Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been 29 years since her last visit to Reno, Nevada. And behold, she is still with the same great guy she met the summer of 1984, with whom she bicycled over Donner pass, had a beer (or few) at the Three Legged Dog Saloon, cried tears of foggy joy crossing the Golden Gate bridge (and much much more) as part of a two-wheeled oddessey from Boston to Los Angeles raising funds for Oxfam America. Nearly three decades later, we are in charge of two teenagers, a house on a lot, a dog, and six chickens that she often feeds while wearing her bathrobe.
Clear as day, fragments of a 1980's Tom Waits song comes back to visit her mind: "Drove all the way to Reno on the wrong side of the road".
The occasion for our visit this time was "The Largest Basketball Tournament on the Planet". With two boys in a whirl of headphones, conversation and ruckus in back seat, for five or six hours she followed the dotted lines and numbered instructions, looping on and off the highway in search of nearly inedible food. Trying to be a grownup now, she drove all the way to Reno on the right side of the road.
Thousands of kids of all ages and sizes and colors bounced an orange ball and threw it up in the air or across and under space in pursuit of getting it through an orange hoop in the air. Shoes squeaked and whistles whistled; the elusive twin forces of hitting or missing the hoop played themselves out and in. Rims robbed some and gave some. Pump fakes. And ones. Flagrant fouls. Nets absorbed and deflected the ball. Shoulders bumped in zigzag fashion. All to shoot hoops.
|Goo Goo and Ga Ga at the Antique Mall on South Virgina Street|
|across the street was a shop where a lady elder with a pixie cut sells poodle skirts, varnish colored suitcases that had been on trains, candle holders, wooden radios shaped like loaves of bread|
A lady named Dorothy gone mad guarding her corner. Nice bus stops with mosaic affixed to a stack of shapely rocks.
We ate fried chicken near some friendly folks with matted hair and missing teeth who burped out loud and adored their baby. Okay, there were lots of regular people too.
After an hour of google map mishap, we find a grand Brand New Mall which turns out to be (a former Super Fund site) with the greatest biggest (boys think most funnest) sports store in the world in it. A stocked fishtank with fish the size of arms and legs, an antelope diorama, a talking Abraham Lincoln manequin with a bad hair day upstairs, and in the center of the store, a Ferris wheel full of only giggling girls. While shopping for flipflops or fishing waders, people carried around chihuahuas in their campground arms in this confluence of entertainment, gambling and shopping where there is no time of day.
|Internet find: photo by Scott Macquire who might have doctored it up|
Oh and another Tom Waits song fragment for the way home (thank heavens for home):
"fishing for a good time starts with throwing in your line ...."