Perfect trip with plenty of help |

Perfect trip with plenty of help

I get a call.

“Your tires are in, Mr. Walker.”

I’ve waited since June for those Bridgestone tires. The next day Orllyene and I dine sumptuously at the Costco Food Court while our new tires are mounted.

On that very day, we get a call from Jay, our grandson from New Jersey. Jay is in the Air National Guard, and his unit is temporarily at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

“Grandpa, I have Saturday off, is there a chance you can come down?”

Who cares if the temperature is 114, and it’s a 375 mile drive across a parched desert? We’re going.

In a flash, I’m at the computer. I bring up Airbnb; touch, click, scroll, and the screen is filled with 300 locations.

“Minutes from the strip,” is the hook. Orllyene and I don’t want to even go near the Strip. We lived in Vegas for 18 years, which is why we now live on a dirt road in Smith Valley.

Ah ha! A prospect, way out in the northwest quadrant, with a belt-parkway to the front gate of Nellis; Rachel’s picture comes up.

“Gated Community, full use of living room and kitchen downstairs, but upstairs is off limits.”

Click; the dates I request are available.

I send Rachel a note regarding our intentions; “Our grandson from New Jersey is temporarily at Nellis, and it’s imperative we see him.”

Bingo our reservation is confirmed. Twenty minutes later, I receive an email map for directions to her front door, followed by another map from her house to Nellis. You’ll never get that kind of service at Motel 6.

Orllyene navigates our trip beautifully, right to Rachel’s front door on Dappled Light Drive. As we’re about to unpack, Rachel arrives, looking striking. “I’m so glad to meet you. Let me show you around the kitchen. Use whatever shelves you want in the fridge, and please have one of those bagels. I got them for Katie(her daughter, whom we learn is the top rated female high school pole vaulter in Nevada), and here are the dishes, glasses, and oh, did you find the bath towels?” she asks. Orllyene springs to life. “Those towels are absolutely the softest bath towels I’ve ever felt in my life, and your home is just beautiful.”

Our visit with Jay is more than memorable. It’s unforgettable. Another remarkable occurrence happens. I’m in the men’s restroom of a deluxe Thai restaurant waiting to use the paper towel dispenser. A distinguished gentleman, with a short, grey, pony tail, unexpectedly hands me a paper towel.

“When you need help, just ask,” he says, and glances heavenward. “You can’t help others unless you’re happy yourself,” he says and leaves.

It takes me a moment to decipher what has just happened. Suddenly, I’m lighthearted and eager to get back to our table. Orllyene, Jay and I celebrate the evening. I’m so exuberant, I chat with the lovely Thai waitress. When dinner is over, I hug the hostess at the podium. From the git-go of our trip, to saying goodbye, has been heaven sent.

Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at