First Night in the Biggest Little City

Through the middle of Reno, I drove. There were few people on the sidewalks, but soon that would change as it was five or six days ahead of New Year’s Eve.

From the neon of downtown to the outskirts of town, I drove in circles, chasing my tracks and feeling lost. My spirits lifted as I nearly raced over something in the street, a green and white sign that had most recently marked a street corner but now lay broken and discarded.

I stopped and brought it into my car with me: “Humboldt and W. Pueblo,” it read.

“A sign from God, perhaps,” I recall thinking, then chuckling at my wordplay.

Lost, I had no idea where I was in Reno or if I were even still in Reno. But I knew about Humboldt, a place I had left only a few months before, and I took it as evidence that if I should not find my way here, I could always return to the county from where I came and live out the remainders of my days on that coast.

Returning to the main drag, I had to find a place to stop, park, eat, drink, sleep. I drove to the edge of a cemetery and used its parking lot to turn around and head back.

I turned left only to be greeted by a flashing red light in my rearview mirror.

“Did you see the ‘no left turn’ sign?”

“No, sir.”

“Okay, I’m going to let you off with a warning. Please pay more attention.”

“Yes, sir.”

Fifteen minutes later, I returned and again turned and again met the nice cop. No warning. Instead, a 90-dollar ticket and confiscation of my newly found road sign.

I also had to explain where I found the sign.

“Where?”

“On Humboldt, I think.”

“Goodbye, Humboldt,” I whined as I headed to the MGM Grand, possibly the largest building in sight and had somehow missed.

The Check Must Still be in the Mail

We flew from Wyoming, through Colorado, to Arizona. After a short layover, we boarded the C-130 and returned to the air, crossing over Nevada, a portion of California, through Oregon, and finally into Wahington. It had been a long day.

My friend, Deanna Hurless, stationed at the same Wyoming base, and her family dropped me at the bus terminal. They were heading home, and I was on my way down the coast home.

It had been a bad year. Since the end of February, I’d been in trouble after turning my office into the inspector general.

The only good thing was the five-thousand-word story I’d written for Strategic Air Command following a flight in the SR-71. At six cents a word, I could see potential in becoming a writer.

As I settled in for the wait before my bus, I leaned back, and with my B-4 bag as a footstool, I fell fast asleep. A couple of hours later, I awoke, having to use the restroom.

Shortly after we pulled out of the terminal, I realized my valise, the one issued to me in basic training, was missing. I was sick to my stomach because it held two stories I was writing.

Even though my name was on the valise and I called the terminal several times, no one ever found it. And to this day, I cannot remember what those two stories were about or if they had potential.

By late June, I was out of the service, so I never learned what became of the SR-71 story, though I heard rumors Reader’s Digest published it in an issue I have yet to find. Plus, I never got paid.

The Annual Mouse Hunt

With the winter season comes mice, and with mice, mouse hunting, as I like to call it. It is not a sport, but rather a necessity, because if not done, we’d find ourselves overrun with them.

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, I learned all I ever wanted about ‘vector control,’ which was as little as possible.

The best-made mouse trap is the original design still manufactured by Victor, simple, elegant, and effective. I will not use the sticky bait traps because it is cruel to starve anything, nor do I like the idea of causing a rodent to bleed out its butt because of poison, and live trapping allows the mouse to find another home to infest.

Each class member received a white lab mouse, a ziplock baggy, and a single cotton ball one afternoon. Instructors told us to place the mouse in the bag, hold out our cotton, to which they applied a dose of Chloroform and dropped it in the bag with the mouse.

Seconds later, the mouse was dead, and our assignment could begin. That was to comb or groom the mouse searching for fleas, lice, or other bugs hidden in the animal’s fur coat.

Problem is these were clean lab mice, not wild, and therefore no one found a thing. Such is the training up of an Environmental Health Specialist.

Later, when it came to practical application and an inability to procure Chloroform, I devised a way of collecting the needed data. I laid Victor bait traps and waited the few minutes for them to be sprung.

From there, I dropped the dead mouse and trap into a single ziplock baggy and waited for the ‘bugs’ to leave the chilling body. Then, without opening the bag, I slipped it under a microscope or a magnifying glass if still in the field and completed my count.

Since the first of the year, I’ve slain five meeses, and the patrols continue.

Icicle

We were not going to write for ourselves today, but stick only to our employer’s need, but then we heard our wife talking to her sister.

Two nights ago, about dinner time, a knock came on our front door. Nearly dark, I looked through the peephole and saw the top of our neighbor boy’s, Chase, head.

Always polite, Chase asked if he could have the three-foot-long icicle dangling from the corner of our roof edge.

“Sure,” I said, “As long as you don’t stab yourself, your brother, or someone else with it.”

Chase chuckled, “I won’t,” as I broke it off and handed it to him.

“Thank you,” he said.

Before he could leave the front porch, I asked, “So, whatcha gonna do with it.”

“Eat it,” he smiled.

War is NOT Hell

Ulysses S. Grant is the first former U.S. President to visit the Comstock in Nevada after being stationed at Fort Humboldt in Eureka, Calif., before the American Civil War. Mark Twain also published Grant’s autobiography before the retired General died of esophageal cancer.

He is also quoted, after inspecting Gettysburg, as saying, “War is Hell.” If he were alive, I would respectfully disagree with his battlefield assessment.

War is not Hell. War is war. Hell is Hell because it sanctions the sinner, who it is said, deserves it, while war punishes only the innocent.

Get Some

Thank you to author, historian, and friend Janice Oberding for reminding me of this small memory involving one of my favorite wester-fiction writers.

We’d been out two and half days, trailing a smaller target and without interdicting them once. It was midday, and Skipper decided we’d set up a bivouac near a small brightly painted group of cinderblock huts.

It was the first time tasked with establishing a parameter. With the knowledge of some others, we got the job done, and I returned to the area with the idea of setting up a small clinic to treat villagers.

En route, I saw a two and half-year-old boy playing outside a home painted pink with lime green trim. He was finding delight in a pile of loose dirt he’d gathered and taking handfuls and sifting it through his fingers.

His laughter was contagious, and a few of us gathered around to enjoy it. Why I decided to get down on my knees, I’ve no idea, but I did, adding more loose dirt to his pile.

Quickly, Maxie joined me in front and on my left, then Purcell to my right and in front. The four of us were playing in that pile of dirt, children for the moment like the child we’d joined.

Ahead of me, against the wall of the hut, stood Blackwell. He was enjoying a cancer-stick and guffawing at our antics.

It was a ripple followed by a smashing blow to the top of my head as a rocket blew the hut apart.

Out cold, I have no memory until I awoke on a litter, prepped for Dust-off. I jumped up, removing the spike from my arm, and called for my piss-bucket.

Across the way, spread out on a woobie, a poncho liner, was our ammo dump. Unlike TV and movies, those in the field will pile all extra ammo, grenades, etc., together and then divvy it out depending on the assignment.

Loading a magazine, a nearby Lance Corporal asked, “Whatcha doing, Sarge?”

“Going hunting.”

“No need. We got the bastards, 11 K-I-A, one wounded and who might not make it, and two captures and already on their way to S-2.”

“What of the others?”

“Maxie has a broken left shoulder, Purcell’s ankles are busted, and Blackwell’s K-I-A.”

There was a hesitation in the young man’s voice, so I asked, “And?”

“The little boy, his sister, and mom are also K-I-A.”

“Thank you, Rich, good report.”

Turning, I came face to face with the Skipper.

“Sergeant,” he said.

“Skipper.”

“Standdown, every things been handled.”

“But this is all my fault, sir, and need to get me some.”

“They were already inside the wire, Tom, nothing you or any man-jack here could have done about it. So get something to eat and relax.”

“Aye-aye, Skipper.”

A small mess line, meaning select a C-ration and ‘cop a drop,’ was already established. Not feeling hungry, I found a small berm to lean against, and I pulled from my trouser’s side pocket a book I’d already read a couple of times, Louis L’Amour’s “Comstock Lode,” a book about Virginia City, Nev.

That Certain Coworker

There is little to be proud of in this narrative, and as my classmate and long-time friend, Laureen Kinnaman Roberts, said, “Sometimes you have to let God fix it because if you try, you are going to jail.”

The deputy lit me up as I turned left from the radio station’s parking lot and onto Highway 101. I pulled over immediately and gathered my license, registration, and insurance slip.

The deputy returned and asked me to exit my VW Bug. I got out, pocketed my keys, and moved between his cruiser and my car.

“I’d like your permission to search your vehicle?” he asked.

“Sure, but only if you have a warrant,” I said.

He took me by the left arm while reaching for his cuffs and tried turning me around. I swatted his hand away.

His response was to end my resistance, there and then with a quick but not very forceful punch to my throat. Before I could gag or cough trying to take a breath, or before my eyes filled with tears, I threw a punch that landed on the deputy’s chin.

He fell on his back and immediately began posturing. I went to the cruiser’s radio and called, “10-33, 10-33, officer down,” and the closest cross streets.

Across the highway, at the station, owned by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, were some of the most dedicated rock groupies ever, Deadheads. Where they set up, they create a community, including first aiders.

These first aiders came over and began doing what they do. As this happened, law enforcement and ambulances arrived from all directions.

By this time, and knowing I had screwed the pooch, I had my hands on the hood of the cruiser, prepared for what was to come next. Handcuffed and seated in a CHP unit, deputies and police officers were still taking statements from witnesses when they whisked me away.

At the Humboldt County Jail in Eureka, Calif., they booked me for assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest, and a whole host of other charges. But before taking me upstairs, I was relegated to the ‘chairs,’ where I called my job to tell them I was going to miss my upcoming shift and then a friend who worked in an attorney’s office.

She put me in touch with her boss, who took what information he needed from me then warned, “Do not talk to anyone about this case, not even your cellmates. I will see you tomorrow morning.”

Brief and efficient.

After the evening meal, I collapsed into my bunk and stayed to myself. I did the same thing after breakfast until told I had a visitor.

My lawyer, a small, stooped older man, told me that he had worked it all out and that the charges would ‘go away.’ Then he added, “Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the judge until Monday morning.”

It was a long weekend.

Come Monday, they called me from the cell, gave me the bag holding my civilian clothes, allowed me a private shower and to get dressed. Then I was then handcuffed and escorted downstairs to meet my lawyer and the judge.

The judge made short work of the case, dismissing all charges with prejudice, meaning they could never be revisited or refiled.

Once on my way, I went to get my VW from the impound lot. That cost me $300 that I didn’t have, so I floated the man behind the counter a check.

Shown to my car, I learned they searched it anyway, finding nothing. Al the seats, door panels, the radio, and speakers had been removed and packed inside the vehicle.

It was a struggle to get the front seat on the track. Finally, I got a bolt in, but it still wouldn’t fit correctly, so I had to drive with it twisted and higher on the left.

Worried about my job, I hurried back to Garberville. There I found I needn’t have been concerned.

“Grab a cup of joe, I have something for you,” the man, who relieved me on Thursday, said.

Returning, he handed me a swollen envelope.

“The Deadheader’s took up a collection for you,’ he said. “Seven-hundred and twelve bucks.”

“Wow,” I said, taking the envelope. “I only need $300 for that check I wrote.”

“You’ll take it and that’s that,” he said.

Looking at the clock, it was a couple of minutes afternoon.

“Let me take over for you since you’ve covered my ass much of this weekend,” I said. “Take a whole 24-hours.”

“Sure kid,” he said. “Want me to drop some of that cash into your account before I do and bring you some food.”

“Please,” I said as I filled out a deposit slip.

Less than an hour later, he came be-bopping in, a Cheshire-kind-of-grin on his face and a bucket of chicken in hand, dropping my car keys on the counter.

“We got your Bug back together,” he said. “You put the wrong seat on the driver’s side.”

After he left and before it grew dark that November day, I went out to my Beetle and saw that the door panels were in place better than before and that my front seat moved back and forth with great ease and that I could even lay my back seat down. That was something I didn’t even know could be done.

Now jump ahead 36 years, and I’m sitting in the Cigar Bar in Virginia City talking with my friend’s Comstock Chronicle columnist Melody Hoover and her husband, Jim. I’m telling them about my strangest radio job in California before moving to Northern Nevada.

“What was your coworkers name?” Jim asked.

“Oliver,” I said, “But no one called him that. He was known as Ollie.”

The three of us looked at one another, knowing anyone with a long-handled feather duster could have knocked us over, as we realized I was talking about Jim’s older brother.

Five Bell Alert

2:32 a.m., pst., Five bell alert: Russia invades Ukraine.

My heart falls in sickness
My soul screams with agony
My spirit prays most earnestly:
“God, bless our children, our blood-treasure,
Those with boots on the ground
Standing where they need not be.”

Leyline

“You don’t choose Virginia City, the city chooses you,” goes the old saw. It’s true.

With a layer of crystalline snow on the ground and two small quakes, leylines are active.

Leylines are positive or negative energy bands circumscribing the Earth, shifting between the two energies. Where these lines intersect, an energy vortex appears.

When a positive and negative line cross, the energy is natural. If negative cross negative or positive cross positive, strange things happen.

Leylines have affected me all of my life, though I only learned the term and definition a few years ago. They may also have something to do with my mental health, as when positive, I am in a higher state of mania.

Over the years, I have learned to accept this. If I enter a vortex, I can find myself off-balance, confused, forgetful, and agitated, as my friend and VC resident Bill Finley can attest after one Hot August Night morning. It can also, I have taught myself, be turned off and ignored. Admittedly, this was easier to do when I was younger.

Here’s the rub: a leyline runs from Sutton and C Street, in Virginia City, through my Spanish Springs home, into the Pacific Ocean towards Juneau, AK, but not before passing within a few feet from the backdoor of my childhood home in Klamath, Calif. Incidently, this same leyline is intersected inside my Spanish Spring home with another leyline, running from Pyramid Lake to Lake Tahoe.

Sometimes, you don’t find weirdness, the weirdness finds you.

Long Way Around

Spooner Summit was slicker than I would have enjoyed, but we made it into the valley. From there, we caught U.S. 395 to U.S. 50, through Carson City, Mound House, Dayton, Stagecoach to the Infinity Highway, leading to I-80, and Spanish Springs.

Am I writing a travelogue, or what?

Between Dayton and Stagecoach, there were a couple of different bands of wild horses, a dangerous place for wild horses. They got me thinking of how I was ten or 11 when the Wild Horse and Burro Act came into existence.

That thought tumbled quickly into wondering if the act’s done any good.

In 1971, when the act became codified, the federal government said there were more than 53.4 million acres of acres for wild horses and burros on BLM U.S. Forest Service lands. Now there are only 27 million acres.

Worse yet, by 1976, only about 60,000 wild horses remained. The 2004 Burns Amendment to the act allows wild horses to be shipped from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico for use as a food source.

By the way, the Burns Amendment was never introduced to Congress, never discussed or voted on.

The original 50-year-old act has made things worse, and the best possible solution is for it to go away. In the meantime, my heart still thrills at the sight of a wild horse band creating a traffic jam as they cross a roadway.

Here’s Hoping for Hank

Outside my usual beat, I couldn’t sit home ignoring the cold air, which I find relieves my dry hacking. To that end, I harnessed Buddy, and we headed for Tahoe.

I drove right into a regular old dragnet as authorities hunt a large and rather hungry burglar.

He’s a 500-pound black bear, nicknamed ‘Hank the Tank,’ and he has raided 28 homes, the most recent on Fri., Feb. 18, in the South Lake Tahoe area since July.

Sadly, breaking into homes to grab a leftover or two could also be Hank’s undoing. Wildlife authorities have said the bear’s dependence on human food means they have no choice but euthanize him.

Speaking to one woman, she expressed concerns about euthanizing the bear: “He just sits there and eats.”

I don’t know Hank, but if he were human, he’s a fellow I could find myself being buddy-buddy’s with, especially at the local Smörgåsbord, though I might not want to reach in front of him.

Amuletum

Having purchased my Girl Scout Cookies from Monique Vasko, I allowed Buddy to guide us south on C Street towards the truck, where I felt like I was slipping through a busy dream state because of my medication.

From out of the Silver Queen stepped James Cleek and his lovely sister, dressed to the nines, ready for an 1870s early afternoon stroll. There, the three of us spoke for a few minutes before we excused ourselves.

“Hi, Mike!” I heard Jim say as a man, obviously of an Indigenous race, stepped up on the boardwalk to shake hands.

Intrigued by this man’s look, long, center-parted white hair, Elvis era glasses, tanned skin, and chiseled chin, I knew he was a warrior, shaman, or elder. I also knew I had to hear what he had to say.

So as Jim and his sister moved away, I introduced myself, saying, “So, you’re the Mike everyone speaks about.”

“No that one is in prison,” he said.

“I know,” I said, “But you’re the Mike they say that has a sense of humor and an opinion and that you can use both separately or together and with power.”

“That might be so,” Mike said. “I do remember when you said what needed to be said without worrying about whose feelings were gonna get hurt.”

“I remember that time, too,” I said.

“Perhaps we can sit down and talk of the old days,” he said.

“I’d enjoy that,” I said. “Anything else needing saying before we scoot?”

“Not really,” he said. “I do have an old piece of chewing gum, this chipped marble I found crossing the street jus’ now and a length of worn-out shoe leather.”

I accepted the three items before we shook hands and parted ways.

“Shaman,” I said to Buddy as I unlocked the passenger door of my truck, “But, I’m not sure if he knows it yet.”

I don’t remember driving home.

My Long Talk with that Fabled Boatman

A short sketch to catch up after coming down with whatever I have had since Wed., Feb. 2.

My sinuses are plugged to the point my eyes hurt, a dry hack from postnasal drip, and body aches with chills and fever. While all the symptoms pointed to acute sinusitis, others said differently, so COVID it is.

Besides, I felt like I was on my death bed, which gave me a chance to think or think I was thinking in between the weird medicated hallucinations and sickness-induced sleep. It all brought me back to a theory I’ve been working on since last year called Tanis.

In short, Tanis are those waypoints that connect us. For instance, while I grew up on the Lost Coast of California, I have found links between there and then to the here and now in the High Desert of Northern Nevada.

I want to share personal experiences, my strange humor, history, news, thoughts, and ideas before kicking the bucket for real and not in some abstract mismanaged diagnosis.

Cellophane

She untied the lightly knotted plastic bag and removed what it held, a medium container of LoMein, white rice, and several fortune cookies. One of the cellophane wrappers though still sealed and filled with air, was empty.

Daisy studied it, wondering if it might have a deeper meaning. Hunger stirred in her, and she forgot all about the wrapper.

Shortly after sunrise, she got out of bed and set herself to work. She did the washing and mending for the ranch workers of the valley, which gave her enough money to live on and then some.

The sewing table held an old Singer, and she ran torn shirts and ripped jeans under its dancing needle all that morning. It was the rumble of an old Ford that caused her to look up and know it was Lloyd before he even pulled up.

She pulled on an old sleeping gown she maintained in the front room for such an occasion. She heard the truck door bang shut.

“Good morning,” Lloyd said. “Here’s the laundry finally.”

“Morning,” she smiled. “No problem.”

As she took it from him, he asked, “Are you going be a the Hoot, this Friday night? They will have a live band.”

“Sure, if you’re gonna ask me for at least one dance,” she said.

“You betch’ya,” Lloyd said as he stepped back off the porch and got into his truck.

Soon she was alone again. The sound of birds singing, returning after the vehicle had left, filled the air.

She started to separate the clothing, darks, colors, and whites. As she did this, she also went through the pockets, removing items and placing them in a small basket on the table.

One item was a small handbill advertising a new Chinese restaurant named Ling Mai’s. “A full dinner for under fifteen dollars,” read the piece of paper.

She next took a load out onto the back porch where her washing machine and dryer were and began washing it. By the time midmorning came, she had everything out on the line drying.

With the exceptional heat, the clothes quickly dried. Daisy folded them and put the entire bunch back into the oversized gym bag from which they’d come.

Instead of returning to the mending, she picked up a 1969 Reader’s Digest Condensed Book and turned to the page she’d last been reading. She spent the rest of the day nose in the book.

Once night fell, she turned on her sewing lamp, which doubled as a reading lamp, and got up to fix herself something to eat. With dinner in one hand and a large glass of red wine in the other, she went outside to sit in her favorite chair on the front porch.

She sat in the half-light cast by the solitary lamp and watched as dry lightning shot its zig-zag fieries across the dark and distant skies. Before long, she’d drawn sleep and decided she should turn in for the night.

With daylight came more laundry and mending. Daisy worked at this until about noontime when she concluded she owed herself a short bike ride to the roadside market.

The gravel road was rough and bumpy, having been graded recently by the county, so she pedaled the heavy framed Schwinn as close to the large ditch that ran beside the road. The canal would soon be full of water come the first good storm.

She visited the store, purchasing what she could carry in her bike’s handlebar basket. Leaving, she saw Ling Mai’s across the highway and proceeded towards the restaurant.

“Will that be all?” the woman behind the window asked.

“Yes.”

“Fourteen, nintey-seven.”

She laid fifteen dollars in the window and was handed three pennies in return. She dropped the coins in the small try beside the register.

With the bag tied and carefully placed in the basket, she crossed the highway and started for home. Above and ahead, a large crow was suffering harassment by three smaller songbirds.

Her attention broke from this as she heard the Thatcher boy’s Cummins diesel truck. She did her best to prepare for what was about to happen.

The truck blew by her. The gust shook her and her bicycle, causing them to weave off the road and into the ditch.

She watched as the truck disappeared, bouncing over the road and out of sight. She could still hear the sound of the ‘Dixie’ music horn as she made her way back up onto the road and continued pedaling home.

By the middle of the afternoon and her dinner finished, she laid out on the couch and allowed herself to nap. She spent the rest of the evening and into the early morning hours sewing and mending clothes for her customers.

Again, the dry lightning announced itself in the distance with its brilliant and powerful display as she worked. As the sun came up, she fixed herself a couple of scrambled eggs and a small cup of coffee, then went to bed.

It was very late afternoon when she stirred. She laid in bed listening and thinking about that night and how she’d was supposed to go to the Hoot and meet Lloyd.

As darkness closed in, she got up and dressed in a yellow-floral print skirt she had made but had never worn. She added an oversize white button-down shirt that she knotted at her midriff.

Off the back porch, she stepped, heading across the open pasture and over two dells to Hoots. She could hear the band as she approached from the side of the roadside bar.

She had to shout her order twice to get a beer. She looked around for Lloyd, finding him crowded around by his friends and some women.

She sat at the end of the bar, waiting for him to acknowledge her, but he never even looked her way. Finally, with only half her beer drank, she slipped outside and started for home.

The night felt close and oppressive like a storm was about to bust loose. Then it came, that slightly chilled breathe that the air gives when signaling the moisture to leave its hiding place among the clouds.

The rain dropped in sheets, heavy and hard. Daisy slowed her pace, peeling off her shirt and then the shirt, leaving them where they fell.

With nothing left to get soaked, she raised her arms and spun in circles and danced like she hadn’t in years. She lifted her face to the downpour and shouted with joy until she could no longer make a sound but could only laugh.

The beer had left a sour taste in her mouth, and without bothering to towel off, she made a straight line for the cabinet that held a bottle of tequila. She didn’t need a glass or cup but would drink it directly from the bottle.

She listened as the rain battered the corrugated metal roof above her front porch. Accompanied by her bottle, she stepped into the shower and began to dance once more.

Soon the tequila and the rain were finished, and intoxicated, Daisy stumbled up the stairs, crawled in her bed, and fell fast asleep. Early morning came too soon and bid her arise, a command she hesitated to follow.

Instead, she lay between the sheets listened to her respirations, the gentle rhythm, the rising and falling of her chest. Light danced across her face, in dapplings issued from between the flittering leaves of the tree outside her window.

She felt content in the glory of such a morning but could not express why or how

An hour later, her bed sheet wrapped around her, she made her way downstairs. As she put on the water for a cup of coffee, she saw the still sealed, empty cellophane wrapper to the missing fortune cookie.

Daisy laughed at her thought, “Ha! I am the fortune cookie!”

The Fuller Brush Man

1965 and the stay-at-home mom and housewife were common, so too was a door-to-door salesman. Grolier, Watkins, Avon, Kirby, and Collier.

My favorite was the Fuller Brush Man.

The memories are little gems of a young life mixed with Kodacolored head pictures and internal feelings of wonderment. His name was either Mike or Mark, about thirtyish, balding with wire-rimmed glasses, and always wearing a short-sleeved, white button-down shirt and skinny brown knit tie.

Being so young, I never knew if he had an appointed schedule, going from area to area at certain times, or if he showed up out of the blue, unannounced. My adult self thinks he preplanned his visits as he always came when mom had freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies.

I would not have cared anyway, because he always had fascinating gadgets in the big suitcase he hauled around.

Best of all, he would let me select one and give it as a gift to Mom. And that is where all of this is leading, my mother, Mrs. Arnold, and a childhood remembrance recently shared by Jeanie French, Mrs. Arnold’s daughter.

Had Jeanie never brought up how the same door-to-door salesman used to sit at her mother’s dining table and enjoy iced tea, I would have never mentioned how he’d sit at our dinner table and enjoy my mother’s cookies. In the end, I don’t know if he ever sold anything to our mothers.

What I do recall is the sweet, simple memory of our mother’s visiting porch-to-porch, laughing and clucking of how polite the Fuller Brush man was and how, if they had all the money in the world, they’d buy everything in his sample bag and help him through college.

We moved in the Fall of 1967, and with the enchantment broken, I never saw a Fuller Brush Man making the rounds after that.

COVID Toe

My friend came over limping, favoring his right foot.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he answered, “It’s COVID toe.”

“What’s it look like?”

He removed his shoe and sock. His big toe was swollen and out of shape.

“That looks like an ingrown toenail, to me.”

“He gave me a cream that is supposed to fix it.”

“If it doesn’t work, I can remove that piece of nail.”

He declined my offer.

Two days later, he knocked at the door.

“Are you still willing to help me?”

“Yup.”

With my small kit, I proceeded to lift the corner of the offending nail and clip it away. After the three-minute procedure, I cleaned the toe with hydrogen peroxide, then applied an antibacterial goop and a band-aid.

This morning he texted me to let me know his toe was better.

At-Home COVID Tests Arrive in Nevada, Remain Questionable

The first deliveries of the Flowflex COVID-19 antigen at-home tests ordered by Gov. Steve Sisolak arrived in Nevada on Thu., Feb 3. He utilized federal funding to order almost 600,000 at-home tests to support the demand for testing.

The test is the subject of a product recall over concerns the antigen test has not received proper U.S. authorization. The tests, also marketed under ACON, are produced by a biotech company in Hangzhou, China.

This is the second time, Nevadan’s have been put in harms way. In early 2020, federal officials warned Nevada not to use Chinese-made coronavirus test kits donated by the United Arab Emirates.

What became of those tests has yet to be explained by the Sisolak Administration.