Don Rogers: Heaven on Earth
Heaven was an outside table for lunch Tuesday at the Bar of America downtown.
For one, it wasn’t raining or about to start again. My lunch companion, county Supervisor Richard Anderson, couldn’t remember a spring with so many thunderstorms.
“But I’ve only lived here 19 years,” he acknowledged. Tourist.
Heaven, for me, includes good company, and Anderson was the best. One of the joys of my job, maybe the joy of the job, is meeting what I’ll call people of purpose. Love the rest of y’all, too, but people who do things, who help shape civilization in large and small ways, are a big deal for me.
They fit Teddy’s Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena,” and I’m mindful of being the cold critic as the observing journalist, my days of being marred by dust and sweat and blood long behind. Roosevelt might say it differently now, as it’s not just men daring greatly these days, if ever. Not by a long shot.
I suppose it helps that Anderson fly fishes and was so taken with the sport he started his own magazine, like me learning his journalism by doing it.
After lunch, we walked the still-new sidewalk through downtown, now stretching the full length to the new Philosophy pub and Burger Me clear to the roundabout. I’m still in awe at the evolution from the rather earthier train stop I remember not so long ago. Anderson bore the pride of the mayor he once was of this city, and we stopped often as people greeted him warmly. It’s still his town.
Heaven descended more than a year ago, after Easter brunch with friends and family at Sunnyside on the lake, as beautiful a site for these as can be imagined. My time for snowboarding tends toward first chair, especially on weekends. Get up on the mountain early and finish as the crowds reach peak.
My snow fever that season would have me hunting excuses to skip social obligations in the morning, but Easter and family, well, I can feel my wife staring me down even as I write this now, well out of view.
Heaven came whipping in with the wind later, shaking pines and my resolve to get in a few turns that afternoon at Northstar. Curious, almost no one shared the backside with me in perfect snow on a favorite run, usually crowded. I took it over and over and over again, happier each time. Snow began to fall, then the full shaker globe, and finally I had the whole run to myself every time.
That afternoon might go down as my favorite ever. The snow, the feeling, the confidence and flow building and building until time ran out. I had to go just when I never wanted to stop.
I soon learned why I had the backside to myself. It was raining at mid-mountain. Who would have an inkling of the paradise just above? There’s a lesson there.
Heaven was the hospital May 1. Yes, you heard that right. I had this great conversation with Tahoe Forest execs Paige Thomason, Ted Owens and CEO Harry Weiss, who talked among other topics about getting kids born and raised here inspired to become doctors and other professionals.
Insightful and engaging as our discussion was, that wasn’t heaven. No, heaven was my grandson busy being born that day in another part of the hospital.
It was a second coming of this particular slice of the divine. His big brother was born in the same place two years ago. Maybe they’ll both become doctors, if lucky enough to grow up in Truckee.
For the parents, the long journey begins here, and it won’t always be pretty. But for grandparents, as I discovered, well, it’s heaven all right.
As newlyweds we drove down from Quincy to hang out with another young couple fresh from Santa Barbara, the wife a great friend since college who wound up introducing my wife and I to each other. Truckee was heaven then, too, as I guess anywhere would be.
Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.