Grasshopper Soup: Just another week in Tahoe
Special to the Sun
As I walked beneath the pines and a blue Tahoe sky, a silent shape came streaking swiftly up the Truckee River. A flash of light and a sweep of wind turned my head to the sound of a wing beat less than 50 feet away. I watched as a bald eagle landed in a tree on the River Grill patio in Tahoe City. It was Earth Day week. The bird was formally dressed and appeared to have a dinner reservation, but the deck was not open for the season. Upon his grand entrance the bird did receive an unexpected style of service from the bald bartender, who came outside with a big smile on his face and started throwing sticks and pine cones at the beautiful bird. The eagle didnand#8217;t appreciate this antagonistic reception very much, nor did the several people who had gathered at a respectful distance to enjoy the rare sight. Some of them had never seen a bald eagle before that evening. But the moment didnand#8217;t last very long because the bartender succeeded in scaring the eagle away before it ever had a chance to see the menu. It was well worth being able to watch the huge bird spread its wings and fly away, but I think everyone was secretly hoping the bird would have taken some revenge by flying directly over the bartender and dropping a hefty tip on his shiny bald head. Unfortunately, that didnand#8217;t happen.
If you are a local business owner, especially in the restaurant business, beware of the latest e-mail scam uncovered by Nanci Davis, owner of the Sawtooth Ridge Cafe in Tahoe City. Do not respond to any e-mails from firstname.lastname@example.org. and#8220;Mike,and#8221; as he calls himself, is not to be trusted. He claims to be blind, and to have his own connections locally in the food transportation business. I am sure he can see just fine and is well aware of the true nature of his handicap and#8212; fraud, deception and thievery. Maybe he works for the SEC or Goldman Sachs.
Nancy grew suspicious of this scoundrel, whose manner of speaking English was a cross between Oliver Twist, King George III and a Martian. She shrewdly played along with the shady character to get more information so she could file a formal complaint with the proper authorities. The con man probably realized that everybody was on to him, especially after I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine, just for fun. I sent him an e-mail and told him that, coincidentally, I met some friends of his who were in town for the wedding. I told him we had a wonderful visit and they were the nicest people but, unfortunately, they had been robbed and their car was stolen. I said they needed help for hotel and transportation costs to get back home, so if he could send $1000 to my post office box I would be more than happy to see to it that his friends received the money.
I figure, if everybody in the Tahoe basin sent and#8220;Mikeand#8221; a similar e-mail, maybe we could overwhelm him with guilt, make him see the light, change his wicked ways and go back to making an honest living herding goats.
I also spent the night in South Tahoe last week and had a great dinner, a few beers and a couple of bottles of wine with relatives. I drove home the next morning and had highway 89 all to myself. What a treat it is to drive the entire West Shore and be the only car on the road. A heavy, wet snow had recently fallen, and temperatures were warming up, so I said a few prayers as I drove around Emerald Bay, glancing up occasionally to see if the well known avalanche paths above the road were holding firm.
A little groggy from my wild night in South Shore, I walked slowly from my car to my front door with car keys in hand. I started to press the button for unlocking the car door before I realized I wasnand#8217;t getting in my car. I was home, and isnand#8217;t it beautiful?
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.