folies-bergereTo many people, Las Vegas is one thing: a dry, dusty place where gambling is pervasive. They imagine you’re living on The Strip or in a casino itself. What they don’t realize is Las Vegas is all of that but so much more.

Las Vegas to me means there’s a feeling of excitement in the air, resort pools in the dry desert, an early morning sunrise breakfast of silver dollar pancakes, wide-open drives in the desert, sunshine almost every day, night skies lit up by neon or even stars if you’re distant enough, casinos, celebrity chefs, and entertainment. Each day we’re back I’m reminded of the joy of calling this place home.

I grew up in southern California with family visits to Las Vegas so Las Vegas isn’t “sin city” to me – that’s a marketing ploy they came up with in recent years. It was not “sin city” when I was growing up. Not only was I introduced to Las Vegas when I was 7 or 8 when my step dad drove the family to Las Vegas so he could play craps to keep his hands busy while trying to quit smoking, but my grandparents drove here from SoCal to renew their vows – not at a kitschy drive-through wedding chapel but by a friend, a Baptist minister, who remarried them in his church. One aunt lived here for a few years – another regularly celebrates her birthday every August and she’s in her 80s now – lol!

Las Vegas is Elvis, trade shows, the old Tropicana with its French Can Can dancers in the Folies Bergere show, and classic Vegas performers like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, Tony Bennett, Liberace, the Jersey Boys, and many others I’ve seen. It was meeting people from all over the world at a dinner show or staying up late for the cocktail show, seeing Siegfried & Roy for the price of 2 drinks – wow – those were the days!

Maybe I can blame it on my French grandfather but I was fascinated by the Can Can and dance my own little version of it wearing my “stand-out” slip underneath my skirt when I played with my cousins at my grandmother’s house. Looking back, I can see that I was destined to live in Las Vegas.

My father also has fond memories of Vegas – he’d love to live at Bellagio – lol! And so it makes Vegas even more special because he’s so pleased I’m back living here in my own home with my husband and fur babies with a new one on the way.

Viva Las Vegas!

(Las Vegas is the setting in The Tom Jones Club and Viva Las Vegas.)