Call me old-fashioned

At the tender age of 93, I’ve seen a lot of changes in my life. One thing that has remained constant all this time is how people mistreat themselves. I never dreamed Nevada would ever have medical marijuana. Now we’ve legalized it for “recreational use.” Are you kidding me!

People debate whether marijuana is a gateway drug. Two of my family members who first started out on “pot” later became hooked on much harder drugs. Their personal “trip” took them to hell and back. Thankfully, they’re now “clean.” So please don’t tell me that “pot” is safe. I can understand the medical use; but for recreation? We already have drunk drivers on the road, do we need to add ones that are stoned?

Law enforcement already has their hands full. My son Dean will never fully recover from his near death nine years ago at the hands of a drunk driver. Almost every week, we hear about someone being killed by an impaired driver on our roads. My son Doug does all the driving for me, although I can do so if needed; however, I’d never dream of getting behind the wheel, even after only one drink.

There are better ways of getting “high.” Take a look at our beautiful sky or the clouds — they’re ever changing. Doug still talks about the time he had a hummingbird feeder in his hand when one flew over to him, apparently not willing to wait. Doug held it out at arms length, and believe it or not, that beautiful little bird rested there and drank up the sweet necter.

Years ago I noticed an attractive young girl, beautiful hair in a ponytail, with a peaches and cream complexion, large luminous eyes and a perfect six figure. There she stood, puffing away on a cigarette. I wonder after all these years, if she’s still with us, and if her skin is now old and wrinkled from smoking? Somehow, we justify our vices by how much revenue is brought in by “sin taxes.”

Years ago cigarettes were thought to be healthy. Even Ronald Reagan did ads for them. During World War II, they were handed out to the GIs, and many became addicted to them as a result. We saw the scourge of lung cancer that resulted. In 1953 my father died horribly from smoking. Doug was only seven then, and says he still remembers his grandpa’s funeral on a foggy night at the Rose Funeral House in Philadelphia.

This year is the 33rd since my second husband Van died of a massive stroke. He smoked two packs a day for over 20 years, then went “cold-turkey” to stop. I can’t help but question if smoking added to that horrible day when he died in March 1984? I do believe that people have choices that they need to make for themselves. We’ve all made choices in out lives that we wish we could change.

Recently, California raised taxes on cigarettes so they’ll cost about $8 a pack. I can recall when they were sold for about ten cents a pack. Perhaps the high cost will give pause to some so they at least consider cutting down or quitting altogether?

I hope so. Second-hand smoke is also a problem, especially for nonsmokers who want to enjoy themselves in a casino. Thankfully the eating areas are now non-smoking.

The smoke doesn’t magically stop at the door between the casino area and the eating area. At my age, my taste buds aren’t what they used to be, and seem to be adversely affected when I get a nose full of smoke. Look around as you walk through any casino in Nevada. How many older people do you see pulling around those bulky oxygen tanks? Worst yet, how many are smoking at the same time?

Somehow, we’ve gone in the wrong direction. We all know what a disaster Prohibition was in the 1930s. So I’m appealing to those who read this column to use some common sense before you light up. Is the “enjoyment” you seek worth the risk?

Picture yourself 20, 30 years from now. Become informed about the diseases that smoking can cause — not just tobacco but marijuana too. The list of chemicals in smoke will frighten you.

Adding marijuana to alcohol will, I believe, make our roads much more dangerous. Don’t drink or smoke “pot” and drive. It could save your life or someone else. They don’t call it “dope” without reason.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at


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