A Magical Weekend

Many of you know that Rusty is a man of many surprises. In this edition of Southgate’s weblog, I have the privilege of acting as a guest contributor so I can share with you how my wife Jo Ann and I participated in one of Rusty’s grandest surprises to date. On this occasion, Rusty’s wife Marie, who is often on the receiving end of his fun-filled schemes, did not have a clue what surprises he had up his sleeve. Read on to learn more...

By MICHAEL D. PARROTT (the Drummer) RM-0023 (C4OA)

It all began about three and a half months ago when Rusty called me to ask if my wife and I would like to attend a concert with Marie and him in South Lake Tahoe on the second Saturday in August 2008. The priority was to keep the plan absolutely top secret during the three and a half months leading up to the concert date. My wife Jo Ann was just as excited as I was about the plan so I told Rusty that we’d be very happy to rearrange our schedule and join him in his surprise outing.

Synchronization is the key word that comes to mind when I think of how this whole plan came to an exciting and climatic conclusion. Allow me to describe the highlights starting soon after Jo Ann and I checked into our motel in Virginia City on Friday, August 8.

I showed up at Southgate Coins around noon, totally surprising the whole crew (except for Rusty of course), just in time to join in on Southgate’s traditional “Free-Lunch Friday.” I spent the day viewing and talking about my favorite subject, “CC” coins. I also got an eye-opening lesson on how Curry’s Chronicle was prepared for publication. Then I said goodbye to Marie and the girls, saying that I hoped to see them again before next year.

The next day (Saturday), Rusty told Marie that they needed to go to Lake Tahoe to take their first break in many months after a hectic and challenging summer schedule. Little did Marie know that Jo Ann and I would be secretly waiting at a lakeside Casino when she and Rusty pulled into the parking lot. You should’ve seen the look of utter shock and surprise on Marie’s face when my wife and I stepped out from hiding behind a pillar.

Southgate Coins owners Rusty and Marie have a night out on the town in South Lake Tahoe

Then, the real magic started as we all piled into Rusty’s truck (a Sierra of course!), and began a tour of several locations on Tahoe’s West Shore, which were favorite destination spots of Carson City Mint superintendent James Crawford----the subject of Rusty’s latest book.

After a while, the hunger pangs began to set in, so Rusty suggested we get a bite to eat and although it was Saturday evening right in the middle of tourist season, he said we might be able to get a table at a casino coffee shop.

Surprise of all surprises, we went to Harrah’s 18th-floor steak house, Friday’s Station, and I “talked the maitre d” into giving us a lake-view table, even though the restaurant was packed and they were not taking any new reservations. What Marie didn’t know, was that Rusty had commissioned me to make reservations a week earlier to ensure that we’d get seated.

Southgate Coins owners Rusty and Marie dine at Friday’s Station in South Lake Tahoe

After a scrumptious dinner, complete with much mirth and good humor, the biggest surprise yet was about to be revealed to Marie. Rusty and I suggested that we relax in a casino’s lounge and listen to the house band. We moved from Harrah’s to the Montbleu and shuffled our way amongst a large throng of people into the “lounge.” Of course it really wasn’t a lounge but instead the Montbleu’s main showroom.

Up to that point, we’d all done a clever job of distracting Marie from seeing the marquee, so she still had no idea what she was in for as we were seated in our practically front-row seats. Then at 9:02 p.m. the opening-act performer, David Jacobs-Strain, appeared on stage and announced that he would play a few songs before headliner, Boz Scaggs, came out to entertain us. With tears in her eyes, Marie gasped in disbelief! Boz Scaggs, you see, is one of Marie’s all-time favorite musician-singers. She had no idea that he was even coming to the area, let alone know that she would be seeing him in concert.

Rusty and Marie go to a concert in South Lake Tahoe with C4OAer Michael Parrott

But Rusty knew. In fact, he knew four and a half months earlier, when he purchased four tickets to this most magical of concerts. From that time until last Saturday night, he executed his surprise plan---with my wife’s and my assistance---like an agent on the Mission Impossible team.

Coin shop owners have a night out on the town in Lake Town

I must say that my wife and I were honored and pleased to be a part of the whole thrilling project. If Rusty were ever again to ask us if we wanted to accept such an assignment, we would unhesitatingly tell him, “Please count us in.”

...So Rusty...”when’s the next mission?”