Super friends will be chipping in to help on Saturday | NevadaAppeal.com

Super friends will be chipping in to help on Saturday

Barry Ginter

To Tom Blomquist, that acre in the sagebrush south of Silver Springs is heaven on earth, the exact place the universe wants him to be at this time in his life as he does battle with brain cancer.

Even with all of his optimism, he’s got a realistic side and knows that a practical evaluation of his new estate would list a small, run-down mobile home unfit for occupancy on a sandy plot of land. There’s no running water nor electricity, the fences are falling down, and there’s a general sense of disarray.

Normally, Tom would have much of this taken care of by now, but his life-threatening medical condition has kept him otherwise occupied.

Tom is sleeping outside under the stars these days, something he might be doing even if there were a half-million-dollar home on his acre. But it’s turning cold, and for a guy who just survived an operation to remove a brain tumor and is now going through radiation treatments, that’s probably not something doctors would advise.

You’ll never hear a complaint from Tom. In fact he just bought a stocking cap to wear on his newly unprotected head (he’s shaved his hair off rather than wait for it to fall out from the radiation).

Tom has lots of friends who have supported him in many ways through the ordeal. Many of them he’s made from his bartending jobs, and many more from his years as an outspoken animal activist in Lyon County.

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Those friends are planning a big event Saturday, the “Help Tommy B Day,” to make it easier for him to settle into his new life. All are welcome to pitch in. Among the work: painting, cleaning, hooking up a propane stove and heater, and checking out the fireplace and chimney.

“We are going to rip out the carpet and steam clean the place and turn the eclectic acre into Tom’s River Ranch,” wrote his friend Bob Williams.

Rather than put in new carpet (it’s impractical in the desert), they’re planning to put in floor tiles. If you’ve got some, the donation would be appreciated. Other items they’ll need are paint (light yellow), cleaning supplies, buckets, propane tanks, C and D batteries and trailers for taking stuff to the dump. Dennis Hof and his BunnyRanch will be supplying lunch on Saturday.

The work begins at 9 a.m. at 8190 Hooten in Silver Springs (take Ninth Street for 3.5 miles and turn right on Hooten). If you want more information or would like to help out, give Williams a call at 246-0998 or 220-9649.

There are plenty of people who wouldn’t see the charm in Tom’s home, who might prescribe a bulldozer rather than a fix-up day. But I had no problem seeing it when I visited. It was during the Perseids meteor shower, and we craned our necks for hours, chortling like kids as each flash knifed through the sky … journeys of untold millions of miles ending in the atmosphere above us.

It was a memorable night, but something puzzled me a I drove home: I’d never picked up in his voice or actions any hint of uncertainty or fear, even though his surgery was just days away. I’m pretty good at detecting those nuances, but the opposite seemed to be true. That’s peculiar, in that he is well aware there are no guarantees he’s gong to survive this thing.

Maybe it goes back to the first sentence in this column … his complete confidence that this is the exact place the universe wants him to be at this time. And maybe it has something to do with all those friends who’ll be showing up on Saturday.

•••

I never left Carson City last weekend, but, on Sunday, it seemed like I was back in Wisconsin where I grew up.

That’s because I went into Finucci’s Grand Central Pizza and Pasta to watch the Packers game, and there, to my amazement, were plenty of people fully decked out in Packers gear.

Turns out, it’s a Packers bar every game day and a perfect place for any Dairy State transplants thirsting to reminisce about home and its peculiarities (bubblers, brandy, sheepshead, deep-fried cheese curds, bratwurst and, especially, an extreme distrust of Bears and Vikings fans).

There was one Raider shirt among the crowd, worn by owner Richard Finn. He inherited the Packers tradition from the previous owners and vows that it will continue, even if the Raiders ever manage to win a game.

As for Wisconsinites, there’s also something about our accent … I’m not sure what it is, but after having been gone all these years, it’s not uncommon for people to stop dead in their tracks after listing to me speak and say, “Wisconsin?”

Not everyone there on Sunday was from Wisconsin. Some just developed a love for the team in other ways, but I’ve noticed that about half the time I’m out and about I see someone wearing a hat or shirt with a Packers logo.

Even if the bulk of them are Wisconsin transplants, I don’t think native Nevadans need to be concerned. After all, Wisconsinites just naturally pronounce “Nevada” correctly. That’s more than you can say for certain other states.

• Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at 881-1221 or via e-mail at bginter@nevadaappeal.com.