Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

We learned this week of the passing of Betty Willis, who designed the Welcome sign that has become the signature icon of Las Vegas, printed on everything from shot glasses to the cover of my book. Ms. Willis was 91. The sign was installed in 1959, which is ancient history in Vegas terms. The design was never copyrighted, so you see it everywhere, including on non-Vegas items.

So much has been written about the sign, the design and Ms. Willis that I don't want to restate all of that here. Instead, I've been thinking about the message on the sign: "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada."

I do find Las Vegas very welcoming. The city draws me in. A friend of mine, who grew up in England and is often jokingly critical of many things American, says "if you can't have fun in Las Vegas, then you don't know how to have fun." Exactly. There's something at every turn, every step of the way, that makes me happy that I'm there.

Now in some ways, Las Vegas is unforgiving. If you lose in the casino, there's no going back. There are no "do overs" or "Mulligans" once your money disappears. The heat can be unbearable. The clubs can be packed and expensive. Lines are long for popular entertainment venues, and crowds can be overwhelming, especially on weekends.

But the city is certainly fabulous. Las Vegas has the level of excitement that I want for my entertainment dollars. My finance calls Las Vegas "our working vacation" because we are always on the go. It's true. I don't like to waste a minute whether I am in a casino, or at a show, or walking the Strip just to see the sights.

The sign embodies all of that. To see it at night in all its blinking glory is truly amazing. But no matter what time of day or night you visit it, there are always people standing underneath it. Everyone wants a selfie, a group photo, a funny snapshot of themselves with the sign. It's a reminder that they were in the most exciting city in the world.

So thank you, Betty Willis, for capturing the sentiment perfectly and for making us all feel welcome in the fabulous city we love.