Grasshopper Soup: Old Man Winter reappears, briefly | SierraSun.com
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Grasshopper Soup: Old Man Winter reappears, briefly

Bob Sweigert
Special to the Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Winter’s Memorial Day weekend encore was almost as good as the main performance of the season. I expected snow. Snow has become a Memorial Day tradition.

Everything happened right on cue. Large groups of people began to appear all over town and then they would suddenly disappear just before the first round of snow started to fall. A few minutes later the skies cleared a little, revealing people everywhere. Where had they gone? How did they know when the snow would lift? A few minutes later they quickly disappeared again as the next little blizzard descended on them, blowing them back where they came from. Then another calm in the storm revealed people again, sitting on park benches, showing their tushes on Fanny Bridge and strolling around Old Town Truckee.

Everyone knew the script by heart. The timing was impeccable. The well rehearsed show could have been called and#8220;Gone With The Wind,and#8221; or and#8220;Avatar.and#8221; The wind and snow had more entrances and exits than all the prairie dog villages across the Great Plains, and every one was made with larger than life dramatic flair.

So far I have not seen any and#8220;I survived Memorial Day weekend in Tahoe and#8212; 2012and#8221; T-shirts for sale. I would buy one if someone were to capitalize on my idea. I’ll take 20 percent.

Speaking of capitalism, did you see the big sign carried by Occupy Wall Street protesters a couple weeks ago that said, and#8220;TOTAL FREEDOMand#8221;? The sign was about five or six feet wide and about fifteen or twenty feet long. The letters were white on a black background. It took about a half dozen people to carry it. It stretched from one side of the street to the other, and the fact it was so well-made was a statement in itself. It was easy to see that those people were extremely serious about the idea of total freedom.

I probably was too when I was 18 or 22. But then I thought, how could anyone so convinced of the necessity of total freedom be protesting against anything? Unless, of course, they only believe in total freedom for themselves. If total freedom doesn’t apply to Wall Street and corporate capitalism, it isn’t total. So, who knows, perhaps the protesters put all the thought they could into the whole idea before they made the sign. Yes, I’m sure that was the case. All the thought they could.

Just in case, let me rephrase my critique of the sign. There is nothing to protest if you believe in total freedom, except chaos and anarchy.

And, speaking of Old Man Winter, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson appeared Sunday night in the Rose Ballroom at the Nugget in Sparks. They didn’t look any worse for the wear years after the total freedom days of their youth. They were both great, but Kristofferson carried the show. The depth and scope of his lyrics were given generously to his audience with the help of a powerful, deep voice. Kristofferson, who admits he is not a singer, sings just fine with the voice he has. Once he gets the song going, few can compete with the raw power in, and keen awareness he has of, his voice. The importance of his words was lost on no one. He makes sure you hear and understand every one of them. Kris was clearly the crowd favorite.

The two legends, true artists in their own right, covered the gamut of human experience with their songs, their sense of humor and their masterful showmanship, but Kristofferson’s star shone brighter. Kris and Merle sang about every emotion, from despair to happiness and love, from self-doubt to candid self realization. They even made me mad when they quit playing after a little less than 90 minutes. It was bed time. Merle and Kris disappeared backstage without an encore. The pros always leave you wanting more.

But Old Man Winter can keep his snowflakes.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.


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