Posts Tagged ‘nevada’

My cousin scanned some old photos that he shared with me today, and all I can think to say is “Thank You!”

1961. We still lived in Jarbidge during the summer months, either at Pole Creek Ranger Station or up the hill at Mahoney¬†(muh- HOE-nee) Ranger Station. Dad wasn’t a District Ranger for the US Forest Service, but he ran both Ranger Stations and worked in the Elko District office during the winter months. Most trail work was still done on horseback, and we kept a small remuda that the government shifted between ranger stations in the steep Jarbidge country. Mom still cranked the telephone to get the operator who listened in on everyone’s conversations (my brother has the crank telephones).

Uncle Mike, whose real name isn’t anything close to Mike or Michael, came that summer to see his older half-brother. One day, I hope to get the scoop on why we call him “Uncle Mike” and noone else calls him Mike (feel free to comment away, Fred Wilcox!). He and his sweet wife, Ellie, had three boys close in age to my siblings and I: Steve, Clifford, Chuck. I don’t remember this visit, except for a vague sense of how kind Aunt Ellie was.

I’m relying on Chuck’s notes to me, so I hope I get the other Wilcox family right:

Mom in the pink capris, holding Mary Denise in the red top. Aunt Ellie holding Chuck. I’m in the white-and-pink top. Clifford in the blue plaid shirt, Steve in the blue shirt, and my brother in the mostly white print shirt. Dad in the rolled up sleeves and Uncle Mike to his left. The World’s Most Awesome Childhood Dog Ever, Butchy, is the photo-bomber.

Butch protected us from all snakes, retrieved the same rock from the murky depths of the Humboldt River or the leech-infested waters of the pristine Jarbidge River, escaped every enclosure (including 8’tall chain link fencing), and eventually died of a high-iron diet the year I was ten. I cried so hard on his passing that I got tonsillitis (again) and ended up in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. I was 10 when he died.

We kids were actually regulars at the Jarbidge Club, which was more of a bar than a store, as I recall it (I was quite young). I got my first “Roy Rogers” (Seven-up and Grenadine, with a Maraschino cherry) at the Jarbidge Club. I love these pics: Terry looks grumpy and Denny (as we called her then) seems to be in love with Clifford. I mean, what is with that gunslinger stance, Bro? And Denny’s chubby little legs! When was SHE ever chubby? Lord, she’s so cute!

It’s hard to think about how much has changed in the decades since this summer. Aunt Ellie passed away after successfully defeating breast cancer once – and that was in the 1960s! Mom is gone, then Deni, and now Dad. We kids have all gone down some very different paths, and it is only in the years since my dad passed that I have come to know my cousin Chuck and his wife, Kathy.

Terry is still a gunslinger at heart.


And this. Dad, sitting upright in the saddle, an old cowboy (young in this picture) on his trail horse. I still possess the bridle.

That horse was the first horse I remember. The first horse I fell in love with. They pastured him separately from the others up at Mahoney. I was probably three years old, making mud pies in the wide driveway. He was trotting around, all Trigger-Roy-Rogers beautiful. Then he did the most amazing thing: he reared and pawed at the sky. I stood in awe. The picture is burned into my brain, whether it really happened or not.

Later, up at Pole Creek, he got a scrape on his throat that the flies had a hey-day with. Dad had to leave him in the care of Mom, who hated horses. She had to put ointment on his throatlatch every day to keep the flies off and help him heal. He wasn’t the friendliest horse (not sure any half-broke USFS horse could be called “friendly”), but he’d come to the fence to meet her and get his salve applied.

I don’t know what happened to him. I do know my dad was an excellent judge of horses, and he liked the half-broke ones best (in his younger days).

Thank you, Chuck, for the trip down memory lane – even if I can only recall it because of the photos.

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I found Nevada to be a comforting place last week. So many of my trips south have been for funerals or to close up the Estate, and my apprehension over this trip was deeply rooted in that experience. I sat in my window seat on the HorizonAir (Alaska), trying to concentrate on the book I am reading. I finally gave up and just stared out the window at the clouds and the glimpses of earth below as we followed the line of Cascade Mountains south. Finally, Pyramid Lake loomed into view, and I caught a good view of the island. We prepared for landing and my heart began to race.

Nevada will always be home. Other people travel there to gamble and wonder at me when I tell them that I have never even pulled the arm of a slot machine. I’ve put $5 into video poker, but that’s as much as I can allow myself to gamble: gambling is for tourists. Natives walk past all the glitz and glamour and don’t bat an eye.

My cousin and her husband met us (my brother and I) at a casino for dinner the first night. We left together, passing the women reliving Farrah Fawcett’s heyday and the cocktail waitresses in their skimpy uniforms, and my cousin asked, “Do you miss it?”

“Miss what?” I replied. “The ’80’s hair-dos, the carpets that make you want to puke, or the girls who have to shave in order to work? And I don’t mean their arm-pits..” We laughed, because – no, I do not miss that.

I miss the vast expanse of sage brush, blue mountains, snow-caps, unpredictable weather, ice cream cones in Austin, major deer in Eureka, and alkali flats. I miss The Loneliest Highway (U.S. 50), the shoe tree, and the brown hills that outsiders call “mountains” but we call “hills”.

I returned with my take of the family heirlooms and furniture.

001The Fairy Soap box (bottom), and the Star Thread box (top) are the only furniture I claimed. I claimed the three chime clocks, one of which is the Lion clock.

003 (2)The Fairy box is full of 1960’s Country/Western cassettes that need to be converted to CD. The thread box is full of Lions’ Club pins and honors.

017Five drawers of this. And I have a box-plus of more Lions’ Club pins. I do not really want the pins, except those that have my father’s name engraved on them. I know he was proud of his service in the Lions’ Club, but they mean very little to me. I will probably post them on eBay eventually.

002This, however, means the world to me. It is “the Lion Clock”. The lion atop it is an award given to my father from the Lions’ Club in 1975 and has little to do with the clock, itself. There are two bronze lion heads on either side of the clock and from those lions it has derived it’s name. It needs some work.

I happen to have a dear friend who works in clocks and I will soon be approaching him about the repair needed to the three chime clocks I dragged home. I haven’t even unpacked one of them. And of them, the Lion clock is the dearest to my heart.

On a side note, the first night my husband spent in my parents’ house, he was awakened every hour, on the hour, by the various chimes. I slept through them all, having grown acclimatized to their chimes at an early age. I long to hear that chorus again.

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