Broadway Joe Namath, he of the pantyhose commercials, guaranteed a victory over the mighty Baltimore Colts, it sounded crazy. I still remember the score: Jets 16, Colts 7.
Rooting interest: geography. I mean, they DID play in New York when I saw them play the Houston Oilers in the early 1970s. And their uniforms are GREEN and white.

Pittsburgh Steelers
QB – Ben Roethlisberger, who got into enough trouble off season to warrant a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season. Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowls, XL, for which he played poorly, but still at 23 years old, became the youngest quarterback to win a SB, and XLIII, where he shone.
Only other players I could name: receiver Heinz Ward (appropriately playing at Heinz Field), who is Korean and black, and went to South Korea after the last Super Bowl victory to help mixed race kids; Troy Polamalu, the linebacker whose hair obscures his uniform number, who is all over the field.
I’m thinking about: the Steelers of the 1970s, with QB Terry Bradshaw. It had a running back named Franco Harris and a wide receiver named Lynn Swann, BOTH of whom have March 7 birthdays, same as mine. And the team had defensive linemen L.C. GREENwood and Mean Joe GREENe. The team has won six Super Bowls in seven appearances.
Rooting interest: geography, history.

Green Bay Packers
QB – Aaron Rogers, who, Buffalo Bills fans are reminded, could have been theirs
Only other player: wide receiver Donald Driver. Just like the name.
I’m thinking of: those first two SB wins with Bart Starr as QB, though they did win one about 35 years later.
Rooting interest: small market team (100,000 population, 300,000 in the metro area), not dissimilar in size to Albany, NY. Also, it IS the GREEN Bay Packers.

Chicago Bears
QB – Jay Cutler, who I know relatively little about except that he used to play for the Denver Broncos
Only other player: linebacker Brian Urlacher
I’m thinking about: those 1986 Bears, with Refrigerator Perry, et al.
Rooting interest: I liked Chicago when I went there in 2008

Ultimately, I’m just happy that that the game that will be played in Dallas on February 6 won’t have the Dallas Cowboys playing. Them I do not like.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial