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My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

-William Wordsworth

Some of you may remember I wrote last year (Like Father, Like Son, Like Daughter) about a trip my daughter Elizabeth and I made to Las Vegas and how it reminded me of trips I had made there with my father 50 & 37 years ago.

Well, Elizabeth and I went to Vegas again last weekend, once again Elizabeth did all the planning. Of course, we had another wonderful time.

We played Black Jack together (both of us winning), we had a number of wonderful meals (L’atelier de joel robuchon, Jean Georges Steakhouse, & BARMASA), we were mesmerized by Cirque du Soliel’s Mystere, we drove to Hoover Dam and spent time marveling at the Red Rocks Canyon area, and we even stopped in at Freed’s Bakery to see what all the foodie fuss was about.

However, as I flew home Sunday, I began to realize that there was one aspect of these trips that I’m not sure I like.

Some one once said, “We’re twice a parent and twice a child.”  We are parents to our children and later in life we become parents to our parents. And we’re children when we’re young, and then later in life we become children again as we age and our roles reverse with our children.

And how does that relate to Las Vegas, you might ask?

Well, I usually go there a day or so ahead of Elizabeth (she has a day job, and I do not), and I try to put aside any winnings I have from when I get ‘Black Jacks’ (ace and a picture). ‘Black Jacks’ pay 3-2 (other winning hands pay even money). So whenever I get a “Black Jack,’ I slip the ‘extra’ winnings into my pocket and save them. Then when my daughter arrives, I often have about $200 in chips to give her.

Ah, what a father, carrying on a tradition. Don’t all fathers do things like this?

Last year, you may remember, Elizabeth came home with $1,027 from a Jack Pot she won at a slot machine. I only won about $500.

This year, it happened again.

With my usual conservative money management system, I again won a bit over $500 and stopped gambling so as not to give any of it back (I’m probably not a true gambler).  Elizabeth was ahead about $200+ dollars, until the last hour we were at the hotel/casino.  We had packed our bags and decided to check out a bakery she had seen on a food channel before going to the airport, feeling once again we had beaten the odds and each won (as long as you don’t consider the cost of the room, the meals, the show, the flights, the car, the cabs, etc.).

I asked Elizabeth to show me the particular machine she uses when she plays the slots. She knows there’s no real thinking or strategy with the ‘one-armed bandits,’ but she has discovered a particular slot machine that has been a winner for her. So she took some of her winnings, and on her first play, she won $75. “That’s it,” she said. “No more.”

Then, as we were heading upstairs to get our suitcases, I said, “Oh, I always put $20 on red at the roulette wheel for my friend Carrie. As I was doing so, Elizabeth put $20 on the black number 29 (her age). The ‘dealer’ observed that we couldn’t both win but said if Elizabeth did, she could reimburse me for my bet as hers would be worth so much more.

The table was empty, the dealer said he was sure the number 29 would hit, and I smugly thought she had just made the worst bet in the casino – 35-1 odds.

You guessed it. The little white ball bounced around the roulette wheel and landed in the number 29 slot.  The dealer swooped up my $20 and paid my daughter $725.

Once again, she said, “That’s it. No more,” adding, “Why would any one continue to bet after winning $750.”

We were astounded at what had happened in our last 15 minutes in the casino, went to the room, got our bags, and left, Elizabeth with a total of $1,000 between her black jack playing and what happened at the end, and me with my ‘usual’ $500.

So two times now Elizabeth has won twice as much as I have and has shown me something at both the slot machines and the roulette wheel.

Could it be that our roles are beginning to reverse and the Child is becoming the Father (OK, Mother) of the Man?