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70th birthday celebrated with Harley ride

Nancy Oliver Hayden, Tribune Community Editor

Dixie Hardy celebrated her 70th birthday one day early, but the barbecue and party couldn’t have been a bigger bang if it had taken place on her actual natal day of July 4. Approximately 40 friends and neighbors gathered at Hardy’s home to share the 20-year South Lake Tahoe resident’s special day. Tables were laden with delicious food and JJ Entertainment provided music for all to enjoy. A highlight of the day was a ride on a new purple Harley-Davidson motorcycle owned by good friend Doug Levine of Discovery Bay, Calif., and South Lake Tahoe.

“There I was in my hot pink shorts with my hair flying wild – I was cool, man,” Hardy said.

Not exactly what might be expected from a 70-year-old woman, but Hardy is known for coming up with the unexpected. She doesn’t look or act a day over 50 and enjoys life to the fullest.



Born July 4, 1931, at Louisville, Ky., to farming parents, Hardy has some real interesting memories of her young days in Kentucky. She rode an old gray horse to a one-room schoolhouse with a pot belly stove and a teacher to match. Her daddy had a moonshine still in the hills of Kentucky, her mama grew marijuana in the field and they traveled by horse and longbed wagon.

“Mama would boil the marijuana and put it on her shoulder. She said it was for her rheumatism,” Hardy said. “I don’t know. I remember seeing her on the front porch in the rocking chair smoking a corn cob pipe and she’d get awfully goofy.”



When the “young’uns” were teethin’ her daddy would put moonshine on their gums.

“It certainly relaxed us and we’d sleep a spell. I reckon that’s why I have such good teeth today. Shore did make me silly, though,” Hardy said.

Her family grew their own meat and vegetables and their watermelon patches were very large. The children would get the biggest melon they could find and head for the hollows, where they would bust it open and eat it with their fingers.

Then they would jump in the creek for a little skinny dipping.

Hardy remembers when she was 16 years old her daddy said she was about gettin’ too old to get married. He said that she’d be best to find someone or he’d find one for her.

Her husband died in 1997 and she lost her mentally and physically challenged daughter, Debbie, in 1999. She had cared for both of them for many years.

In spite of, or maybe because of, her early years and the hardships she has endured, Hardy has a wonderful outlook on life, a sunny disposition and a sense of humor.

“I have come to terms with my life and I know I’m here for a reason. I take good care of my health. I have my teeth, no hearing aid and no heart trouble. I do get a tune-up on my hair once a month,” she said.

“I love people, especially ones who need me. Children mean so much to me, particularly the handicapped. They seem to come to me automatically to be hugged and give me a big smile. I think that’s the angel in me – to touch them. Working with Special Olympics is very special to me.”

Hardy is active in the community. She was a member of Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra for nine years, a deacon at Lake Tahoe Community Presbyterian Church for six years, worked with Special Olympics for many years and received a Woman of the Year award from Voluntary Action.

She has owned and operated Dixie’s Cleaning Service for 20 years at the South Shore and is very devoted to her customers.

“I have been blessed with so many, many wonderful friends such as my sweet and wonderful friend Rick Castagner of Santa Clara, Calif., as well as Trudy Morgan, Lisa Mascitelli, Melodie Reece and Dottie Patton and my loving pastor Steve Blocher. I have never met a stranger and I show love to all. It just comes naturally. Ugliness and sarcasm are not healthy. I know my goal in life is to help others. My work on Earth is not done and I plan to be around for a long while,” Hardy said.


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