Pine Nuts: Thanking our firefighters

When the lake we love for its scenic splendor showed up in a photo on the front page of the New York Times with the caption, “The lake that Mark Twain once called ‘the fairest picture the whole Earth affords,’ looks and smells like the bottom of an ashtray.” Well, that was enough to sink my heart to the very bottom of Lake Tahoe.

So I donned a mask and walked down to the lake. I don’t tear-up easily, but “the fairest picture the whole Earth affords” was not looking so fair. A lady shouted to me along the way, “You are so brave to be out here walking.”

I responded, “Thanks be to our intrepid firefighters we have the smoke, and not the flames.” Then I evacuated on an unplanned road trip to visit friends in the Bay Area who were not expecting me …

My Evacuation List looked something like this…

1. Check on the neighbors

2. Grab a Twain portrait

3. Pack a toothbrush

4. Grab a Twain portrait

5. Pack a change of skivvy-drawers

6. Grab a Twain portrait

One nice thing about lifelong friends is that they are always quick to feign they are as happy to see you as they might be to see a winning three-way parlay ticket placed at the Hyatt Sports Book a year or two ago. And too, it’s always entertaining to hear one of them whisper through the kitchen window, “Hide the good silver!”

And then our fearless firefighters did it! Twenty nine hundred of Tahoe’s finest saved the Masterpiece of the Creator, the Lake of the Sky, Lake Tahoe. I thanked my generous hosts for their safe harbor and drove four hours home to the lake, still there, encased in hazardous haze, but still there. I was so elated to be returning home that I realized as I pulled into my drive that I had made the entire trip with my left turn indicator on.

Once again home to Layne Haven, I opened a bottle of Mark Twain’s Private Stock and hoisted a glass on high to our gallant firefighters, hung a few Twain portraits back up on the wall, and called St. Pat’s for a possible venue in which to present a benefit for our firefighters, the victims of the Caldor Fire, and the animal rescue heroes who answered the call. Outside of a grateful look from a grounded hoot owl, those animal rescue folks hardly get any thanks.

I’m happy to report our benefit will be at St. Pat’s beautiful new outdoor amphitheater on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 25, 6 to 7:30 p.m., “The Air That Angels Breathe – An Evening with Mark Twain at Tahoe and the Hawaiian Islands.”

Let’s get out and shout our gratitude … a $25 donation is suggested, more if you can stand it, checks payalbe to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. For reservations call 775-833-1835.

Seating will be limited to 100.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User