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Now I have done it! Robert Sheridan FawCawnahs bobsheridan@earthlink.net Having been up at the Lake (Tahoe) for awhile with Rick, my 18-year-old who thinks he knows something because he's 18-years-old, I missed this thread until it was called to my attention, so I thought I'd pipe in.

At the risk of my hard-earned reputation for being hard-edged, we did take the southern route to the Lake in order to pay an overdue call on O.T., and we're glad we did. Hadn't realized Marcene had been in the dumps before our arrival over the passing of the Commodore and if a couple of hungry visitors helped to lighten the mood, that was gravy.

I'd been telling Rick that Old Hangtown, the original name of the dry diggins where O.T. resides in a miner's cabin, is famous for its Hangtown Fry and saloons. One of the latter has the body still swinging from a rope high above the front door to remind customers to behave.

I'd been to Hangtown in the Summer of '63 on Wagon Train Day. That's when the caravan of covered wagons and men (and women) on horses spend a week crossing the Sierra from Reno. Dressed in pioneer garb and having worked up a mighty thirst from eating dust, they don't draw a sober breath after arrival. The local sheriff builds a hoosegow on the courthouse lawn, where men without beards are summarily incarcerated until they bail out, proceeds to the local charity and sheriff.

We invited O.T. out for a Hangtown Fry but she was on to that, knowing she'd have to spend the rest of the afternoon in a saloon with a couple of visiting firemen eating oysters fried up in three-egg omelettes, washed down with Bloody Marys. Since it was a little early for getting blotto (before noon), O.T. turned the tables on us and insisted we meet at her cabin instead of the saloon.

Hangtown is a hoot-and-a-holler from the ghost town on the American River where John Marshall found gold nuggets in Sutter's Mill that they were abuilding. The discovery set off the California Gold Rush in 1848, the predecessor to the Second California Gold Rush of 1999 based on the discovery of even larger nuggets in Silicon Valley. The '49ers had nothing on the '99ers.

A delightful shrimp salad whipped up by O.T. made us can the fried oyster idea until another day and we enjoyed some Olde StatNisland reminiscing. O.T., as longtime readers know, is from FawCawnahs, having lived across Victory Blvd. from where I grew up. The fact is that O.T. and I attended PS 29 and Curtis High School together at different times. She thinks I must have been one of the brats from the neighborhood who kept getting underfoot. Still am, I tell her.

O.T. showed us the computer room where she gets up in the middle of the night to see how much hell she can raise, which is considerable, and the statuette of the American sailor standing in pea-jacket and cap, which looked familiar. The original is in D.C., she explained, and a replica, it was announced last week, is going to be erected at the vista point located near the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge to commemorate all the sailors whose last view of the U.S. was the entrance to San Francisco Bay. John, as we know, was a sailor.

O.T. has given up the gold panning but still comes out with some nuggets. Her log cabin is well-built by her son, not too far from the gold-bearing stream. Rick and I took a ride over to the American River, with a bag of sweet cherries from O.T.'s tree, and had a look at Sutter's Old Mill and the visitor's center in nearby Coloma, where California got started. Ten-thousand miners lived there at the height of the rush but now they're all gone with the gold. O.T. gets a kick out of telling their story. She doesn't look that old, but you know she was there. :)

I'm glad we finally dropped in on O.T. at last, and am sorry it took so long. I'd have thought Rick would be put to sleep by the reminiscing but he remarked on the drive up to the Lake afterwards that it was interesting to hear the references to WWII by the wife of a man who lived dangerously through it. As an underwater demolitions man John had to have been smart as well as lucky. A good looking dude in his youth, judging from the photo O.T. keeps facing the one of her as a bobby-soxer. Talk about foxes!

We left O.T. safe and sound, which I'm sure came as a relief to her sheriff's detective son, who suspects that at least some of us must be axe-murderers, which is no doubt true.

Rick and I spent Father's Day rafting on the Truckee, the outlet from Lake Tahoe that flows down to Reno. The fishermen among you may be interested to know that from Fanny Bridge, below the dam at the Lake, the tourists throw bread crumbs to the fish. The fish, in this case, happen to be trout two to three FEET long. Fishing is prohibited this close to the dam. It's called Fanny Bridge because when the tourists in their bathing shorts lean over the rail to watch the fish, all the locals see is the tourist's fannies, some of which are worth the trip to observe. But that's another story and I have to run along.

Thanks, O.T., it was a nice visit, and when you come to San Francisco, it's Hangtown Fry and Bloody Mary time, axe-murderer or no.

-rs



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