In a little shop in downtown Carson City, an Australian woman and her German dog offer most everything you'd need to have a proper English tea.
"I've always wanted to have a tea shop," Rosemary Nebesky said Dec. 11.
When Nebesky says "always," it means she did other things first, like work at a bank for a number of years then spend a few more as a travel agent.
At 71, she is only two years into her "retirement." Still, five days a week she and dachshund Fritz make their way to the La-Tea-Da Tea Shoppe and sell "wonderful" teas and trinkets and socialize.
Nebesky swears most people just come in to see Fritz, her year-old pup - who's proved in that time that he's the boss. She even had his name stenciled next to "manager" on the shop window.
"Everybody that came in the shop came to see Fritz, it seemed, and I thought he deserved credit."
But it's also as likely patrons stop in for a visit with Nebesky. She is engaging and still has enough of a pretty Australian lilt that people might just like to hear her speak.
She emigrated from Sydney to San Francisco in 1956, then got married and had five children. In 1968, Nebesky's marriage didn't turn out as she planned.
Carson City was appealing, she said, because it was the time of "flower power," and it seemed San Francisco was "not conducive to raising children."
Perhaps it didn't seem such a daunting task going it alone. After all, Nebesky's own mother was single and raised four girls, all while running a hospital.
Though she missed the birds and the water of her motherland, Nebesky settled into the Nevada desert. All of her children graduated from Carson High School. At some point between 1968 and now, when just her youngest son was still at home, the two traveled back to Australia. But the Sierra Nevada called to them.
"I've grown to love this country more than anyplace else. I've been to different places in the world, and I really love Nevada and Carson City in particular," she said.
She served for eight years on the board of the Carson City Symphony, admitting she's a classical music aficionado and used to play the cello.
Because she is just 5 feet tall, she pointed out with a chuckle, hers was a three-quarter cello.
Fritz has a fondness for opera, she said.
"He's such a funny little dog. Whenever I have Maria Telles playing, he sings along with her. He likes the sopranos."
They're quite a pair - Nebesky with her smart blazers and easy manner, and Fritz in a red harness, sniffing at visitors. Together they make La-Tea-Da an inviting find.
As member of the Downtown Business Association, Nebesky was sad to see a nearby shop close its doors recently. And Berit Koskin, owner of Scandia Plus, is selling her unique shop.
But Nebesky points out there are still plenty places to visit, and she hopes people will still shop in downtown.
"I'd just like everyone in Carson to support the old town part of Carson City and the businesses there. It makes for an interesting part of town, and we need to keep it going," she said.
n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.
If you go
WHAT: La-Tea-Da Tea Shoppe
WHEN: Open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
WHERE: 108 W. Telegraph St.