If you’re lucky, you will encounter a precious few amazingly gifted individuals. So awesome are they that the possibility of their deaths never occurs to you. Not once.
Such a rarity was Blaine Sullivan Rose who died on January 26 at age 65. I first met overachieving beautiful Blainie during my maiden voyage at the Nevada legislature in 1973.
She was the most spectacular woman in the house, an intern driving the old men crazy just by walking down the hall. I first compared her to Shirley McLaine’s Irma La Douce character because of her elegant green eyeshadow outlined by jet-black hair and alabaster skin. I finally settled on Cleopatra because of her regal command of every room she graced. She was more striking than Elizabeth Taylor and way too cool to ever request that I stop calling her Cleo.
A psychology prof once told me that the gifted are usually gifted in every way. Cleo scored perfect straight A’s at UNR and won the prestigious Herz Medal. Why she became a CPA, I never figured out.
She lived a real-life version of Cleopatra with movie-star handsome former Washoe DA and Lt. Governor Bob Rose playing Marc Antony. Cleo and Bob would have been the most gorgeous couple ever to reside in the Nevada governor’s mansion and they would have been very good for a state headed into a severe recession in 1979. Alas and alack, the gambling-industrial complex installed a one-term mediocrity instead.
It took me awhile to sort out why I was hit so hard by the passing of a woman I knew only casually from politics and have seen perhaps twice in the past two decades.
At its most basic, the loss of true beauty always tears me up. Cleo, however, occupied higher levels. First, pure fan worship. Although we hardly knew each other, I could not help but admire such a spectacular individual. To me, she was a rock star whose charismatic presence never intimidated. I always relaxed talking politics with her.
So how come she hit me like few others? Because she was the sister I wish I’d had.
That never came home to me until I remembered a conversation I had with my erstwhile fiancé a half-century ago.
We met when I was a broken hearted teen and I wondered how I could have been so stupid.
“You didn’t have any sisters,” observed the future clinical psychologist.
I never wanted a sister until I thought about Cleo’s departure. I would have grown up a lot smarter with her in the family. I’ve never encountered anyone before or since who made me miss having a sister.
I revel in your memory, Cleopatra. Long live the queen.
POLITICAL CHEAP SHOTS: Greg Smith, husband of the late Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, is running for Republican Washoe County Commissioner Jeanne Herman’s north valleys seat. Smith joins Lindsy Judd in the June Democratic primary. A Republican is reportedly mounting a primary challenge against Ms. Herman…I no longer exist. My copy of the January 2017 AT&T residential white pages finally arrived last week. I’ve had a listed number in Nevada since 1969 but no more. The 2018 directory won’t be available until summer. Until then, Ma Bell has wiped me off the face of the earth. Whatever I did, I’m sorry.
CHEAP SHOTS PART DEUX: REVENGE! Organized labor roasts retiring Sparks union leader Todd Koch into retirement on Feb. 24 at Circus Circus-Reno. To partake in the final opportunity to get in your licks, hie thee to the front page of NevadaLabor.com/ (He still expects us to believe he’s not related to those other Kochs.)
OLYMPIC BRAINSTORM. Basketball hall of famer Charles Barkley said “curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now.”
I have resolved his concern. How about Olympic cross-county curling? Macho enough for ya, Sir Charles?
SPEAKING OF GRANDMOTHERS, Reno-Sparks NAACP matriarch and former president Dolores Feemster continues her remarkable recovery at Advanced Healthcare, 961 Kuenzli (89502), next door to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Send lots of Valentines even if late.
TWO-MILE LONG OVERCOMPENSATION: The reason Czar Donaldov wants a military parade, according to NPR’S “Wait, wait don’t tell me” weekend laugh fest.
Finally, it all makes sense.
Love and kisses.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <email@example.com>