Letter — I am jealous of the locals | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter — I am jealous of the locals

Sitting here on Christmas Day, windows open to the Florida warmth, I read with delight your images of living at Tahoe. (Dec. 23 My View) In a way, I envy you.

I was on a gambling junket to Reno in November 1979 with my late father when I decided to see what Lake Tahoe was all about. Oh, I’d heard of the place for years, how my parents had honeymooned there, and how a childhood friend of my father’s once had an interest in a casino on the North Shore, but being a “flat land” Southerner, I’d never given serious thought to visiting.

I hired a car and drove up the Mt. Rose Highway, leaving the sorghum-colored desert behind as I entered the conifer-green forest surrounding the Tahoe basin.

Near the crest, a highway work crew laying out chicken wire to prevent loose gravel from sliding onto the roadway when the real snows came, had traffic stopped in both directions. I ambled around the corner and onto the lookout above Incline Village.

Kathryn, it was as if I had lived there in another lifetime. The sense of familiarity was amazing; hairs rose on my arms as I realized: I’ve been here before!

I made it as far as King’s Beach that day, each step nurturing a kinship with the lake, with the people living there, and (for all I know) with the spirits of those who came before. I marveled at the ruggedness of life surrounded by the towering peaks, and how the endless expanse of water went from deep blue to purple-black as the clouds of a storm quickly rolled in. I laughed as a child would when the first snowflakes fluttered to ground.

At dinner that night, I told my father about the visit. I talked about how giddy the high altitude made me feel, and how I sensed that I could almost touch a part of some mystical former life.

“Well,” he said, “your mother and I spent three weeks there on our honeymoon, at a little place called the St. Francis on the North Shore.”

I did the math: They’d been married in late-May, honeymooned in June. I was born in March of the following year.

Well, I’ll be damned.

I returned the following spring. Learned to ski at Squaw — I still remember sitting out on the deck at Bar One and singing “Rock Lobster” with a bunch of new-found friends after my first successful run from the top of Emigrant to the parking lot.

I’ve been back to the lake each year since. I’ve met many locals whose friendships I treasure.

Someday, maybe and perhaps, I, too, will be considered a “local.”

We’ll see.

Have a great New Year. Best wishes for a wonderful life.

Rod Barken

Clearwater, Fla.

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