The sweet smell of sagebrush after a springtime rainfall. Cattle grazing in nearby fields. Sheep maneuvering along the hillsides. Wind…lots of wind. Cottonwood trees. Examining every rock on the beaches of Lake Tahoe to find the “fools gold”. Nevada Day parades, with a face full of Halloween makeup from the night before and suffering from sugar overdose. Bertha…painted toenails on an elephant. Fireworks from the high school football field. Carson High School Freshman “initiation” clothing draped on our fence…waiting for young, embarrassed young teens to attempt to collect them without notice…most of them were noticed. Dragging main from the A&W to the Carousel. Going into the mountains in old noisy trucks that smelled like campfire and sagebrush. Cheering on the St. Theresa’s Tigers, Carson Solons, and of course, the Carson Senators. Dogs unleashed owning the roads. Special trips to Gardnerville for Basque dinners, where we as youngsters would run around like banshees…and it was ok. Dressing up for church. Dressing up for Sunday breakfast at the Carson Nugget. Swimming at Bowers Mansion for school “field days”. Riding bikes to Dairy Queen for Cherry Coke slushes WHICH were the best invention in the entire world. Walking to school, to friends’ houses, to wherever….and it was safe and everyone knew who you were…so you could really not do anything bad. Climbing C Hill. Dogs with porcupine quills and sometimes dogs smelling like skunk. Politics…yes, early on but so little of the everyday life….well, mostly. Family dinners….big extended family! Easter egg hunts that showcased little girls in fluffy dresses that stayed clean, for at least a moment. Carson River. Trips to Las Vegas and the small communities around the state to “campaign”. Small planes…vomit. Basque Festivals all around the state. Road trips with no speed limits. Skiing at Sky Tavern….with a broken zipper on pants held together with a safety pin. Nobody cared. Going to church in ski boots, sounding like Big Foot just arrived for his blessing. Priests, nuns, Catholic School. Softball, tennis, swimming, playing pool and hiking. Building snow forts. Sleeping on the back patio with all my siblings during summer nights. Sneaking to the baseball field for licorice. Chuck Leonard’s theater and daring each other to get kicked out. Delphine, Janie, and Rose…my Native American mentors and caretakers who taught me more about life than most…except how to drive well. So many icons, so many incredible influences. Lifelong friends. And this “summary” is just a small percentage of the younger years! But, it could have been anywhere America….but it wasn’t….it was Nevada. The sweet smell of sagebrush after a springtime rainfall….and the smell of campfire in an old truck. Priceless.