Submitted by Karl Breckenridge
A recent email from a so-called friend said ”You’ve done 16 columns for This is Reno but you’ve yet to write anything about trains, shamrocks, or that stupid street-name poem you drag out once a year. Are you OK?”
Well, to set the record straight: My first column was submitted on “Day 6,” not “1,” so it’s only been ten columns, not 16 as you so rudely insinuated (the mail came a few days ago.) This Saturday’s is Day XX. Secondly, we read of trains yesterday and “wreaths & shamrocks” is our St. Patrick’s Day standby. If we’re still all quarantined and I’m still alive and writing next March, you’ll read that blarney right here. And tertially, you’re right about the street name column – a much-nicer writer asked about it also, so here it comes:
In the waning months of the 20th century a band of Reno townsfolk invaded City Hall to persuade the City Fathers to change the name of a Reno street to “Locke,” in honor of the popular brothers Locke: Bill and Bob, pharmacist and physician respectively. “No, no,” said the council; “for that would be easily confused by Emergency 911 operators with ‘Rock,’ which already exists in both Reno and Sparks.” (The street-name change was to eliminate one of the two separate “Fairview” streets in southwest Reno.)
Ever on the alert to champion the cause of our hamlet’s oppressed citizenry, we crafted a poem to speak to the obvious pinheaded response of the council, a poem surely on a par with those of Frost, Poe, Kipling and Seuss. I had hoped that folksinger Woody Guthrie would weigh in and elevate my poem musically to a par with his son Arlo, Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Bob Dylan, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Sam Dehne, but it didn’t happen that way, as Guthrie had passed away some 30 years prior to our little local poem’s introduction.
Nevertheless, I resurrect it for you now – all the capitalized streets do exist, within Washoe County. And if you haven’t seen it before at least three times, you must be living in a cocoon, but I need a Saturday column for Bob Conrad and Kristen Hackbarth of This is Reno. (Kristen gets to deal with all the illogical line feeds…)
“We’ve a Quail and a Vale, a Dale and a Ruth; a Swaledale, a Gale, a Muth and a Booth;
Ralston and Purina, Sandra and an Arbor; a Marina and a Sandy and one called Harbor.
A Ron and a Dawn, a Von and a Valerie; a Fawn, a Jon, a Hahn and a Mallory;
Stine and Line, Rhein and Pine; Damon and Pythia, Forsythia and Vine.
Molly and Polly, Sally and Rilla, let’s not forget Jolly, Valley and Villa.
“Suzy Lake and Sphynx, Suzanne and Sue; a street named Lynx and one named Larue.
We know Mall and Fall and Ball, y’all; and Tholl and Wall and (close) dePaul;
(Who once sang Puff de Magic Dragon with dePeter and deMary).
And all of this really starts to get scary, with Cherry and Lymbery, Geary and Gary.
“We’ve a Haley and a Bailey, Robb and Clover; to a fireman they might sound like Cobb or Plover.
Rye and Sky and Nye and Champion; a Whistle and a Thistle, but what is a ‘Rampion’?
Bates and Gates, Kate, State and Leather; all seem to rhyme with Tate, Feather and Heather.
Dow Jones or Jones might mislead the man in the firetrucky,
But not half so much as Buck, Tuck or Lucky.
“Caballo, Denio, Rio Tinto and Cello; Papoose and Caboose, Pinto and Mello.
Marne, Tarn and Barnes, Carlin and Hodge, they all sound a lot like Marvin and Lodge.
Prater and Slater, Pearl and Earl; Oh! How I wish we’d a street called Squirrel!
“Brook Drive and Brooks Circle, and a third street called Brookie;
And if Brook rhymes with Nanook, then what rhymes with Brookie?
We have Lacy and Staci, Snow and Coe; Tracy and Casey, and old Latigo.
There’s a Little Ford and Ford, and indeed, a Taurus;
But Prior and Dyer don’t do that much for us.
“A Duke and a Prince, a King and a Queen; Daniel, Daniel Webster, plain old Webster and Lean.
Ben and Ben Franklin, Franklin and tough rhymin’; Bank, Robert Banks, Roberts and Lyman.
Sandra and Dee, Bobby and Darin –is this the place to throw in McCarran?”
See y’all back here Sunday morning. Be safe, huh?
Submitted opinions do not represent the views of This Is Reno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.
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.
Read more from Karl Breckenridge
Karl’s pal Jody shares the rich history of bootlegging, decorating, and engineering within the confines of the Truckee River’s banks and its picturesque islands.