In the beginning of 2007 as I reflected on the Las Vegas ICSC, it dawned on me that Michael was going to be graduating, going off to college, and starting the next phase of his life. We had always discussed his coming into my business and taking care of Elaine and I when we wanted to retire. So I booked a plane ticket for him so that he could accompany me. I remember coming home that evening and telling him of my plans of brining him with me to Vegas. He did not show much enthusiasm, he was concerned that he would be bored.. I told him he would be blown away. As the date neared, we had to deal with West Bloomfield High School because the dates conflicted with his final exams. He had to meet with every teacher and work out an alternative date to take his tests and complete his work so he could take the time off and still graduate.
We needed to get there a day before to set up our booth, so we took the early morning Saturday “Real Estate Professionals” flight. Every year the plane is filled with individuals who work in the business. That day was no exception. For the most part, the flight was pretty boring, Until we flew over the Grand Canyon, Michael had never been West, he couldn’t believe the magnitude of it all, it blew him away. As we dropped down into the desert, the panoramic beauty that is Las Vegas was awesome.
Taking a limo to Bally’s and as usual the rooms were not ready, we headed off to the convention hall to set up the booth. Once completed, we went directly back to our room, changed into our suits and beat a path to the pool. After a few Goom-Bay Smash, some hot sun and appreciating the poolside beauty, we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner with Richard Weil, one of my close associates and the three of us enjoyed a wonderful meal together. That evening Michael and I went casino hoping and we walked for what seemed like miles.
Sunday started pretty laid back, after a hearty breakfast, we headed out to the pool to take in some more of that wonderful sun and poolside beauty. Lunchtime consisted of watching our Red Wings lose their final game. Not to get to depressed, we got ready for Sunday's social events, which officially start “The Vegas ICSC”. That afternoon we attended the Retail Brokers Network annual get together and had a chance to introduce Michael. But the real excitement that evening was attending the RBS party at the Mandalay Bay. On a balcony up on the 30th floor overlooking the strip we had a few cocktails and some appetizers. Watched the sun go down, which was just magnificent and enjoyed the moment. Leaving Mandalay Bay we headed to the Luxor, which is connected to the Excaliber. As we walked to get through we came across a Wizard. The challenge was for five bucks, you could have them guess your weight, month of birth or age. I told Michael I would have him guess my age and told him that the Wizard would guess 45 – and he did. Michael took as his prize - a Crown, which said “I Rule” he wore it all through the casino. He was so proud of that hat! He took pictures of himself and text them to his friends.
Monday the real work started but not before having breakfast with Allen Rock at CBL, they have a chef and make you fresh omelets or waffles. Monday is usually a rush but this year it was crazier than ever. The show almost doubled in size. We had to rush from one end of the hall to the other. Michael was able to participate in some pretty high level meetings with senior real estate executives that typically take years to meet. I was so proud of his being able to hold his own in conversation with the people we met with. As the day came to a close, the parties started. After a couple banker parties we headed back to Bally’s and sat and listened to the band they have in the casino who played Motown songs all night long. With the evening coming to a close Michael realized that his shoes had caused a few blisters.
Tuesday we spent more time just walking the show and seeing how amazing some of the company’s displays were. Michael had a chance to go with a couple of the other agents and walk the show and loved collecting all the gifts that the exhibitors give away. We had couple more very important meetings, more walking, and oh yeah Michaels blisters – we needed to get some band-aids and he needed to wear two socks to ease the pain. Tuesday evening is very special – it is the annual Beale Party at the Rio. Beale invites competitors and compatriots and it is a time where we can all get to know each other better and network. We had a little trouble getting Michael into the party, you need to be 21 but Steven Beale called and worked it out to get Michael in. At the top of the hotel, out on the balcony watching the sun going down, all the neon. Smoking a cigar and having a few cocktails, what could be better? Except the Ménage A Tois. "Dinner"
Wednesday is usually slow and this year was no different. We had a few meetings at our booth, one that I am actually working on right now, which Michael assisted in presenting. We broke the rules and took down our display a few hours early – rushed to the airport to get through security and had a very long flight home.
Much to Michael’s surprise, he had a blast and we had five wonderful days to bond. I will remember and cherish this time we spent the rest of my life.
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