We stuffed the van with luggage, board games, and our metal cooler full of bologna sandwiches and sodas. Two blocks from our house, Jake wanted to play Monopoly and Life. Four blocks later, as we turned onto the freeway for our four and a half hour trip to Las Vegas, he asked for a sandwich. He began telling me about his hotel soap collection while eating his sandwich and drinking his Sprite. I fell asleep.
I woke up as we pulled into the Circus Circus parking lot. I blinked, the casino looked blurry. I felt my face and winced as I poked myself in the eye. I had lost my giant left 1980s lens again. The lens was loose and had popped out three times that week.
“Look for my lens,” I yelled to my family as they started to get the luggage out of the van. I would get a headache if I didn’t have the lens in. My family groaned.
We got our luggage out without finding the lens. Dad checked in and we each got a roll of quarters to play at the Midway. Without my glasses, I finished my quarters without winning a single stuffed animal. Jake and Jean each won handfuls. I found my dad and told him, “Dad, I really need my lens. I can’t win any animals without my lens.”
“Go watch some circus shows, Jim.” I squinted my eyes at a couple of circus shows.
Kris, Zach, and I took off on our cross county trip. We saw the Grand Canyon…
and stayed at Circus Circus. It’s the last hotel on the strip that harkens back to my childhood. The Frontier and Stardust are gone. Wet’n’wild is gone. They’re replaced by fancy, high class hotels with high blackjack minimums, marble floored malls, and low quality arcades.
Zach liked the circus show. I squint now even though I have both lenses in my glasses. Because I’m older. I shook my head as we drove past the Wynn, Paris, and Venetian and out of town.
I went from the circus back to the van. I searched and searched for my lens, to no avail. I went back to the room with the beginnings of a headache.
Dad organized a search party before we went to the buffet for dinner. The whole family went down to the van. We took every piece of luggage and every board game out of the van. Dad pulled out a flashlight and checked under chairs. A half-hour later, we hadn’t found the lens. Dad looked at me, “Sorry, Jim, I guess…” and then he cocked his head. He reached toward me. I thought he was going to muss my hair. He reached into my shirt pocket, shook his head, rolled his eyes. He placed my lens in my hand.