After a wild night at the Ponderosa Hotel, Emily and I collapsed in our hotel room at the Gold Hill Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in the State of Nevada. I played my ukulele, strumming a few chords, and Emily was out while I sat on the bed for a few more minutes strumming the newly learned chords on the ukulele which my guy friend Mike Halloran had given me. In the dim light of our room with the two double beds with old-fashioned bed frames and the wallpaper with the flower and deer design, I played music and thought of my life – where will we be in another month? It’s another life upheaval once again, having to move in 30 days. I wondered what it would be like to settle down and stay in one place for a long time – if it would ever happen for me or if I’d forever be like a gypsy moving about, even in the same town. What if I could stay right here at the Gold Hill Hotel outside Virginia City in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where you can see millions of stars at night and there’s no traffic on the main drag in the middle of the night, so you can dance in the streets?
No, life has to go on. We’ll find another place to live and it’ll somehow work out – and the story of our lives will continue because it always does.
I put my ukulele down, leaning it carefully against the wall close to my bed and prepared to go to sleep, but it took me a while to fall asleep. Emily snored softly in the other bed. We’d both agreed that it was weird that the ceiling fan was moving backwards on its own and it wasn’t even on – that it was kind of creepy even. I’d heard the ghost stories, and the very hotel and room we were in had its own set of stories, spirits, memories even.
As I lay in the semi-darkness with the light of the half-moon casting a slight glow in the room because I’d opened the shades and the curtains, I thought of all the memories and the ghosts of the past – feeling them all around me. It took a while for me to fall asleep.
The next morning, Emily was awake before me, getting ready to go downstairs for the continental breakfast, and then we’d head off to the Hippie Parade which we heard was more of a “blink and you miss it” parade.
I’d been so excited to read of a Hippie Parade when I visited Virginia City two months earlier with my daughter Megan and her boyfriend. I made reservations to return right away for the weekend of what I thought would be a huge parade with festivities afterwards.
But the spunky lady at the first of many saloons we’d visited the night before had shouted, “Last year, the hippies forgot to show up for their own parade! Guess they were too stoned!” A bunch of people sitting at the bar started to laugh as we ate our hot dogs and I drank my diet coke at the bar – the best place to sit.
Oh well – I’m sure somebody would remember the Hippie Days parade – we also found out that just because it was supposed to start at noon, that didn’t mean anything. Things happened in their own time in and around Virginia City. That was all right with me.