Holidays a time for reflection, old friends |

Holidays a time for reflection, old friends

Column: Kurt Hildebrand

This season is a time of reflection for me. It is when you find old friends and renew relationships that have been dormant.

Christmas cards and e-mails have been coming and going for a month now, but just before Christmas, I received a letter that touched me very deeply.

It was from the Bayer Family, thanking us for the support in the time just after fighter pilot Jason Bayer’s untimely death last spring.

Jason died in a helicopter crash in the Sierra above Ridgecrest, Calif. The Carson High School graduate’s father, Art, is a Carson City attorney. Jason’s son was born July 2, more than three months after his father’s death. The boy was named Jason after his father.

The letter closes with “Let the Holidays remind you how precious life is and how important friendships are.”

“Batten down the hatches Carson Valley.”

That was the banner headline I wrote for the December 1993 edition of The Record-Courier after hearing a storm was on the way.

I spent that night watching the Weather Channel and all the local weather forecasters. Then, just before midnight, the Weather Channel shuddered and all the forecasts changed. There wouldn’t be a storm after all. No need to batten down the lawn furniture, much less the hatches.

I took a ribbing for three days after that and wrote myself a note that said, “Never ever put weather on the cover.”

I flashed back on this traumatic time when I read Karl Horeis’ Appeal weather story, which included the word “batten.” Hopefully it won’t jinx the storm.

Judith Harris wrote to say the new picnic tables for Dayton State Park’s northern annex have arrived and have been assembled. She says the tables won’t be the end of the work people are planning to improve the hidden section of the park next door to the Dayton Depot.

Park supervisor Jean Murray is looking for someone to do a mural on the underpass between the two halves of the park and hopes one of the schools will write about Dayton’s history for some interpretive signs.

In the meantime, the dreaded white top is beginning to infest the park and Judith says park proponents are in talks with the schools to map where the weed is and how to combat it.

Judith works with teenagers as the VISTA volunteer service learning community coordinator.

Anyone with an idea for projects involving youth should call her at the Dayton Community Center. The number is 246-0320 ext. 3.

Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project says he found a litter of genuine Nevada trailer dogs last week.

“It is a fact that the more trailers they are born near or under and the number of abandoned vehicles in the vicinity can verify the authenticity of the Nevada trailer dog,” he said.

In this case the puppies were found within spitting distance of no fewer than seven abandoned vehicles.

“These are great puppies,” he said. “Any dog is a teachable animal and the mother dog is a real sweetheart.”

Tom realizes that the number of homes available to dogs is limited.

“Homes are finite, dogs aren’t,” he said. “Our only answer is aggressive spay and neutering.”

The mother of 3-year-old Autumn Martin called to thank me for the nice article, but pointed out that her name is not Teresa, but Tricia. Guess I’m getting a little hard of hearing in my old age. Autumn is the great, great-granddaughter of Bill Williamson, former owner of Budd the car-driving dog.

I think I’ve had more feedback from the photo with my teeth blacked out than virtually anything else I’ve put in this column in the past three years. It just goes to show the power of a photo, particularly a really silly one. I sent a copy of the picture to my mom, and she asked if I blacked out the teeth myself. She has a hard time picturing me as a public figure.

Can’t say as I blame her. Happy New Year, everyone.

Kurt Hildebrand is former managing editor of the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 887-2430, ext. 402 or e-mail him at