A book for all Nevadans: 'You know you're a Nevadan if ...'

I've been a Nevadan since birth at Carson-Tahoe Hospital.

I grew up a Mucker in Virginia City where basketball is king, and if my high school classmates knew one of my best friends was from Gabbs -- a Tarantula -- they'd egg my car.

My friend also works for "the competition."

So don't tell the editors either. But he's written a great book about Nevada. It follows the "you-know-you're-a-red-neck-if" premise, but with bits about the Silver State. It is a compilation of tidbits he collected for his column since Nevada Day 2001 -- Oct. 31, for those of you who are traditionalists.

My friend Guy Clifton, who is not a true-blooded native, came to Nevada when he was 2.

He says, "I think, like a lot of people, I've always considered being a Nevadan more of an attitude than a birthright."

After receiving hundreds of letters, calls and e-mails, Clifton and a couple of other friends came up with the idea for the book.

The book is illustrated by Marilyn Melton, costs $8 and can be found at the Nevada State Railroad Museum and the Nevada State Museum in Carson City or can be ordered from the Nevada Humanities Committee by calling 784-6587.

Proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Nevada Humanities Committee, but more than that the book belongs on every bookshelf in Nevada -- if you know you're a Nevadan or not. It's a fun trip down memory lane for some and a bit of a puzzle for others, but the puzzles are worth working out. All the answers can't be found in a Nevada history book, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth knowing.

The 60-page book contains more than 300 "you know you're a Nevadan ifs" from 167 readers -- but it doesn't contain one from me, even though I sent in "you know you're a Nevadan if you've washed long johns and shorts in the same load of laundry. "

There are a few from former Appeal writer Amanda Hammon, an Austin native, but the list of contributors on page 4 reads like a list of who's who in Nevada. I made the list as a contributor so I'll be honored even though I'm not a "true-blooded contributor." Maybe I'll make the second printing.

What makes the book great is that I can relate to many, though not all, of the Nevadaisms:

-- I've made out on windy hill, but I'm not sayin' with whom!

-- I've seen Bertha, Tina and Angel.

-- I've eaten at the Liberty Belle.

-- I can pronounce Ely, Wabuska, Verdi, Denio and Beowawe, though the author and I disagree on the u in Wabuska being long or short.

-- I still call the Reno Hilton "the MGM."

-- I know there are no horses or cows at the Mustang Ranch and no rabbits at the Cottontail.

-- I was in the stands for Snow Bowl I and II, though I don't remember much about The Day of the Hawk.

-- I've had a chili-cheese omelet at Landrums at 2 a.m.

-- I've had to wait for a cow to cross the highway.

-- I love the smell of sagebrush in the rain.

-- I've had a pi-on pine as a Christmas tree

-- I think I can say Yparraguirre, though I'd never try to spell it.

On Wednesday, Guy said "It was really fun putting it all together. I got to go back a year later and read them all again. And in today's mail I got a letter from someone who sent a letter with 50 items -- 15 months later I'm still getting submissions. It's great. You usually only hear when you've done something wrong."

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal. Her friend Guy Clifton is a senior features writer and columnist for the Reno-Gazette Journal and "the nicest guy in the world."


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