Don Costar is a third generation Nevada native. He grew up in Mina and Hawthorne.
Grandma and Grandpa lived in Jarbidge while he was operating a
newspaper there. Grandma said that the shack they lived in had a wood
stove on the back porch where she would cook meals in the open. The
shack was under a tramway, where the ore buckets traveled overhead
during the day shift. The buckets would sometimes be so full that
gravel and dirt would trickle down onto her stove and the roofs of
the shacks. She got pretty peeved when she had to pick gravel out of
the rabbit or venison stew.
She told my Grandpa that she wasn't cooking any more meals under those raining rocks until he put a roof over that porch. She said he got some of the miners to help and they tore down an old tool shed at the mine and built her a roof with walls and a door. She said that night Grandpa got about half liquored up and cracked a whiskey bottle over the stove with, "I Christen Thee Maggie's Kitchen." She said she was really angry at him for having to clean up the broken glass, but I remembered she smiled when she told the story. Couldn't help herself, I guess, realizing in retrospect the humor of it.
Did those miners and their families live in poverty and want, with no luxuries, no running water, or electricity? They didn't seem to notice things they did not have -- only the things they did have. Grandma said the wives all helped each other with laundry and cooking. They shared a lot, and watched over each other's kids. There's a lesson there. . . Maybe something about counting our blessings?
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