I heart Elko, Nevada. I work at JM Capriola’s, and hear conversations like this:
Clerk to shopping buckaroos: “How about some speed burners?”
Buckaroo #1: “What do I need those for? I never catch”
Buckaroo #2: “At least you could see your rope in the fog”
Customers come in and discuss who got bucked off a gentle horse, who got canned at which big outfit, how much snow is piled up on Lamoille Pass, and the cattle market as it applies to one’s ability to buy Christmas presents. Area ranchers use Cap’s as an exchange point. We recently held half a dozen pies and a plastic pumpkin full of Halloween decorations behind the counter awaiting pickup.
A pipe line worker’s wife came into the store at Thanksgiving and marveled that we didn’t have a shopping mall. She’s right! By golly, how can a town survive in contemporary times without a regular mall?! Elko boasts 5 western wear and feed stores, however. I guess that tells a person where the citizens’ interests lie.
It seems Elko is 4 hours from anywhere. It’s a 4-hour drive to Boise, Reno, and Salt Lake City. But then to others, we ARE the destination. People drive over from Winnemucca to purchase items stocked at our Wal-Mart that they can’t find at theirs. To folks in Tuscarora (both of them), Elko is a roaring metropolis. When I’m at home at night, I look a couple miles down the hill to Elko and see a basin full of twinkling lights. It’s just the right amount of lights; they have a definite visible boundary, and the hills to the east and west swallow them up.
Yesterday, Allie came home and asked if I’d noticed the smell of propane wafting around the county. I guess there’s been a gas leak for a few days now, and no one knows what’s causing it. I wasn’t concerned, though. This is Elko – it’s just a little rough. The miners and cowboys who frequent this town boldly look a woman up and down in broad daylight, you can play the slot machines at any grocery store, the smell of cigarette smoke in the casinos will make you sick the next day, and washing clothes at the laundromat takes courage.
I read in the Elko Daily Free Press today that Elko county reported no new murder cases for 2010. See? It’s a friendly place. A person might be scared half to death at times, but you won’t be all the way dead 🙂