TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — I recently visited San Francisco for the first time in my adult life. A cousin was visiting from Germany, and I had the good fortune to play (an admittedly clueless) tour guide. After getting used to certain assumptions raised by two male tourists in San Fran., I found a certain freedom and liberty in the anonymity of the crowds. Nobody was looking at me as a tuba player/tutor/sandwichmaker/clerk. Nobody was recognizing me as me, with a context and backstory and history and future, and if I had a dangler or my fly was open or I found a new and creative way to shove a shoe down my throat (like walking into a darkened Grace Cathedral partway into an explanation of the rainbow flags and loudly interrupting a service involving people prone on yoga mats packed sardine-tight in the aisles), it wouldn’t have an impact on my future.
It was somewhat liberating to feel free from immediate personal/social ramifications for mistakes or missteps.
And then I came home and got back to work.
Saturday was extremely slow at the general store, the sort of night you mop again and take down all the liquor bottles to dust the top shelf that nobody can see but was dusted just last week for the same reason. But it was still difficult to wrap up in time, because almost every person who came through — former Homewood employees, contractors, businessfolk looking for a late-night treat — all the sundry locals who I’ve come to know across the counter stopped, sometimes with a dangling cigarette and fingers twitching to light it, and asked how the trip went, that they heard I was vacationing with a relative.
The next day brought the open and literal embrace of the St. Nick’s community.
And maybe the anonymous city is nice, but what a blessing to be surrounded by so many people from so many walks who really and actually care.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Russell Richardson, MM, MFA, St. Nick’s (Tahoe City) tuba player and publicist, visit www.stnicksepiscopal.org.
Mother’s Day tea at St. Nicks
On Mother’s Day, May 12, 9 a.m. all in the community are invited to a morning tea with fresh, seasonal treats on an antique silver tea service and fresh flowers for all mothers. It will follow morning worship at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church and is free and open to all. Location, 855 West Lake Blvd, Tahoe City.