When I was a kid growing up on the Comstock Lode, I really looked forward to the Storey County Christmas Party. Every year the community would hold a party and I was one of the dozens of kids who would sing and enjoy hot apple cider. I remember fondly walking across the stage in the basketball gym to get my present from Santa Claus.
Old School Storey County Christmas Parties
For three years in a row, the gift I got from the generous people of Storey County was far better than any gift under my own tree. I remember one particular winter when things were particularly grim. My dad wrote an article in Westways Magazine in August but the cash had still not arrived by mid-December. The propane was long gone, and the cabinets were getting bare. The Washoe Zephyr whipped through the visquine covered windows and the pipes were, once again, frozen solid. The makeshift outhouse was out of toilet paper, but luckily, we had plenty of newspaper. Things were, let’s just say, somewhat bleak. But as kids, we remained calm and carried on.
The day after the Storey County Christmas Party was one of my happiest days as a kid. I received a battery-powered airplane attached to a hand-held tether, and I played with that plane all day. I literally flew that plane until it fell into pieces. It was a blast. I don’t know the details about how the party was organized or who paid for that airplane, but it was a truly magical night.
For those of you who don’t know, Storey County’s annual Christmas Party is tonight. While nobody reads the Comstock Comical anymore, the county has actually made an effort to let folks in the outer communities know they can come to VC and enjoy the sumptuous spread, this year provided by our peerless foodies Richard Oats and Alexia Sober of the Canvas Cafe.
The party starts at 5:30 at the Pipers Opera House.
Last year I went to the Storey County Christmas Party with Commissioner Elect Jay Carmona. We counted 6 non-county employees/spouses among the 60-70 people, including ourselves. I wrote a piece critical of the party when I learned the county spent $6226.23 on a party that county employees primarily enjoyed. Rather than organizing a family event like the one I attended as a kid in Mark Twain, The Highlands, and Lockwood, the County is hosting an open bar for mostly County Employees to enjoy.
Hopefully, more non-County employees will attend tonight. But the notion that the taxpayers will be footing an event where free drugs are provided (Yes Virginia, booze is a drug, just like weed) should concern all residents. Not because it is primarily enjoyed by County employees, not because it isn’t family oriented, not because it is a Virginia City only event, but because the booze is free. I stopped buying booze at my company Christmas parties after the first year because of the legal liability. We see parks without swingsets because of liability issues, but somehow the whole free booze/liability thing hasn’t dawned on the folks in the Courthouse and the District Attorney’s office.
Let’s Have a Christmas Party Everyone Can Enjoy.
Perhaps next year we can stop providing county employees with free booze and instead provide a Christmas Party for the families of all communities in the county. Next year, ask me to organize it. With the help of the companies at TRIC and others, the party won’t cost the taxpayers a dime.
Merry Christmas, and I’ll see you at the party tonight.
Sincerely, Sam “The Grinch” Toll