The cosmic significance of real men
Mae Ling, of Chinese Cuisine and Sushi in Tahoe City, treated me to a glass of wine with my dinner Sunday night in honor of the man she called, my famous father. Mae had read the news obituary about my dad in the Sacramento Bee last Thursday. He passed away about 5:15 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6. Thanks Mae. It was the best glass of wine ever.Mae Ling was quite impressed by the article about my old man. He was the most honest and humble man I ever knew. It was a big Pacific storm that saw him off, arranged by Heaven itself. The cosmic events surrounding his last days only converge for people of the highest character. Local dignitaries of questionable ethics, people who are famous for their infamy, have to settle for typical, manmade fanfare, like jets, at their memorial service. Dad would have none of that, even though his service in the Coast Guard during World War II rivaled that of any war hero, and warranted military honors. He and his fellow crew members saved many a sailors life in the Pacific. Dad never had a chance to meet Mae Ling, or eat at her restaurant, which is one of Tahoe Citys most famous, most affordable and friendly places to eat. They have some of the best food in town, too, which always helps when you run a restaurant. Chinese Cuisine and Sushi is located in the Lighthouse Mall at the east end of town near Safeway. Dad would have loved it for its simple, folksy atmosphere and, what was that again? Oh, yes! The food! Dad was a lawyer, and a cowboy. He knew that just because something was legal, didnt necessarily make it ethical. Friendship meant something to dad. Doing the right thing for people was always more important than business where he was concerned. I only hope I can someday fill the empty cowboy boots we set on a pedestal at his memorial service. It was held at the Chapel of the Hills in Auburn, which seats about 80 comfortably. More than 150 people showed up, on a Friday, with very short notice. Funerals are notorious for short notice.I went down to Auburn New Years Day to be with my dad and stayed 12 days. I drove by the chapel once and saw someone elses funeral service in progress. A lot of people were standing in the parking lot crying. Although many tears were shed by many for my dad, I couldnt help but notice the amount of joy and laughter that filled our group of mourners outside after the service. I am sure some people driving by were a little perplexed. At a glance it seemed more like a wedding than a funeral. It was exactly as dad would have wanted it to be.Placer County, and the State of California, lost a water rights expert and man of great integrity in William T. Sweigert. He didnt build big buildings or a ski resort. He didnt use the law to walk all over people for his own financial gain. His reputation as a very civic-minded man for all was not just sweet talk. He saw people for what they were and enjoyed taking on the arrogant and the rude in a good legal battle and usually won.Dad would have laughed like hell at the guest column in the Sierra Sun on Monday concerning poor visibility in roundabouts due to snow accumulation. He would have said something like, Jerry, you are truly a genius. Your concern for intelligent design in the universe and Kings Beach is unmistakable. We appreciate your input. It has been scientifically proven that roundabouts are the number one cause of Sierra snowfall. They are like little black holes pulling in every snowflake from within a hundred miles. If you can figure out a way to neutralize them we are all ears. Black holes also cause global warming. Actually, I think you make a good case for roundabouts.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.
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