We had a nice dinner on Sunday night and then took a Sabbath walk around the place. One thing I discovered, is that the older I get, the more annoying all the noise of the casino is. New York New York is kind of fun because it's very theme-y with lots of fun restaurants and little bistros. But the noise, and crowds and smoke soon drove us outside to look at the view from the bridge that leads across to the MGM. I snapped this picture with my i-Phone looking north up the strip. You can see the Paris Hotel waaaay off in the distance.
L and I both decided that Las Vegas is a city best seen at night. The lights are flashy and even a little beautiful in a tawdry sort of way at night. But in the daylight it all seems a little bit tired and like it's trying too hard. But that's just on the strip. I can honestly say I haven't really had much of a chance to see where the real people live, in real homes - rather than the gorgeously decadent Bellagio or the sleek Wynn and Encore resorts. Anyway, after a short while we'd had enough of the hustle and bustle and sparkly manic tourists. We made our way inside, up the elevator in the New York Tower and down a hall to our room. Our suite. And the rest of that night, my friends, stays in Las Vegas.
The next day - Monday - was kind of special. To back up, a few days earlier I heard from an old friend that their oldest daughter had passed away suddenly. Tahna had been one of my kids' favorite babysitters back in the day. She was fun and sparkly, with a wicked sense of humor. I can't describe the essence of her spirit, but she was the kind of girl who made you laugh and smile just being around her. She was bright and articulate and enthusiastic. Life, as so often happens, had not always been kind, but things were looking up and getting better. And suddenly she was gone, taking her light and her sparkle with her. She lived in Las Vegas with her husband close to another sister, and so her funeral was held there - coincidently on the same weekend we were there. I couldn't stay away from such a momentous occasion, and I was glad I'd taken the time to go. Her family is incredible. Absolutely rock solid, these people, with unshakable faith that they will see their daughter and sister again. It was inspiring to spend time with them, and I left with a good feeling in my soul.
Our next stop that day was the LDS temple in Las Vegas. It was closed, but we wandered the grounds and communed with the spot where L proposed to me so many years ago.
YES - this is the very bench where said proposal was offered!
On that evening 12 1/2 years ago, we wandered the same grounds, and wound our way through the walkways, coming to rest on this bench that sits next to a pool of water. Yep - that's where my sweetheart went down on one knee and asked me to spend our forevers together. So it's kind of a sacred spot to me. It started this whole crazy ball rolling.
The day was a pretty one - blue skies, but with a crisp, cool breeze blowing. I couldn't help thinking of Tahna, and feeling strangely comforted in this spiritual place. Seriously, even the grounds of our temples have a beautiful feeling surrounding them. L and I soaked up the atmosphere of The Bench, reliving our memories, and wandered around taking other pictures. Here are a couple of the better ones:
I always love the Angel Moroni blowing his trumpet - a beautiful sight for miles around.
A side entrance that shows off the unusual architecture
And finally, the last picture that shows the bare branches of the trees set against the bright blue sky, the steeple of the adjoining church off in the distance.
When we returned to the hotel, we were a little tuckered out from all the emotion and communing with spiritual and sacred memories, so we decided to watch a movie. Puss in Boots was just the thing. Lighthearted. Fun. We really are a couple of geeks. But we are a couple of geeks in perfect harmony, at least most of the time.
Later that night we went to visit an elderly aunt and uncle of L's, (a sister of his dad's) along with a couple of cousins. I'd never met them, and so it was a quick, fun visit that will be another good memory. So on our little adventure we had a night of romance and fun that was just for us, and then we had a spiritually fulfilling Friends & Family Day. Both days had more than a little bit of emotion added to the general equation, but I think that the most memorable times in our lives are always tied to great heartfelt emotion.
Our last morning started early with a 7am conference call for me for work. I was able to catch up on some work while listening, and so it wasn't for naught. Afterwards, we jumped into some comfy clothes and had breakfast downstairs at Al Forneio. *contented sigh* It was delicious: Omelette al Fornaggi
(4 cheese omelette), breakfast potatoes, pancakes, and orange juice. We breakfasted like kings, and when satisfied we went back up to Rm 1234 and packed up to go.
It was a good weekend for this boy
and this girl.
Sorry for the sunglasses, but the sun was BRIGHT!
It was a weekend that somewhat mirrored our lives - a little bit of everything thrown together in a bit of a pleasant mishmash. Not your traditional anniversary weekend, you say? Probably not. Not many people celebrate 12 years combining hot tub romance, a funeral, and a visit with the elders in one trip. It wasn't all about us. But I'm finding that the best things in life rarely are.