An icky reminder to slow down

Work on the Merci boxcar is complete and it is on display at the Nevada Railroad Museum. The boxcar, filled with gifts was one of 49 sent to the United States by France in 1949 as a thank-you for the Liberation and helping to rebuild after World War II.

Dave Parsons and Tod Jennings led the fund-raising efforts to restore the boxcar, and with the help of many volunteers completed the restoration work.

Museum Director John Ballweber says the boxcar is as beautiful as it was the day it came off the boat from France.

I saw former Tahoe Township Justice of the Peace Steven McMorris at the Genoa Post Office on Monday.

Steven is serving as a replacement judge in Carson City and Douglas County, enjoying the work, especially since he doesn't have to run the court, just make decisions.

He's living in Genoa Lakes now and is still a special master, one of the coolest titles this side of grand poobah.

I first met Steven when he was attorney for the Douglas County School Board. In addition to being Tahoe Township Justice of the Peace, he also served as Douglas County District Attorney.

Shirley of Dayton wrote us a letter saying that on Oct. 21, she pulled onto Highway 50 behind a Nevada Department of Transportation truck with a dead horse in the back.

"I know that has to be one of the hardest jobs to do and I feel for the guys that have to do it," she wrote. "However, I feel a little discretion on their part was called for, as the horse wasn't all the way in the truck and its head was hanging over the tail gate. As an adult I could handle this, but I hate to think what a child must think if they had to see it."

Shirley believes there should be dignity in death for animals as well as humans.

I don't disagree, but seeing a dead horse in the back of a pickup is one way to remind us motorists that there are things besides other drivers to look out for on the roads.

The most dangerous large mammal in North America is not the polar bear or the cougar. It is that ubiquitous herbivore, the deer.

When Don Minnifie was still alive and living in Genoa, he dragged a dead dear over to the 25 mph sign sitting along Jacks Valley Road and tried to get me to take a picture of it.

Much as I was sympathetic with his cause, I was working at The Record-Courier and I knew we wouldn't run the photo if the deer had actually been hit and landed next to the speed limit sign all on its own.

The biggest dead thing I've ever seen taken off the road was a bear. An NDOT crew in Gardnerville invited me over to inspect the beast, which had been killed in an accident that totaled the vehicle involved.

I gave them my film after I failed to sell Sheila Gardner, my editor at the time, on running a picture.

I didn't disagree with her decision, but I understand why the guys wanted me to take pictures of the bear.

It doesn't get any easier for the people who have to clean up the roads to deal with the death and destruction. Displaying the carcass is a way for them to take action toward preventing future deaths, both of people and animals.

And a dead horse takes up a lot of room in the back of a pickup.

Kurt Hildebrand is former managing editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 887-2430, ext. 402 or e-mail him at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment