M and I took a leisurely drive through the sierras and into Reno (Nevada) yesterday. Since we got married in Reno, it holds a special place in our hearts on Valentine’s day, and when Valentine’s day falls on a Saturday, we do make an effort to get back up there and see other brides and grooms on their happy days.
Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment, in that we only saw about 5 happy couples in our wanderings. Still, it was nice; they look so happy. I refuse to think about where statistics indicate they might be this time next year, that they could potentially be separated or divorced by then, because yesterday they were happy.
Reno itself is such a sad town. So many of the casinos that used to line the strip are now shuttered, the liveliness inside the casinos that remain open seems so muted. Perhaps because it was early and people were still arriving or had not yet hit the bars hard, but it seemed so low-key and quiet, particularly for the Saturday of a 3-day weekend for many.
From there we drove onward and into Lake Tahoe, where we waited an hour to have dinner and watched a steady procession of brides, grooms, their wedding parties and guests. That was nice. One of the happy couples was waiting near us, both in their late 70s, both previously widowed, with their children (our ages), grandchildren, and even a couple of great grandchildren. It certainly made our day to see these lovely people finding happiness together once more.
But the biggest surprise of the day was yet to come. On our way back to the car we always stop for a final pitstop at the same set of bathrooms. While I was waiting for M, I fished a $5 bill out of my pocket and stuck it into a slot machine. This is the only time we ever gamble anymore, when waiting for the other in the bathroom, and even then it is very random if at all. Most of the time I would rather waste money shopping and come home with miscellaneous crap I really don’t need, so slot machines and card tables hold little allure for me. But it was our anniversary, and I was feeling nostalgic. On our wedding day, I had won $125, which was the last time I can remember gambling, much less winning.
From my $5 investment, I chose a progressive machine that happily gave up it’s $1013.87 pot on my second press of a button. I was pretty excited – I thought I had won $150 – but the lights were flashing and bells and whistles were going off and the attendant light was flashing – it was apparently a Very Big Deal. He came over and congratulated me, then used his key to make it all stop and my ticket print out, then he signed it and told me I should take it to the cashier to retrieve my winnings. M was very impressed. Had I been willing he would have hung around while I redistributed my winnings into other machines, but I always walk away when I win. It happens so rarely.
Our anniversary was a good and fun day. We were together. We met nice people, saw pretty things, ate amazing food, had a safe drive out and back. Plus I won money! It was a great day.