Submitted by Karl Breckenridge | Feature Image: Trevor Bexon
Today is a special day for American journalists – more problems have been created by so-called columnists like yrs. Truly seeing D. B. Cooper out on a golf cart with Jimmy Hoffa, or a smoke alarm with a five-minute snooze switch, than can be counted. April Fool – we got you!!
But not this April. Our nation is at war; at war with an invisible bug that we don’t understand nor do we really accept as being an enemy – although we’re beginning to. I put myself in that latter category. Went though most of March like Pollyanna – hiding my head in the sand a la an ostrich. It’s not happening. I’ll write a column every day and all will forget about “it,” whatever “it” is.
And keep writing I will, the usual off-the-wall stuff, but today’s special: a new month is beginning, a bellwether moment in our maturation. On March 1 few of us knew – I didn’t – about coronavirus. For me, reality began to set in on or about the time our annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner was gelling. We may not have it? This will surely just pass.
But it didn’t pass. If the entire medical issue was to be labeled as blarney – which it won’t be – our schools are in a bigger miasma than they were a month ago, which we thought they couldn’t be. And it’s not just in Washoe County – my grandkids are loose on the community in San Mateo and my grandson, in his first year of matriculation at Washington State in Pullman, is home with dad and mom in San Francisco. And mom’s an engineer working from home. Ha! And the economy is in disarray. And we can’t go to Shenanigan’s for a beer and wings on Thursdays. Even Jeopardy! got derailed…
We went to a new business in Midtown, which I guess now merits a capital “M” but I don’t know why. A great pizza – Food & Drink is the place’s name – nice people both sides of the counter, patrons and staff. If it survives this it’ll be lucky. And they richly deserve to survive and succeed.
On the first Monday of every month about 20 guys – mostly Reno High Huskies but with a few Sparks High Railroaders grudgingly welcomed – convene at the Coney Island Bar and Sally brings us lunch. Been doing that for a long time. We were probably in our early 60s when it started. Now, most of us are just a few years on the sunny side of 80 and most have had a few health issues along the way. We’re what they call the compromised group now.
If we can believe, and I think we can, the medical wise-guys now, we’ll only need a table for maybe 12 or 14 at the Coney in a year. We’re doomed.
Ditto my coffee buddies at the Black Bear Diner – same group demographics, five or six regular guys (down from 20 in the 1980s!). We might get by with a table for four when we reconvene. IF we reconvene. And that hurts.
And on a smaller scale – two of the more important ladies in my life – my baby sister and a woman I’m very close to – share a birthday on Friday, April 3. They’re lookins’ good for this year, but will they both be with us in 2021? Dunno…..
Yeah, it’s April 1, but no April Fools yucks in this space today. Tomorrow we’ll gather and I’ll regale all with some BS gathered over a lifetime in our hamlet. But not today. Nor probably May 1, maybe June 1. But if Gilmour, Liberati, Pat Conway, the Great Creatore, W. C. Handy and John Phillip Sousa aren’t on the new roundabout at South Virginia and Center Streets on the Fourth of July ready to lead 76 Trombones south to the new Reno Public Market iteration of Shoppers Square, I’ll… I’ll – hell, I don’t know what I’ll do but this can’t go on forever…
Anyway – maybe a year from now on this day if This is Reno will still have me and I’m still alive and writing I’ll send all of you off on some wild goose chase with a proper April Fool’s column. But this year we’re a bit subdued by circumstance. We’ll still have some fun here; gloom pervades if that’s what you’re seeking to read, but my agreement wth Bob Conrad doesn’t contemplate gloom.
Tomorrow’s a new day c’mon back here. And, be safe, huh?
Karl Breckenridge was slowly going nuts. So he decided to help out This is Reno by writing a daily out-of-his-mind column for the duration of the coronavirus shutdown. Now that it’s over he’s back to his usual antics, drinking coffee with the boys at the Bear and, well, we’re not sure what else. But he loved sharing his daily musings with you, so he’s back, albeit a little less often, to keep on sharing. Karl grew up in the valley and has stories from the area going back to 1945. He’s been writing for 32 years locally.
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