Pine Nuts: ‘Big Joy’ – she was 99 red balloons |

Pine Nuts: ‘Big Joy’ – she was 99 red balloons

Sundays are so special this time of year when we can choose to take in some spring skiing, or if it’s snowing, stay inside and take in some breathtaking college hoops.

This past Sunday was particularly special, however, as it marked the celebration of life for Joy Michiel — know by many as “Big Joy.”

There are two kinds of people in this world of ours — anchors, those who dampen our spirits, and balloons, those who fill us with good energy and make us feel like we can conquer the world and have a good time doing it.

Big Joy was 99 red balloons. Whether refereeing an arm wrestling contest, hosting us at Monday Night Football, or singing “Be Good to Mama and Mama Will Be Good to You” with Steve and the wonderful musicians that she loved so, she was always 99 red balloons.

And I have to believe what Mark Twain said about the wife he adored in the 19th century can be said about Big Joy in the 21st century.

“She had a heart that was tropically warm. It is in the heart that the riches lie. A loving heart is riches, riches enough; without it, intellect is poverty. And Joy possessed a heart of finer metal than any gold ever mined or minted.”

Pete Baker turned 70 on Sunday. He and his wife Cathy, when they can’t find anything else to do, will go run the Great China Wall Marathon.

Still a bandsome hastard (cleaned up for this fine family journal) at three score and ten, Pete, not unlike Big Joy, radiates positive energy like a small sun. Those of us lucky enough to be in his company on Sunday at Crosby’s came away with a nice tan.

Also on Sunday I got to spend some time with an exemplary young man, a sophomore at Incline High, Tony Sandoval. I hired Tony to help the cleaning lady at the Mark Twain Cultural Center & Toccata Guttman Music Hall following a rowdy NV150 celebration on Saturday night.

The cleaning lady, being 178 years old, did not feel up to cleaning the place by herself. Tony gives me faith in the next generation.

He’s not of the Heads-Down Tribe, but carries himself ramrod straight, has great bearing, looks you in the eye, and tells you how he is going to save the world.

After the best cheeseburgers in the basin at Art’s, we got the center cleaned up and I went away from Tony with the peace of mind that comes in knowing that the next generation is hell-bent on doing things right.

Sunday next I get to help celebrate NV150 at the Halleck Bar Party in Elko. Beefeater Gin is the beverage of choice I’ve been told, so I shall fortify my constitution with a bowl of poi before joining the celebration.

Oh, lest I forget, before this weekend rolls around, I shall put my reputation on the line for having the highest basketball IQ at the Wreck Center, and place a small fortune on the Florida Gators to be Homecoming Queen at this year’s Big Dance. Go Gators…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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