A winter storm moral: Be patient | SierraSun.com

A winter storm moral: Be patient

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Special to the Sierra Sun

This will be our 28th consecutive Christmas in Truckee as full-time residents and our 33rd overall.

One of the most memorable ones for us was in 1979. In October of that year, Alice’s family had helped us move from South Lake Tahoe to our new home in Glenshire.

As a thank you, we invited them up for the Christmas holiday.

That particular year Christmas was on a Tuesday, so the three families that came arrived on Friday evening for a four-day holiday. On Saturday morning it began to snow and snow and snow. By Monday afternoon it had snowed over 6 feet (yes, even in the Banana Belt) and our visitors from the Sacramento Valley were getting nervous about getting out on Christmas day to be at their jobs on Wednesday morning.

Interstate 80 had been closed more than open during this ongoing storm but the forecast was that it would clear up sometime during the afternoon on Christmas Day. A “group” decision was made that we would have Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and that two of the three families would begin their “get away” after breakfast on Christmas day.

Come Christmas morning it had snowed an additional 6 inches. Finally the snow stopped and skies were beginning to turn blue. I suggested everyone just hunker down until late afternoon or evening. I-80 was still closed, but news reports said Caltrans was working to have it opened by 2 p.m.

Alice’s brother John, from Lincoln, decided he and his family were going to drive out to the Interstate and wait for it to open. They left at 8 a.m. in his 4-wheel-drive pick-up.

Alice’s brother-in-law, Dave, sister Catherine and their family (from Sacramento) decided they were going to chain up their rear-wheel-drive Mercedes and head to the Sierra Valley in hopes of going over Highway 49, via Downieville, to Grass Valley and home that way.

Alice’s third brother, Chuck, decided that he and his family would wait until I-80 opened prior to leaving for Yuba City.

John weaved his way around Truckee and made it to within sight of the old bug station where he sat for 7 hours waiting for I-80 to open. Once it opened it took him an additional 4 hours to make it home.

Dave found Highway 49 closed and continued to Quincy and down Highway 70 to Oroville. His odyssey also lasted 11 hours ” eight of them with chains on!

Chuck waited until 7 p.m. that evening to head home and was able to get to Yuba City in 4 hours ” and never had to chain up!

The moral of this story? Be patient!

By the way, despite numerous invitations since, that was the last Christmas that any of these families spent with us up here!

Many of our international seasonal workers have arrived in town to work at our ski areas and other area businesses. Many of them don’t have many transportation options other than hitchhiking. Although I was taught many years ago not to pick up hitchhikers, I make an exception for these young people who are great workers and wonderful representatives of the countries they are from.

Yes, be cautious before picking any of them up, but if it’s obvious that they are in need of a ride, think about giving them one. I guarantee you will always be rewarded with a smile and a thank you.

Last Saturday night we were dining at OB’s. It was pretty quiet until a crowd of Santas and a bunch of Elves came in singing and having a great time. They were part of the third annual “Santa Stumble,” hosted this year by Christopher and Katie Old. The bar crawl schedule included El Toro Bravo, Bar of America, OB’s and the Pastime Club. All the attendees donate money towards Toys for Tots. It looked like 50 or so participants and they all were having a great time. What a tradition!

Mark Brown, with a little help from May Candler, successfully identified Cafe Meridian as the restaurant that preceded Dragonfly in its Commercial Row location.

May called about a half hour later with her answer. When I told her she was the second call in and that Mark was the early bird winner, she said she had seen Mark earlier in the morning at Coffee And and he had asked her what the answer was.

Oh well, his fingers did the walking on the telephone first, May.

Jim Porter, who owns the building along with his partner Jim Simon, mentioned in his e-mail: “Kurt Reinkins was with Mike Mason, the architect of our new building, which replaced the one that exploded. And, he and his wife were our first tenants.”

Other winners included Heidi and Amanda Thorsby, Leah Krone, Stephanie Pierucci, Mary DeLisle, Keith Mickelson, Kane Schaller, and Nancy Costello.

Happy Holidays

From the Nicholls family, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season to all our readers and friends. Thanks for your support.