Reunion 2019!

2019 Reunion Details and Update          
By: Carol Blann

On Sunday, October 13th, we will once again gather at Sam’s Club in Las Vegas for the USS Shields Reunion. When you join us you will come up to the Hospitality Suite where everyone is settling in for another fun four days. On the bar you will see bottles of wine, ice buckets and glasses, and in the coolers below you will see soft drinks, bottled water and beer. After choosing your favorite, you will pick out a comfortable place to sit (somewhere close to the bowls of peanuts and pretzels) and join in with the conversations swirling around you.  Sea stories, life experiences, children’s antics, grandchildren’s magnificent accomplishments and good (mostly clean) jokes will welcome you to the camaraderie of Shields. This is the true heart of the week, and it is the part that we remember the most. 

I hope you will also find Sam’s Town itself to be happily remembered. Sam’s Town is unusual in Las Vegas in that it is reasonably easy to get around in, and convenient. There are no half mile hikes to the restaurants, shops or rooms because it is a rectangular building with a huge atrium in the middle that all of the businesses line up around, and the open space soars up to the skylights 9 floors above. The waterfall sounds and bird calls (ok, the bird part is recorded) make sitting on one of the benches along the paths extremely pleasant. I always hope for a little time to myself there (book and Starbucks coffee in hand).

Monday afternoon one of the great experiences is offered in the bowling alley. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t miss seeing all that talent and colorful language for the world. I don’t think it is the promise of prizes that encourages so many to sign up, but just the chance to test themselves and play with friends. For most, it is a once a year gig, but you will see some real bowlers out there too. Gratefully, they are all kind of heart. 

Monday night the giant televisions in the hospitality suite are turned on to football, and pizzas are brought in from the local Pizza Hut. The conversations have a tendency to drown out the play by play, but still you can hear cheers and moans (and groans) about the games.

Tuesday is travel day. We are really excited about this year’s trip. In the morning we will take our air conditioned bus to Lake Mead where we will climb aboard a paddle wheeler for a cruise around the lake.  

Bob and Connie Carl have done this several times and their high recommendations prompted us to include it for you. While on the boat you will have lunch from the boat’s “grill”. Sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, etc. are offered and you will choose your own with the bill being paid by the Reunion as part of the trip fee. At 1:00 we will disembark and get back on board the bus for our next stop, the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden.

The factory was founded in 1981. They produce gourmet chocolates and offer a tour where we will learn a bit about how chocolate is sourced, refined and produced, as well as enjoying the subtleties of chocolate tasting and flavor identification. Besides experiencing this behind-the-scenes tour, we will also be able to walk in the beautiful Botanical Cactus Garden. At 3 acres it is the largest in Nevada and one of the world’s largest collections of its kind. 

Wednesday night we will wind up the Reunion with a sit down banquet right there at Sam’s Town. We did this last year, and it was impressive. The dinner choices are prime rib or chicken, and it includes all the extras and dessert.