Lottie and I just got back from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) annual convention in Las Vegas, so I thought I'd share some of our experiences. We try to go every year. It's a nice break, and since the kids are grown, we can have some holiday time to ourselves. We planned our trip, and made reservations more than a month beforehand, so we could get the best rates, etc. About two days after the tickets arrived, a letter came from the Vegas Hilton. They wanted to give us two free nights, and meals. I'd already made reservations, so I called and asked if I could extend them to include the two free nights. No problem! Next I called the airline to change my tickets. Big Problem! To make the change, I had to buy two new tickets. It looked to me like two free nights would cost about $950! What a deal... I asked if there was any way around this and the young lady told me if I went to the airport during a slack period and explained my problem to a sympathetic ticket agent I might do better. I did, and it worked. I had to pay a minimal change ticket fee and I was ready.

I called the hotel and confirmed the change. The young lady taking my information was doing her best to be helpful, and bowing to 'political correctness,' she asked me if we had any 'special needs.' I recognized this as a 'politically correct,' way of asking if I was crippled, afflicted, lame, needed a wheelchair, or any thing that they could help me with. I told her, "Yes, as a matter of fact, there is one thing I need in my room." She said, "What is it, sir, we at the hotel try to do our best for all our customers." I told her, "I need a room where I can see the TV from the commode." Silence... Long silence... "What?" So I told her again. I explained that sitting on the commode was such a waste of time, if I could watch the news at the same time it would be more productive. She wasn't sure if any rooms were laid out that way, so I asked her how long she'd worked there. Two years. "Two years, and you've never checked?" I asked, "There are lots of us who can't function without this feature." Like I was asking for a dialysis machine or something. She said she'd check and call me back, and she did.

As it got closer to time to go, we got more and more excited by the chance to get away. Lottie likes to be early wherever she goes; if we go to a party, she's there at least an hour early, and then ready to leave just when it gets going good. So naturally, she packed about a week ahead. I pointed out all of her clothes would look like they've been slept in if she left them in the suitcase so long. She just kept asking me when I was going to pack, "When we get ready to leave," I told her.

When we got to the airport (early) I was concerned about the contents of my briefcase at the security check. I'd gone through it to make sure I'd taken my pistol out, but I still wondered if they'd look at all the cell phones, computer, palm, chargers etc., I had stashed. I put it on the conveyor, zip-right through the x-ray machine, no problem. All Lottie was carrying was a small purse. She put it on the conveyor through the scanner and BINGO, every light, bell, whistle, and siren went off.

The security guards dropped their donuts, and came to attention. "Can we look in your purse, madam?"

I thought she'd forgotten to leave her .357 at home! She said, "Sure, go ahead." One thing you've got to know about Lottie is, she's real country, with a capital 'C'.

She won't even go on a trip with me if they don't have grits. At any rate... the security people plundered through her purse until they got to the bottom, and discovered she had about two inches of quarters stashed away! "I'm going to Vegas," she told them.

They gave her purse back (with quarters), and we were on our way. I asked why in the world she brought all those quarters with her...she told me "gambling money," like it was the dumbest thing I ever asked. I thought it was a little like taking a Big Mac to a bar-b-que, but I didn't say so out loud, what with several hours in close proximity on a plane staring me in the face. I did figure out, after she fed all those quarters into a one-armed-bandit, there'd be enough room in her purse for that 6-1/2" bit I wanted to buy!

We had a great time at the convention, learned a lot, met a lot of old friends, made new ones, and recharged our batteries for the coming year.