Shortly after my nearly fatal heart attack of 1992, from which I was saved by quintuple by-pass surgery, I experienced, as part of the one-two punch, a devastating depression that nearly sank me. Oh, I had no inclination to rise up from my bed and slit my own throat, but life looked bleaker than it had any right to look, given all the blessings that had been showered on my head from birth. In despair, I visited my regular Nevada doctor, Mitch Magruder, and he prescribed a miracle drug, Zoloft, for my irrational depression. I've never in my life taken a mood-altering drug, but, half an hour after I'd swallowed that drug, I had the feeling of a light going on in my head. In retrospect, I believe it saved my sanity. Thanks, Mitch.
Unfortunately, as I've come to learn, depression is like the seven-year locusts: it just won't leave you alone. I've learned that my father's adult life, before there was such a thing as a drug that fought the psychic affliction, was ruined by a crippling depression. For me, this go-round the miracle drug is called Provigil, and I don't know how long it will shed its grace on me, but I'm sold on its ability to let me live the life I want to live, in the spirit I was born with.
For months I've meant to write a note of congratulations to Greg Hoffman for saving the old Carnegie library, in its prime real estate, from demolition, which must be the fate of at least 50 percent of such structures. Before Mr. Hoffman came along, I envisaged a Casey's or worse in a solid brick building that had once held Shakespeare and Homer and Faulkner. Nothing says as much about a municipality, I think, as the appearance of its public buildings. Are they solid stone and brick, denoting permanence, or are they tarpaper shacks? Mr. Hoffman's building speaks volumes about Nevada, all of them good. Driving from midtown Nevada into its suburbs (Hey, that's a joke, folks), where we live, I couldn't help noticing the trees on our property at North Spring and the sweet, fresh, albeit blazing hot air. As I got out of the car and opened our front door to welcome Harry and Boots, our two adopted black cats, both of whom had their noses pressed against the relatively cool glass screen door, I stopped suddenly to wonder where my true roots lay. (I get some of my best thinking done inside my aluminum walker.) I've lived here in Nevada for more than thirty years, five more than I ever lived in New York. And yet I know I'll never learn to be a native Nevadan; the NYC is too much in my bones and psychic makeup. I think urban. Don't forget, I'm a shameless Democrat. Yet I believe, in all these years, I've learned to love the Nevada people and property where Ginny and I, and Robert W. Palmer, our master carpenter friend, rebuilt and improved some twenty Nevada houses, returning them all to respectability, not to mention profitability. In addition, we're farm-owners now: our 85-acre pecan farm, and our 10-acre stone house spread. That's become part of our identities. If Ginny, Jessica, and I had continued to live in New York City, we couldn't have done that.
New York City, like any other city, is for the young. I'd hate now to battle the crowds that are so much a part of the city, and that were so appealing to me as a young man . I'd hate to install the locks and protection systems that are an integral part of city life now. And, above all, I'd hate to have to pay the $2,500 for the $125 apartment we lived in in Kew Gardens, out on Long Island. Yes, I think I'll hang my hat here in Nevada, Mo.
I hadn't planned on staying here so long, but it's a nice old place, after all.
Wife Ginny agrees.