Day One: Tuesday, April 18, 1995
I survived "the Blizzard of '78" and Boston's rush-hour traffic. I've avoided having my private parts squashed in junior-high school dodge-ball games. I've even read accounts about the dangers of taking part in the running of the bulls at Pamplona. But nothing, I repeat nothing...would prepare me for the hordes of children that would race headlong down passageways and corridors in the Las Vegas hotel/casino called Circus Circus.
It was April, 1995. I was looking to make my second pilgrimage to "Sin City" (my first took place in Oct., 1993). I called my travel agent. "Have I gotta deal for you!" she said. "What does it include?" I asked. My agent replied, "Round-trip airfare and three nights at Circus Circus. "Circus Circus," I repeated. "I don't know much about it," I added. My agent replied, "It's on the Strip. It's got an excellent casino..." Seconds later, I said, "O.K." I would be flying out of Boston's Logan Airport on Tuesday, April 18 and returning on Friday, April 21.
Our (my friend "Bucko" was joining me) AA flight was scheduled to leave Boston Tues. aft. at 4 PM. We had a one hour layover in DFW. We were scheduled to arrive in Vegas about 8 PM. I recall that our flight out of Beantown was delayed by nasty weather that was hittting other parts of the country. We ended up leaving about an hour late. Once we were airborne our captain got on the intercom and told us that he'd try to make up the time in the air. As we're flying somewhere over Tennessee, we began experiencing extreme turbulence. This flight was turning out to be an airborne moon-walk ride. Finally, our captain "dropped" us down (I felt like as if we were landing in a heliocopter) at DFW.
When we arrived in Dallas, there was no time to unwind. Our flight to Vegas was waiting. As "Bucko" and I are racing to board the plane, we must have looked like "Mutt and Jeff." "Bucko's" 5-foot-4 and weighs about 190 (he's built like a fireplug). I'm 6-feet-1 and weigh 185. All I could think of at the time was the opening scene from the movie "Chariots Of Fire." The part where the athletes are running on the beach. Well, we made the flight (not without alot of huffing and puffing). Moments later, we're airborne. Thankfully, this leg of our trip was uneventful.
At 9 PM, "Bucko" and I arrived at McCarran I was happy to have finally landed at the "Neon Oasis." Yet, that happiness would be soon tempered. I recall that we retrieved our luggage and then took a cab to Circus Circus. I believe we were turning off I-15 toward Spring Mountain Rd. when our cab began experiencing mechanical problems. In any event, our driver pulled off to the side and stopped. The cabbie radioed back that he was having problems and that the dispatcher would need to send out another cab. As "Bucko" and I sat in the back seat of the cab waiting for the relief taxi to arrive, I couldn't help but think back to a similar incident --- only this one took place thirty years earlier.
The oil warning light next to the speedometer on my 1954 Ford Coupe was turning bright red. Try as I might...I couldn't ignore it. It looked like a huge 'zit' staring back at me in the mirror. In the mid-1960s, I had paid a neighbor $35 for the car. I was as 'happy as a clam.' I had my own "set of wheels."
One Friday night in October I headed north in my "new" car to a harness racing track called Rockingham Park (they ran thoroughbreds there during the summer) in southern New Hampshire. That night, I won $200 (a princely sum in those days). I was overjoyed. So overjoyed that the following night I "rounded up the posse" (I piled a bunch of my friends into my car) and headed back to Rockingham.
Well, I recall that I was running late (I didn't want to miss the daily double). I was pushing my car at speeds in excess of 70 MPH. As I got within ten miles of the track, I saw my oil warning light come on. I know. Get off the road. Get to a gas station. No. I pushed on. I felt, at that moment, like I was John Wayne in one of those World War II movies. I needed to get my crippled craft and my crew back safely to our base.
Now, I'm crossing into NH. Just three miles to go. But now steam is seeping out from under the hood. Somehow, I'd make it (I just about coasted into the parking lot). The bunch of us rush to the track's entrance to play the daily double. Too late! But, that's not all I'd miss. That night would turn into a disaster. Not only did I end up losing $100; when we get back to my car... it wouldn't start. It turns out that the engine block had fused. I'm literally: "Dead in the water."
We had to call my friend's parents to come pick us up. The next day my mother wants to know, "Where's my car?" (she didn't know I'd gone to the track). I told her it was in New Hampshire. I remember her saying, "What's it doing there?" I said, "Ma, please sit down. It's a long story."
In the end, I told her what had happened. That I had pushed the car beyond its limits. At that moment, I felt like climbing under a rock. I had to face the music. Ouch!! It was my own fault. All I can remember is my mother saying , "...you coulda been killed...and your friends, too." All I could do was just sit there and take it. As a postscript, I gave the car away to one of the mechanics who worked at Rockingham Park.
But just then, it was back to reality. The relief cab had pulled up next to our disabled one. We hopped into the back seat as our driver transferred our luggage. I recall that we continued down Spring Mountain to the Blvd. and then left to Circus Circus, "Bucko" remarked, "Walter, you seemed so engrossed in thought.. What were you thinking about back there?" I replied, "Oh, just something that happened about thirty years ago. Something I'd just as soon forget."
Well, we finally arrived at Circus Circus. I recall that we were assigned a room facing the Strip and the Riviera across the street. Our room was on one the lower floors ("Bucko's afraid that --- heaven forbid --- there's a fire; the aerial ladders won't be able to reach the upper floors). After putting away our clothes, we headed downstairs to the casino. I recall we played a bunch of slot machines but only came away with small hits. We went to bed about 11:00 PM.
Day 2: Wednesday, April 19, 1995
The next morning we both got up about 7 AM. We went through our morning routine and headed downstairs to partake of Circus Circus's breakfast buffet. I recall that the coffee was hot and the juice was good, but the offerings were...well mediocre. After breakfast, we tried our luck at (in no particular order) at keno, craps, roulette and BJ. I wish I could tell you that we made a bundle, but we didn't. I know I lost about $50.
It was after our morning gaming experience that we decided to do some souvenir shopping in one of Circus Circus's shops. As we were leaving one of the shops, we were descended upon and nearly trampled by a horde of youngsters. They came out of nowhere...like waves of all-consuming locusts. I personally had all I could do to avoid them (shades of my dodge-ball days); some, in fact, bounced off "Bucko."
We both decided that we needed to get away from Circus Circus. We walked across the Blvd. to catch the CAT bus that would take us downtown. It was fast approaching noon when we exited the bus and walked up Fremont St. This would be my first visit to downtown Vegas. My first impression was favorable. Hey, I'm more of a Motel 6 kinda guy than a Ritz-Carlton person. I felt comfortable in that downtown environment.
We walked up the street to Binion's and headed for their racebook. The horse racing back east had already begun. "Bucko" and I played a few races and then walked over to Binion's snack bar. The snack bar's motto should be: "Good food...cheap." I recall I had a meat sandwich, some chili (no cheese) and a drink. After lunch, we played some more races and then headed across the street to Fitzgeralds.
"Bucko" loves keno so we took the escalator upstairs to the second-floor keno lounge. As "Bucko" takes a seat at the lounge, I decide to head over to the bar for a cold, frosty brew. My favorite is Corona with a lime (sorry "Man-law"). My thirst was heightened by the fact that I hadn't had an alcoholic beverage in twenty-four hours and that the temperatures outside were unseasonably warm. After my third beer, my mind began to wander (alcohol will do that). I was again turning back the clock.
It was the summer of 1968. I'd been teaching on Long Island. NYC was going through one of its worst droughts in decades. I too was going through my own drought --- a dating drought. I had more strikeouts than Nolan Ryan. I tried everything: singles bars, dance clubs... even bookstores, museums and libraries. No luck. Nada. Then...one early-July evening, as I was having dinner at this local restaurant, I spots this flyer for computerized dating --- call it "eHarmony in the Stone Age." I take home the brochure, fill it out and mail it in with the $10 registration fee.
Two weeks later, I get this list in the mail with five women's names. I started at the top and called the first name on the list. I'll call her Rose (names have been changed to protect the guilty). I recall that she lived in the Brooklyn...actually Canarsie. I shoulda known. Oh...not that she was from Canarsie, but that she was carrying this humongous pocketbook. Anyway, that night we double-dated.
My buddy Barry and I decided to take our dates to NYC's "Playboy Club". To make a long story short, during the course of that evening, Rose ended up taking everything in "the Club" that wasn't nailed down: sugar packets, condiments, napkins, even silverware. When we get up to leave, I notice that Rose is tilting to the side like the Leaning Tower of Pizza. As we're exiting "the Club," I glim this cop standing out front. I'm worried he's gonna stop us. I'm thinkin' I'm gonna get pinched as an accessory. I could just see the headline: "Long Island Teacher Implicated in Playboy Club Heist." Needless to say...that was the last time I'd ever see Rose.
I shook off my intial disappointment and proceeded to call the other names on the list. Nancy "stood me up" (When I arrived at her apt., the doorman tells me that my date had "an unexpected dentist's appt."). Susan "turned me down" ("My friends signed me up, but it was all a joke"). Helen "cabbed me out" (She had me call her a taxi in the middle of our date). As you might expect, I was getting just a tad discouraged. Finally, on my fifth and final try...I hit paydirt. We met for lunch at a Manhattan cafe. She was very attractive. Small-boned. She looked like Audrey Hepburn.
About a week later, I invited Lee to go to Long Island's Jones Beach. I recall picking her up at her Manhattan apt. She was wearing a black, two-piece bathing suit. We had a wonderful time. We were kissing and hugging in my car even before we set foot on the beach. It was glorious. Late in the afternoon, we left the beach and drove back to Lee's apt. While riding along the Meadowbrook Pkwy., I saw several signs cautioning residents to: "Conserve Water." We finally arrived back at Lee's apt. She quickly takes off her bathing suit and hops into the shower. About a minute later --- I join her. At first, she's startled. I rememember looking at her, pausing, and then saying: "Lee, you know what they say: 'Save water...shower with a friend.'" She laughed.
Just then, "Bucko" comes over. "How'd you do?" I asked. "I made some money." he replied. "I had six out of eight on one of my way tickets. That got me healthy," he added. "Bucko" joined me for another drink (he strictly a "Heineken Man") and then we walked back to the Blvd. to catch the CAT for trip back to Circus Circus.
Upon arriving back at "The Greatest Show on Earth," a.k.a. Circus Circus, we washed up, watched the news and then headed downstairs to try Circus Circus's dinner buffet. I wish I could say that the food was outstanding, but candidly --- it wasn't. To call the offerings "fair" would have been a compliment (maybe it's changed in the nearly dozen years since I last ate there).
That evening, we decided to go across the street and try our gambling luck at the Riviera. Shortly after we entered "the Riv," "Bucko" spots these video keno machines. "Bucko" says he's gonna sit for awhile and play the keno machines. I decide to walk over to the craps tables. I stood and watched for awhile as a couple drunkin' fools were slobbering all over the place.
These guys were as crude as prison-made booze. They were embarrassing themselves. I remember one guy saying to the one of the dealers that he had a joke: "Confucius say that woman who fly upside down have crack-up." How gross. Thankfully, there were no women at the table.
I then decided to try one of the other craps tables. I didn't know it then, but I'd soon meet up with "Big Red." I have to say --- before I recall the events of that Wed. night --- I'm a sucker for redheads. The late Lucille Ball, Molly Ringwald, Donna (on "That 70s Show"). I love(d) them all. In fact, I once told my wife that if she ever dyed her hair red, she'd never leave the bedroom (as a credit to her good judgment, she's remained a brunette).
Anyway, I decided to buy in at a near-empty $10 craps table. I threw a "Bennie" on the baize and called out "cheques." "Any action?" the dealer on my side of the table asked. I replied, "No." As an aside, whenever I shoot craps I like to start slowly. I try to gauge the table's "temperature." It's sorta like the porridge in "Goldlilocks and the Three Bears." Is it hot? cold? choppy?
Unfortunately, as I began play at the Riviera, the table was choppy (neither hot nor cold). That kind of table can lead to a guessing game. I was even tempted, after ten minutes, to take cash in my remaing chips and head back across the street to Circus Circus (but then I thought of all those children). I decided to stay at the Riviera. Hey, I've seen craps tables "turn on a dime." In craps, as in most games of chance --- being in the right place at the right time can be critical. In my case, thus far, my timing had been poor. I was down about $80.
But suddenly, things began to change. Coincident with that change was the arrival of a tall, attractive redhead; she took a spot next to me on the rail. I remember she was wearing this black dress, with dark hose and heels. She immediately starting asking me questions about craps. Frankly, I didn't have the time. I said, "Watch me. If you like, bet what I bet." I was, by the way, on the outer hook. The beautiful redhead (I'll simply call her "Big Red.") was to my left at SR2. The shooter at that moment was to my immediate right --- straightout.
Anyway, the shooter lets the cubes fly. Seconds later, the stick calls out, "Winner seven. Pay the line Take the don'ts." I had two "redbirds" ($10) on the pass line. In an instant, the dealer at our end of the table slides two red chips in my direction. "Big Red" had followed suit and received the same payoff. The "stick" passes the dice back to the shooter. He lets fly. Seconds later, music to my ears: "Yo-eleven. Three at the bottom of a glass," calls the stickman. That's $10 for me and also for my redheaded "friend." As luck would have it, the shooter fires yet another "natural." Our stickman calls out: "Winner
seven." That's a $30 gain in a little over a minute. I'm beginning to feel that "the worm has turned."
Well, on the next throw, the shooter throws a number (I want to say an eight). "Big Red," my luscious redheaded friend asks, "What do I do now (we each had $10 pass line bets)?" I said, "Take free odds." "What's that?" she replied. I said, "Put two $5 chips behind your pass line bet.(she watched me take two red chips and place them, offset, behind my pass line bet). "Big Red" followed suit. Wouldn't you know it....three or four rolls later the "stick" calls out: "'Ocho suave' (soft eight) Pay the line." That's $10 for my pass line bet and $12 for my 6-to-5 free odds bet. "Big Red" is paid off in the same manner. I'm thinking to myself, "It doesn't get any better than this."
The shooter at the straightout position had done very well. He made four "passes." However, he did seven-out on his very next roll. The dice, moving in a clockwise direction, came to me. I recall starting out with a "hard four" ("Little Joe"). It's a tough number to hit, but I still took $10 in free odds behind my pass line bet. My redheaded companion was "xeroxing" my every move. Wouldn't you know it, a few rolls later...I nail the four. The stick calls out, " Hard four. Ballerina special." (tutu). That's ten bucks on the pass line, and at 2-to-1, an additional $20 on my odds bet.
At this time, I'm looking down at my chips on the rail. I've certainly replenished my larder. I've quickly gone from being down $80 to just about even.. On my next come-out, I recall throwing a seven. $10 more dollars. "Big Red, to my left, is all smiles. She may not realize it, but she's fast accumulating enough chips to have dinner at a four-star restaurant.
I do eventually seven-out, but the number of red chips on the rail in front of me is beginning to look like an row of freshly picked radishes. Next to shoot is "Big Red." She tells me she's never shot craps before. I think to myself, "Virgin Roll" (usually very lucky). Well, "Big Red" did not disappoint. As I recall, she threw some "naturals" and a bundle of "numbers." The table was beginning to fill up faster than a small-town drive-in on a hot Saturday night. She must have held the dice for fifteen or twenty minutes (that's an eternity in craps). When she did finally seven-out, we both had a veritable "vegetable garden" in front of us. In addition to those radishes I spoke of earlier, there was zucchini, lettuce and cukes ($25 chips). What a beautiful sight!
After "Big Red" sevened-out, I decided that I wasn't going to press my luck any further. "Coloring up," I called out. The dealer moved my chips to the boxman. He tallied up my winnings. "Three hundred and twenty dollars," he called out. "How would you like that, sir?" he asked. "Three blacks and four reds," I said. As I was leaving, I dropped the four reds on the table and said, "For the boys." I then wished "Big Red" and everyone at the table the best.
As I walked over to where "Bucko" was playing video keno, I couldn't help but think how strange my craps session had been.
Here's the phrase, "Big Red" (the number 7), it's an anathema to most crapsters; yet, this "Big Red" brought me loads of luck. Go figure.
As I walked up to where "Bucko" was playing video keno, I asked, "How ya doing?" "Not well," "Bucko" replied. "These machines are eating up my money faster than a paper shredder." he added. He then asked, "How'd you make out at the craps table?" I told him about my good-luck charm, "Big Red." I added that I had made two "bones" ($200). I then said, "Why don't we call it a night." I then added, "Let's have a nightcap here at the Riviera and then we can head back across the street to Circus Circus (seeing that clown out in front was fast beoming an object of aversive conditioning).
So while "Bucko" sipped his Heineken and I, my Corona...with a lime, we talked about what we were going to do tomorrow, our last full day in Vegas. I said, "'Bucko', we've gambled here and at Circus Circus. We've visited the downtown. Let's head south tomorrow toward the main Strip area." "Bucko" agreed. We then finished our beers, headed across the street to Circus Circus, and then up to our room to call it a night.
Days 3 & 4: Thursday, April 20 & Friday, April 21, 1995
The next morning, Thurs., we were both up by 7 AM. After going through our morning rituals, we headed downstairs to get some breakfast. We both decided to skip the buffet and try something else. We settled on a deli that served coffee, juice, bagels, danish, etc. Personally, I found it to be a cut above the buffet fare. After breakfast, we briefly headed up to the room before waiting out on the street for the CAT bus to take us toward the hotels further down the Strip. As I recall, we got off in front of The Mirage. I wanted to again visit the Mirage's sports/racebook and their gaming area. After a brief visit, we walked south toward Caesars.
At Caesars, I recall that we played roulette and then walked over to the Forum Shops. I wanted to show "Bucko" the faux sky above the passageway. Quite an illusion! It was then that we left Caeasars, crossed Flamingo, and then continued south toward the Monte Carlo and the Excalibur. We made a quick stop at the Monte Carlo before heading across Tropicana to the Excalibur. "The Ex" had the look and feel of a Disney creation. It looked like a building that could have easily fit into The Magic Kingdom.
Upon entering the Excalibur, we made our way over to the food court. We decided to get a couple cheeseburgers, fries and a drink at McDonalds (I now take lipitor). Afterwards, we noticed that they were giving away free samples of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (who knew about trans fats?). After lunch, we decided to try our luck at the Excalibur's keno lounge. "Bucko" and I were playing partners on several way tickets. I wish I could say we hit it big, but we didn't. It was about three o'clock that "Bucko" said, "Walter, I'm a little pooped. I'm going back to the room. I want to take a nap," he added. "I may go 'scooping' later, but I'll leave you a message." With that, "Bucko" headed out the door to catch the CAT back to Circus Circus.
For my part, I stayed at the Excalibur and played pai gow poker. I had read about the game, but I'd never played. I knew that you formed two hands, a larger five-card hand, and a small two-card hand. You need to win both hands to win the game.
As it turns out, there were alot of "pushes." I was told that this was the norm in pai gow poker. I'd win a couple. I'd "push." I'd lose. In the end, I think I lost $20. In hindsight, it seemed like a great way to play for comps. There's certainly alot of churning.
It was now about 4:30 PM. I decided that I'd catch the bus back to Circus Circus. All that walking and the mid-April Vegas heat had tuckered me out. Minutes later, I was sitting on the CAT bus and heading past the Aladdin, Bally's, the BC, the Flamingo and the Imperial Palace. I'd soon be stopping out in front of the Riviera. I crossed the Blvd and walked into Circus Circus. I then took the elevator up to our room. It was now past 5 PM. "Bucko" was nowhere in sight. I looked around. He usually leaves a message. Where could it be? Then, I spotted something near the phone: a slip of paper. Dot-Dash-Dot. Dot-Dot. Dot-Dot-Dot-Dash. R-I-V. "The Riviera." You see "Bucko's" like Joe Pesci (Nicky Santoro) in "Casino." Or, Paul Servino's portrayal of Paul "Paulie" Cicero in "Good Fellas." He's very secretive. If you talk to him on the phone, you wouldn't have known you'd had a conversation. One of his favorite expressions is: "Big Brother's Watching You!"
"O.K.," I think to myself, "Bucko's" over at the Riviera. He did mention he might go "scooping" (trying to pick up women). Maybe it was all that 'eye candy' we saw at the Mirage, Caesars and the Excalibur." In any event, I'd be eating alone. I called room service and ordered a hamburger, fries and a Coke (I'm gonna turn into a triglyceride). As I'm waiting for room service to arrive, I think about how I first met "Bucko".
Back in the mid-1970s, I was teaching history at a high school west of Boston. I remember that I was having trouble with my filmstrip projector (this is in a day before DVD players and VCRs). I sought out the new AV repair technician. That's the first time I met "Bucko." He was ensconced away in his own small office near the rear of the AV suite.
When I walked in, I noticed that he was reading the newspaper's race results. I asked him if he liked racing. He said, "Most definitely." Well, a couple weeks later we hooked up to go to a MA harness track. We've been going to the races...and casinos ever since. I've known "Bucko" now for over thirty years. He's quite a complex guy. He's a U.S. Navy vet. He has a master's degree in communications. He's an avid reader...avid horseplayer...a lover of C&W music, and he's one of the few Caucasians I know who speaks nearly fluent Chinese. The only major difference between the two of us is the fact that I'm married (over twenty-five years at the time) and he's single. That didn't mean I couldn't look at the menu, but I've never ordered.
Just then, there was a knock on the door: "Room service." "Come in," I said. The guy left my meal on the counter. I tipped him five dollars. As I munched on my hamburger and took sips of Coke, I pondered what I might do...my last evening in Vegas. I was too tired to go either downtown or back toward Caesars. I thus decided I'd stay at Circus Circus (I figured that by this time the children were back in their rooms or getting ready for bed). Here I was a high school social studies teacher, and I was developing pedophobia (a fear of children).
Well, I finished my sumptious dinner and headed downstairs to the casino. This being my last night in Vegas, I figured I'd try the "smorgasbord approach" --- a little of everything. I started off with slots and then gravitated to the table games. I was playing conservatively. I was close to even for the trip. I wanted to keep it that way. It was now close to 11 PM. My "dogs" were killing me. On top of that, "Bucko" and I had a 9 AM flight out of McCarran for DFW. Then, it was on to Boston.
Now, I might mention that "Bucko" and I have gambled together so much that we know what the other person's thinking. If we played the game of bridge, we wouldn't need signals. It's almost telepathy. Well, over the years, we did have signals. One of the signals was that if "Bucko" had a woman in the room, he'd leave the TV sound on. That way when I approached the room, I knew not to enter.
It was now approaching 11:30 PM. I decided to head up to our room. I heard the TV. Who could "Bucko" have with him? I could only image. A ravishing redhead? A buxom blonde? A beautiful brunette? In a way I was envious. What a way to top of an evening! I dutifully headed back downstairs.
I remember getting a drink from one of the cocktail waitresses and then throwing $20 worth of quarters into a slot machine. It was now after midnight. I was totally exhausted. I just about staggered over to the elevator. Once again I approach our room. And, once again I hear the television. I was thinking, "I can't take it anymore. I've got to get some sleep." I decided to wait a few more minutes. I even walked to the end of the corridor and back.
At that moment, I took a peek at my watch. It was after midnight. I said to myself, "I'm going in. If 'Bucko's' with a woman, I'll have to deal with it." Slowly, I put my card key into the slot. The three green lights aligned. Then, I slowly turned the latch and entered the room. I didn't know what I'd find. Would I embarrass "Bucko?" Would he be in the midst of some passionate, love-making embrace? Yet what I found both startled and surprised me. The lights were on. The television was on. But...there was no woman. Only "Bucko" snoring away like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Well, I quietly turned off the lights and shut off the TV. I then washed up, brushed my teeth and went to bed. The next morning "Bucko" and I got up about the same time. I was "fit to be tied." I looked at "Bucko" in the next bed and asked, "What happened?" I must say that "Bucko" was effusively apologetic. He told me that he played video keno and shot craps at the Riviera and then returned to the room about 11 PM. He then said that he threw on the TV to catch the latest news and weather. He then added, "I musta fallen asleep. At least," he said, "that's the last thing I remember."
I then said to "Bucko," "And all this time I was going back in forth from the casino to the room thinking you were with a woman." I then added, "The next time, maybe we should do something a little more simple, like putting a 'Do Not Disturb' sign outside the door." "Bucko" replied, "Walter, you're absolutely right; but let's not worry about it. Right now I'm as hungry as a bear. Let's go down to that deli and have breakfast. To show you what kinda sport I am --- I'll pay."
Within moments, all had been forgiven and forgotten. We had breakfast and then came back up to our room to pack. We then checked out, hailed a cab and headed for McCarran for our flight back to Boston. We eventually arrived back in Beantown late Friday afternoon. When I finally reached my home, my wife asked, "How was your trip?" "Fine, " I said, "except for all of those children." "You're a teacher, aren't you," my wife said. "Yes." I replied. "It's just that I don't like to see lots of children when I'm on vacation." Well," my wife said." you'd better recuperate over the weekend because on Monday (end of school vacation) you're going to see thousands of children." I just shook my head.