It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It’s funny how some periods of you life are calm, almost to the point of boring, and other times are utter chaos.  The months of August and July were a combination of both, good and bad.  We’ll start with the good first.

Marie and I left Iola on Saturday, August 12 and headed toward Biloxi.  We had reservations to spend that night in New Orleans at Harrah’s.  As usual we drove through MacDonald’s for breakfast and headed to Louisiana.  When we got to Scott, Louisiana we saw a sign for Billy’s Boudin and Cracklins.  We decided to stop and grab a snack.

The parking lot was full so we figured it must be pretty good.  Well, a little anyway.  The boudin balls were better than the cracklins.  The cracklins were seasoned well, but the fat was very chewy, almost had  a gummy texture.  Everyone else in the store was going crazy over them except us.  I love Cajun food and fried pork skins, but we were both unimpressed.

We made it to New Orleans, checked in and walked across the street to the casino.  I have always liked Harrah’s New Orleans even though the machines have always proven tight.  There are other casinos in New Orleans, but only Harrahs is downtown.  I would think that some good healthy competition would loosen those machines right up.  Marie stayed primarily on Hot Shot Revolution and made enough money to stay happy.

   

After we both won a little money, we grabbed a sandwich to go and took it to our room, ate and went to bed.

The next morning we left New Orleans for Biloxi, which is only 1-1/2 hours away.  We wanted to stop for beignets but Biloxi was calling our names.  We decided to go to a different casino that we hadn’t been to yet.  We had seen billboards for the Silver Slipper casino.  It was on Beach Blvd. at Bay St. Louis.  It had most of our favorite machines and Marie was the big winner.  She found a bank of Tower of Wonder machines and she did really well.  I played them too, but she won more than I did.  I did get free games a lot so I got to play for a long time and didn’t go broke.

I walked back to the Buffalo Grand and Lock n Link machines.  I won several hundred dollars on the Lock n Link. Next to the Buffalo Grand slots was the buffet line which snaked around and around and seemed to never get shorter.  We asked several people about the buffet and they all said it was the best buffet on the Gulf Coast. Because we needed to check in to Harrah’s, we didn’t stay too long.  We had reservations at Magnolia House at Harrah’s.  It’s a lovely restaurant with delicious food and excellent service.  We have been several times – once for brunch and twice for dinner.  Both times at dinner we had Melissa for our waitress and she was excellent and so was the meal.

  

    

We played after dinner for awhile, but I had no luck.  Marie did pretty well on Wonder Tower 4.

Then Marie filmed a 75 bonus win on the same machine the next day.

 

 

I tried my old favorites like Buffalo Grand and Tower of Wonder Tall Fortunes.  Not great on the tower, but I held my own on Buffalo Grand.

 

 

The next day we went back to Silver Slipper after stopping at a Mexican food restaurant that we had heard was very good.  Juan Tequila’s was technically a dive but their Chalupas were fresh and their chips and hot sauce were decent.  The corn tortilla was crispy fried and was not a pre packaged product.  If we need Tex-mex, we will go back there when we get tired of fresh shrimp.

When we got our Players Card at the Silver Slipper, they gave each of us a free buffet.  But the line was too long and we decided to wait for it to get shorter.  Before we knew it the buffet was closed and we were starving.  We stayed and played until midnight and tried to stop at Burger King or MacDonalds, but they had closed.  We finally found a Wendy’s open.  It’s not my favorite, but we both ate every bite.

The next day we checked into the Beau Rivage.  Because it was fairly early in the day I was able to get on Buffalo Grand.  The Beau has lots of junkets from all over the United States, so after they start arriving, the popular machines are taken and people don’t get up.  After I had lost what I thought was enough, I moved on to numerous other machines.  I tried everything and nothing to write home about.  We decided we were hungry and made our way to the Terrace Café.  Everything we have tried at the Terrace has been delicious.  This particular evening was no exception.  The special was fried pork chops which came with chops and a choice of sides.  We decided to share a dinner so we wouldn’t be so full.  It worked out perfectly, just enough.  I decided after dinner that I would try my hand at Ultimate Texas Holdem.  After I had lost $200 I knew I had to make a change.  I walked by the High Limit Room.  I knew they had a few $1.00 machines with a max bet of $9.00.  As I walked inside I saw a flurry of activity.  Bells were going off and slot attendants were running back and forth from player to cashier’s desk.  I was getting that warm and fuzzy feeling like I was home in my bed.  I found a $1.00 Double Diamond with a $9.00 max bet and hit $400.00.  I texted Marie this picture and she came right over.

We decided to play the new Marilyn Monroe slot named How To Marry a Millionaire.  We each put in $100 and played the max which was only $3.00.  We hit the bonus several times, but nothing big.  Marie got a little irritated when our money was gone.  She left and I thought she had gone to the room.  People were still hitting like crazy.  I moved over to a $5.00 Top Dollar slot.  I was being very irresponsible and was loving it.  I played the max which was $15.00.  I got the bonus several times and finally hit $600.00 and cashed out.  I texted Marie a picture and here she came.  So she hadn’t gone to bed and wasn’t ready to give up.  I then moved back to my Double Diamond 5-reel slot.  When I hit $800.00 I cashed out and we left for bed.  It was quite satisfying.  Can’t wait to get back.

The next day we were determined to make it to the Silver Slipper buffet.  It opened at 4:00 PM so we got there about 3:00 and took turns standing in line.  Finally we got to enter.  I let Marie go first and I held our table and purses.  She went for the salad bar and as a surprise she brought me back a plate of King Crab Legs.  OMG, they were so sweet and cooked perfectly.  The shells were not rubbery, they opened easily, the meat came out in solid chunks and they were spicy and delicious.  When I finished those, I went back for more.  And the reason for the long line?  They have crab legs and royal reds shrimp every evening on the buffet.

∈I had Asian food but they needed to go back to the drawing board on it.  I had a couple of fried shrimp, fried chicken and dessert.  Don’t even want to know what my cholesterol was after all this.  Marie played for a long time at the Wonder Tower and she did amazing.  This picture tells of her total wins for the night, cashing out at $1,404.84.   She couldn’t film because the machine was at the escalator and a security guard was there.  They frown on you filming, but if we can get away with it, we will.

      

She was able to film this small win on Wonder 4 Buffalo Deluxe.

 

We played for a while before going back to the Beau.  I immediately went to the High Limit slots.   There were very few people there and none of the scurrying about from the slot attendants.  I asked one of them why it wasn’t paying like the night before and she said it did earlier in the night.  I played on the Double Diamond again and did very good.

I went to bed around 11:00.  We were driving to Lake Charles the next day to spend the night at Lauberge hotel and casino.

We got to Lake Charles around 4:00 and checked in and hit the casino.  Nothing I tried worked, none of my old standbys  Finally I went to Lauberge’s High Limit room, but no luck there either.  As a last resort I saw a $1.00 Blazing 7’s. I liked the pay lines on it.  If you hit a Blazing 7 symbol anywhere on, above or below the middle pay line, it payed $1,000.  I finally got there and called it quits.  I called Marie and told her I was going to Asia restaurant and could I bring her back something.  She wanted chicken fried rice.  I ate my dinner and took her the fried rice and went upstairs to bed.

I was mentally and physically exhausted.  It had been a tough several months. For three years my husband Jim had been fighting metastatic colon cancer.  On July 31 he lost that battle.  And yes I was home with him, along with my daughter-in-law Ginger and Marie.  Jim had lost a lot of weight and wouldn’t eat or drink much.  The morning he died he ate two bites of a waffle and a few sips of ensure and that was pretty much it.  He told me and Ginger that he didn’t want a regular funeral, no one passing by his casket and looking at him.  He wanted to be cremated and he didn’t want to be put at Lake Grove Cemetery, a small community cemetery.  So, instead of a funeral, we had a celebration of life service.  We had Memorial Funeral Home of College Station play a list of songs which were performed by some of Jim’s favorite groups such as Queen, The Eagles, Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, ELO, and Richard Marx.  Mitchell Beene of Iola performed the service and he was exceptional.  I have had more people tell me how much they enjoyed Mitchell and how beautiful the service was.  I truly believe Jim would have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  We had a table in the front of the chapel with a white cloth, gorgeous flower arrangements, potted plants, and good friends and family in the pews.  After the service the family went to Veritas in College Station for lunch and it was wonderful.  Veritas was one of Jim’s and my favorite restaurants.  Special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s and Father’s Days were always spent at Veritas.  I know in my heart he would have whole heartedly approved of the day.  One of our stops in Biloxi was to meet Peggy Roberts of Southern Memorial Cemetery to purchase two niches in a mausoleum for Jim and I.  We accomplished that and I am at peace because I know he would have approved.