Pine Nuts: Mount Rose, Mark Twain and Kenny Guinn School |

Pine Nuts: Mount Rose, Mark Twain and Kenny Guinn School

Mark Twain surprises Gov. Kenny Guinn on his birthday.

Mount Rose. She loves winter. She makes her own weather, and she is ever so treacherous, yet people navigate her dangerous curves like she is the 24 Hour Le Mans. This is not to mention the fact that she is host to the highest summit in America that we attempt to keep open all winter long.

That being said, I had a nice invitation to visit Kenny Guinn School in Las Vegas next month as Mark Twain. Kenny Guinn was one of my favorite persons, and fourth grade is one of my favorite grades to visit, but our start time was 9 a.m., which would have put Mark Twain and me up on Mount Rose in the dark in December.

Add to that, Mark Twain died at age 74, well, some say he died, but as you know, the reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, I turned 74 not long ago, so do you think I want to be up on Mount Rose as Mark Twain in the dark in December? No — a thousand times no.

Allow me to chronicle here an incident that implanted a fear of Mount Rose in my bosom that resides there today.

I was on my way to an engagement in Reno, in the white suit, heading down Mount Rose Highway when a Dodge Ram passed me, nearly causing me to jump out of my skin. I mumbled to myself, “I hope you know what you’re doing you ding-dong!”

I cleaned that quote up for our younger readers of this fine, family journal. In full disclosure, I spent some time in the Marine Corps so my language can be somewhat colorful at times. Well, he didn’t know what he was doing, as moments later I discovered him upside down on the left side of the road. Of course I jumped out and ran to help.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m OK,” he shouted as he rolled down (up) his window.

A good friend and neighbor happened to be driving right behind me and helped to extricate the Dodge Ram driver from his truck, and as divine providence would have it he was fine.

The next afternoon, I ran into my good friend and neighbor at the post office and he shared with me what that lucky Dodge Ram driver told him after I had left the scene.

“I was thinking about my sick grandfather and how I should have spent the day with him instead of racing to work as usual when I flipped over and blacked-out. When I opened my eyes I saw Mark Twain and thought sure I had died and gone the wrong way,” he said.

Well, he didn’t die and go the wrong way, and even if he had, I doubt he would have run into Mark Twain. But one thing he can be sure about, should he happen to be reading this account of our brief encounter, he will not find Mark Twain up on Mount Rose in the dark this December.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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