There used to be this Pizza place in Ely, Nevada named “My Papa’s Pizza” and I used to order from them frequently when I was in town visiting Jeremy back in the mid 2000s (especially when I was snowed in and stuck in town for days). They have since closed, but I remember that they would drop my pizza off at the front desk and the front desk agent, who was very familiar with my presence around the hotel(which is now called The Prospector, but back then was a Holiday Inn), would bring the pizza to my room. I remembered this little piece of personal pizza history randomly the other day while I was wondering if I would ever write another blog post again. After I started to think about the pizza place and the former Holiday Inn, now Prospector hotel, a flood of memories surrounding those earlier years of visiting started to come rushing in. Mostly I remembered that time in my life, that time in my adventure with Jeremy, at this point in my life, because I remember people being kind to me. Not a “fake smile” sort of kind, but a genuine appreciation for my story and what I was there for.
You see, everyone at the hotel knew who I was and who I was in town to see. Word tends to get around and to this day, I`m not entirely sure how. My best guess is that someone at the prison was in contact with someone at the hotel, or something along those lines. Anyway, people knew me and people knew who Jeremy was and they really were just kind to me, not because they had anything to gain but because sometimes life hands us a wild hand of cards and we play the fuck out of that hand even though we know the experience isn`t going to be the best and we might not come out ahead in the early stages of the game, or ever.
I knew the people at the old Holiday Inn by name, they would take me to and from the small Ely airport, when once upon a time, Scenic Airlines used to fly from North Las Vegas to Ely (it has since ceased this route and I find I strange and sort of cosmic that is ceased around the time I no longer needed those flights).They would shuttle me around to and from the airport and to and from the prison, until one day they just started to let me take “the Caddy”(the company Cadillac) on my own. They even left the keys under the driver’s side mat a few times and parked it at the airport so that when I arrived I could just drive myself to the hotel. I had become, strangely, some part of the Holiday Inn and I have a fondness for the building, even to this day.
There used to be a manager there named Dan and I remember him turning to me once while we were stopped at a red light on the way to Ely State Prison and he asked me if anyone had given me a hard time about who I was visiting out at the prison. I said no, and I wasn’t being entirely dishonest because no one ever SAID anything to me, but I did have one front desk clerk, at the beginning, give me the side eye about my adventures in Ely. Dan told me that if anyone ever said anything to me that I should let him know immediately because he wasn’t going to let anyone give me shit about my life choices, that is wasn’t their business, and that although life is sometimes crazy, that he believed in the goodness of people deep down, that he believed people made mistakes and that ultimately he believed in second chances and forgiveness.
That conversation has stuck with me all these years later, along with the memory of getting my grilled cheese and mashed potatoes (I really do love some weird food combinations) comped on a regular basis by Patrick at the hotel. Those memories stick with me because those people were so kind to me and they didn`t have to be. They could follow the small town rule of casting me out as a freak, or an outsider. They could eyeroll me so hard that I felt their contempt and ultimately they could have said some pretty nasty things to me, like people online have said to me, but they didn`t. They never did. They let their kindness and their willingness to listen and try to understand come first and I am so grateful for that.