Grasshopper Soup: winter, summer gun and games |

Grasshopper Soup: winter, summer gun and games

Rumor has it that Squaw Valley is thinking about opening a run or two for skiing on the Fourth of July weekend. Itand#8217;s just a rumor, but so is the end of civilization as we know it. Civilization as we know it may be just a rumor too, so donand#8217;t dust off your skis just yet.

I had relatives in town last week and we came up with a big plan to drive up to Barker Pass for a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, but the gate at the bottom of the road was closed. That could only mean one thing and#8212; someone is finally trying to secure the border.

We turned around and parked and hiked west from the floor of Blackwood Canyon and hit deep banks of snow on the trail almost immediately. Almost every step was on snow. I havenand#8217;t seen that much snow down that low this late in the year since I canand#8217;t remember when. With so much snow at that elevation there has to be plenty for skiing above 8,200 feet. There should be plenty of snow up there for some fun, wet, patriotic turns. Maybe theyand#8217;ll even let us ski illegally on the Fourth of July.

One of my relatives is a lawyer, which means he is so smart he can argue any point of view. The other is a doctor, and itand#8217;s a good thing he has an office within walking distance of the hospital in Napa because he doesnand#8217;t even have enough health insurance.

Itand#8217;s always great having rich relatives in town. I eat so much better. They rented the house on the corner of Cherry Street and West Shore Boulevard, the one with the big tree that has been carved into a giant American Indian. Instead of facing Lake Tahoe, he faces the house, and the noble man does not look happy at all. There is clearly no smile on his wrinkled face. We all had to stop looking at him because he was making us feel guilty, until about the third bottle of wine. But, no matter what we did, nothing could cheer that poor old wooden Indian up, not even canoeing on Lake Tahoe.

A local told me it was meant to be Sacagawea, the Indian girl who helped show Lewis and Clark through the wilderness. But if thatand#8217;s a woman, the Mona Lisa is Dracula. Itand#8217;s a masterful wood carving, but to me it looks like Don Rickles with constipation.

Whoever he is supposed to be, he is holding a sphere in his hand that maybe the artist put there to symbolize the earth, although it could very well be a nice big wad of buffalo dung for the campfire, itand#8217;s hard to tell. I guess it all depends on whether or not he is supposed to be a practical Indian or a poetic Indian.

My relatives showed me a great new game called Apples to Apples. It has probably been around for a long time, but it was new to me, because I donand#8217;t have kids. Itand#8217;s a card game in which the players are dealt cards with nouns and pronouns printed on them. You try to match your nouns to a different adjective that the and#8220;judgeand#8221; picks for each turn. The players take turns being the judge of whose match makes more sense, or not, depending on the mood of the judge. There is plenty of opportunity for interesting and often hilarious word associations, like American and The Grateful Dead or Arrogant and General George Armstrong Custer. I canand#8217;t even remember the funniest ones. I have never laughed so hard playing a card game in my entire life.

Whoever makes the most successful matches wins the game. Six of us played well into the night, and we were having so much fun we tried to stop several times but just couldnand#8217;t. I highly recommend Apples to Apples.

My relatives have all dispersed back to Napa and Pacific Grove. They can no longer be a bad influence on me. Iand#8217;ll have to look for trouble elsewhere. So Summer begins.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.

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