In July 1970, my college roommate and great friend Ox and I were driving out West in my 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint ragtop. We were destined for Spokane to drop Ox off at Fairchild AFB for survival training before he was to head off to Viet Nam. On the way, we were cruising an interstate — approaching Las Vegas from the East. It was probably 1:30 in the morning. Pitch dark. But when we were still 75 miles away, we could see the arched glow of Vegas in the distance.
We drove through Vegas and continued North to Nellis AFB (I was a tag along). Ox checked us into the base “VOQ” (visiting officer’s quarters). Ox – an Air Force second lieutenant; I a retired Boy Scout. It was probably 2:00 a.m. . . . .
On getting to the room and dropping our bags, Ox’s first words were – “let’s go into town.”
My response “Are you kidding? I’m tired.” Ox said – “Oh c’mon let’s go in for just a half hour.” I thought – half hour. I looked at my watch. We’d still be back by 3:30 or so. And so I capitulated. . . . . Half hour.
Upon arrival into downtown Las Vegas – we were mesmerized by the famous corner with four casinos. And we sauntered into the Golden Nugget. A 25 cent slot machine called my name. . .”Scotty . . come to me.” I fished in my pocket and found one quarter. I put it in, pulled the handle, and bells began ringing. And lights flashing I had won a $47.50 jackpot. I was rich. I looked at Ox and said “Ox – we’re gonna leave here millionaires.”
Later on – at around 10:00 a.m. — we drove back to Nellis. Considerably poorer than we had arrived. We slept for a few hours and headed to Reno to try our luck again. Regrettably, I won no further jackpots. At least at a casino. . . .