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A holiday memory in Gold Hill

Kelli Du Fresne

The Nevada Appeal, on Sunday, will begin running submissions from our readers who have written us about their holiday memories.

This is one feature of our paper I think truly defines who we are. We are the community’s newspaper. Though we are the place to look for news, I believe we are – as importantly – the place to go to better get to know your neighbors.

Now that I’ve jumped off the soap box, let me tell you about one of my crazier holiday memories.

In December 1995, a few days before Christmas, my brother was moving into his new house. His castle, newly built on those same few acres where we played as children in lower Gold Hill, was ready for a family.

I came in from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and the moving party assembled. In the biggest snow storm you ever saw.

After living in Mammoth for nearly three years and making weekly or biweekly trips home to Virginia City I finally broke down and purchased a four-wheel drive – which I buried in three feet of Sierra cement on the road into the house.

The moving van too was dug in like a legless sloth at the top of the driveway. The house was about 100 feet down the hill.

Christmas was coming and it was my brother’s and sister-in-law’s dream to celebrate the holiday in their new home.

So we did what everyone would do in the middle of a blizzard. We moved ’em in.

Trundled in our coats and hats we lugged and tugged their worldly possessions through the snow to the garage and upstairs.

Then as if struck by lightning, my brother broke out the sleds.

So over the hills and through the sage to brother’s house we went – no longer lugging or tugging their stuff, but sliding it over the snow.

Then he cranked up his quad, four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle, and hooked the sleds to it for the ride back up.

After a few thousand flying snow balls and more trips than I can remember, we emptied the moving truck. It sat like the useless sloth it was until the snow melted enough for it to warble its way out.

Oh, and did I mention we did this all at night?

Merry Christmas! And yes we’re nuts! But that’s not something we haven’t know for quite some time now.

Enjoy the Appeal’s 12 days of Christmas as our readers share with you some of their dreams and memories and get busy making some of your own to write about next year.

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Secondly, I want to thank the merchants on Curry Street, you know who you are, for emptying my wallet this holiday season.

In all truth, though, I’ve had fun shopping the shops in Telegraph Square, in the neighborhood and dining in the nearby eateries. The best part is that though I’ve spent lots of time down there, this is the first year I’ve done much shopping and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

The merchants and their helpers are friendly and helpful. They wrap up your gifts for you and don’t charge you for the wrap job. They answer your questions about what they carry without trying to redirect your attention if they don’t have what you’re looking for.

I’ll do my part for Douglas County as well. There are things my mass-market fans can’t live without, but mostly I’ve done most of my elfish-duties on the hoof in downtown Carson. Parking’s been easy. The shops aren’t crowded and the gifts are anything but run of the mill. If you’re doing your last-minute duties you can make a lot of stops down there in a short amount of time.

I’m pretty sure nobody will get the same thing twice, which is nice, and nobody will be expecting what I found for them since the merchants don’t sell the mass-market stuff everyone thinks they can’t live without.

I’m looking forward to Christmas with my family this year just to see their reactions to the treasures I’ve found. And if they don’t like what they get – they can give it to me.

Now there’s the true spirit of Christmas.

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal. Reach her at kdufresne@nevadaappeal. com or at 881-1261.