Hi Grandma!

To say that she's spry for 93 is an understatement. We walked around the mall, we talked about everything from family gripes to the Reno City Council. From moving back to Ohio ["It's probably the best thing"] to 9/11 ["It still upsets me"].

Active in her church, active in her community, when the weather's good she walks a mile around Virginia Lake. We should all be as sharp and active.

One afternoon, we drove around Reno a bit.

Drove past the now closed Silver Sox baseball field [below left] [there's no baseball in Reno anymore], past Idlewyld Park [where we used to go as kids], and cruised through downtown.

"That's where Pick Hobson's used to be -- That's where The Primadonna used to be."

Maybe it was the snow flurries and the overall cold and darkness, but Reno looked and felt really tired.

I noticed that on more recent visits, it was harder and harder to find those little nuggets of enjoyment - those things that take you back and recapture that feeling of childhood.


The 7-11 has been enveloped by a seedier part of town, Magic Carpet golf is covered in layers of peeling paint, the Liberty Belle restaurant has given way to TGIFriday's, Chili's and Macaroni Grill.

Heck, even 'Bertha and Tina' packed their trunks and left a couple of years ago.

Grandma treated us to dinner at Trader Dick's - a long-time favorite restaurant inside John Ascuaga's Nugget. And we visited for a while more.

At dinner, I found myself feeling glad that Grandma was heading back to Ohio. That Sue and Ken and the girls had headed for greener pastures. Reno certainly isn't the small town that it was in 1969.

But again, back then, Grandparents were the draw. Family was the reason we even went to Reno in the first place and it was the reason we kept going back for 33 years. Without them, Lee Vining, Bridgeport, Lone Pine, they're all just places along the way.

And Reno really just becomes another city.

The next morning, as we hooked into I-80 West and headed for Rocklin, I wouldn't say I was heartsick, or overly emotional - it just felt time to go. In my stomach was a small tug.

A feeling that had something to do with growing up, and moving on - closing a chapter, recapturing an innocent time gone by.

But the feeling drifted rather quickly.

And again, who in his right mind would go to Rocklin? We visited their bright new mall in nearby Roseville. But it was Sue and Ken and Ashley and Nicole who were the draw, and that's who we saw.

And we'll be back.

Living in Ohio, it won't be as convenient to visit Grandma as often, but maybe a trip to the Cleveland area is overdue - along with Aunt Kathy, my older brother and his family live in Ohio.

And while I won't miss the 500 mile drives, I will always appreciate how well Reno treated Grandma and Grandpa. And for that, I'll always have a certain affection for The Biggest Little City in the World.

Thanks Reno!
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