In new year, we'll missold friends

2005, I cannot believe it! It is a time to write a new year on our checks, a time for New Year's resolutions and a time to reflect on the past year. In reflecting on 2004, I cannot help but think of our friends who will not be joining us for 2005.

Adele Abowd will not be with us in 2005. As co-owner and hostess of Adele's Restaurant, she was the queen of Carson City, ruling over her subjects in matters of decorum and good taste. Her insistence on a doily under every plate was the subject of much good humor. Her nickname, bestowed upon her by Tom "Downtown" Brown was "Mother Superior," which I always assumed was because she would not abide bad behavior or bad language in Adele's.

There was no need for security when she was on the premises, but underneath her imposing upswept hairdo and her dignified carriage was a warm sense of humor and a heart of gold

Another heart of gold left us in November when Bob McFadden surfed into the great ocean beyond. My husband and I met Bob in 1975 when they were both starting in real estate. Bob was working nights stocking the shelves at Raley's south of town and selling real estate during the day.

At that time, he lived in a shed and rented out his house to tenants for additional income. He soon focused on selling "wobbly-boxes," as my husband call manufactured housing when he wanted to give Bob a hard time. The wobbly-box business was good and before too long, he was a member of Mother Superior's flock at Adele's, his ebullient personality providing an ongoing challenge for Adele's "mothering" skills.

Just before Christmas, another fun guy, Laury Lewis, left us for the great party in the sky. At a Soroptimist Sweepstakes Dinner once, I was talking to Laury and the band began playing a polka. He grabbed me and we danced the polka round and round until we were both out of breath.

He had the good sense to marry into the Tatro family, so there were lots of people at his funeral. Judge John Tatro told some wonderful stories about the pranks that Laury was famous for pulling and about Laury's role in the family as a friend, father and confidant. Although I knew Laury socially, I also knew him professionally, and in addition to being fun, I can attest to his native intelligence, his integrity and his intellect.

Ruth Mulvaney departed in December. She was the grandmother of the little neighbor when our daughter was small. She was nicknamed "Mo-Mo" by her granddaughters and I can't remember ever calling her Ruth. She loved the 49ers and if we didn't watch the game together, there was always a call afterwards to dissect and analyze the action for that Sunday.

After her party days were done, she joined a swim aerobics class at the community center. Due to her huge personality, she quickly made friends and became a part of that social circle. Several years ago, when Mo-Mo was in her 80s, I read a letter to the editor about a group of women, who after water aerobics, went to the Creekside Café for breakfast. They were described as loud and unruly. I knew immediately that he was writing about Mo-Mo - God love her.

Just days before Christmas, Armi Olsen skied off to the heavenly slopes. I met Armi when she was the co-owner of Armi's at the Bonanza Ranch, the predecessor to what is now the Glen Eagles Restaurant.

We bonded on a week-long ski trip to Telluride in 1994 with Gayle Robertson and Linda Bellegray. In true Armi fashion, she brought a case of wine and was upset that we didn't drink it all before the week was over. Her dimpled smile, her Filipino accent, her colorful vocabulary, her love of hospitality be it food, libation or conversation, her constant generosity, and her honesty made her a gift to all that us that to knew her.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after she left Carson City in 1996. She fought it to a draw several times and, amazingly, she remained hopeful to the end. Linda and I visited Armi in the Berkshires in September after the cancer had spread to her bones and liver. Armi had decided to move to her mother's home in Las Vegas for her "recovery" so she had us ship her skis, golf clubs, and fencing equipment to Las Vegas. In her last letter to me, just a few days before her death, she asked me to teach her to play bridge.

So given all of this, I have made my New Year's resolution. I am eating more cake this year. I like cake and when the low fat craze started, I jumped on and cake became off limits.

Yes, I know this goes against the grain; we are supposed to go on a diet after New Year's. But I decided that it was important to enjoy the small and large pleasures of our earthbound state each and every day until we pass to the next and join the good people who have preceded us.

With that thought, I wish you a prosperous and happy New Year with lots of cake in the upcoming year.

Linda Johnson is a 29-year resident of Carson City, a wife, mother and retired attorney. She is not a nutritionist so any dietary advice in this column is disavowed by this publication.


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