Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Low Roller Takes Junket to Surf, Sand, Slots

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Low Roller Takes Junket to Surf, Sand, Slots

Article excerpt

Like a good snowbird, I flew south just in time to escape Pittsburgh's first snowfall.

Not far enough to be really warm, but far enough to look at the Gulf of Mexico, drive with my window down and eat outside.

All with a sweater on. But still, any morning in December you can stand on a hotel room balcony and look down at dolphins instead of standing on your front porch looking down at salt trucks is good.

I went to Biloxi, Miss., for a week. Why? Not to gamble, because that doesn't interest me. No, mostly because I have always wanted to call someone I know and, when asked where I am, say, "I'm in Biloxi." I suspect there are Southerners and Westerners who come to Pittsburgh for the same reason.

The airfare was cheap, but what really drew me was the low room rates at luxurious casino hotels.

They assume guests will go downstairs and empty their pockets, wallets, checkbooks and possibly entire bank accounts at the slots and tables. Ha ha on them, because I put $5 into a slot machine and walked away with $5.25.

My winnings paid for eight whole minutes of dryer time at the Laundromat on my return.

I looked at Biloxi and Gulfport for signs of what we might expect in Pennsylvania when we get our slots parlors. I can report that those signs say, for the most part, "Pawn Shop" and "Title Loans."

But those weren't the only signs I saw. One that made me smile said,

XXX BOOKS & VIDEOS

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Layaway and Gift Certificates

I also like the more folksy way their freezing-bridge road signs are worded. Ours, of course, say, "BRIDGE FREEZES BEFORE ROAD SURFACE," which is accurate but pompous.

Theirs say, "BRIDGE MAY ICE IN COLD WEATHER" -- right neighborly, though you're left wondering what other kind of weather the bridge would "ice" in.

I fell into conversation with a woman in the Gulfport airport while we got dressed after going through security. She pointed out, "Y'all up North think we're dumb because we talk slower."

This is partly true, and it's a great injustice. …

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