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Tales of Nevada’s futures passed
by Andrew Barbano
Jun 03, 2012 | 822 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Travus T. Hipp’s Silver City memorial service was peopled by “faces that could have lived a hundred years ago or a hundred years from now. Hats and flowers, purples and paisleys, beards and tears. I felt part of a loving family sending a member on a journey.”

So I wrote in my 1993 remembrance of Lynne Hughes, Travus’ rock star lady who died of cancer. The same miasma descended under the rains of the Comstock last Saturday as we laid the greatest talk show host in the world next to his beloved, a stone’s throw from the auld church they called their home for decades.

The longtime Tribune columnist and my much-longer friend died on May 18. We stood in a circle on the steep hillside and remembered this complex and compelling soul.

Some of the 100-plus in attendance included Travus’ former radio colleague Bruce Van Dyke, historian Guy Louis Rocha, former Tribune reporter and current Reno News & Review news editor Dennis Myers, former Washoe County Assessor Bob McGowan, KUNR newsman Steve Funk, Nevada author David Toll and legendary nationally syndicated cartoonist Dan O’Neill (“Odd Bodkins”). Hipp and O’Neill covered the 1973 American Indian Movement occupation at Wounded Knee, S.D., for San Francisco’s KSAN.

The most moving music was provided by Kristi Murkovich, a neighbor and caregiver, who spontaneously broke into “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”  The most I could manage was to haltingly speak one verse from The Grateful Dead’s “Ripple.”

As people slowly drifted back toward the community center, I noted one very beautiful and very emotional raven-haired young woman energetically shoveling soil onto the great one’s grave: his granddaughter, who had brought her husband and children to say goodbye.

A bearded mountain man handed me a spade. For the only time in my life, I shoveled earth on someone’s resting place. Before I left, I committed reverse-Judaism. The Jewish custom is to place a pebble on a headstone. I took a pyramid-shaped rock with me.

Country music superstar and Comstock resident Lacy J. Dalton sang at the reception afterward, as did Tommy Thomsen who renders a mean “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

I have since been informed that one of Travus’ final wishes was to have the ladies of Silver City craft a quilt out of his well-worn personal T-shirt collection, including some true collector’s items. They’ve got 25 or so. I’ll keep you posted.

Corrections Dept.

Two of Travus’ descendants emphatically informed me that his actual name was Chandler Atchison Laughlin, Jr., not Chandler III. I’ve so noted at the ever-expanding Travus memorial section, but try to correct a few thousand websites.

Last week, I also reprinted verbatim an undated handwritten note Travus gave me with a union application to join the Industrial Workers of the World (aka The Wobblies). He noted the Comstock Wobblies contact which I misspelled despite best efforts to read the great one’s handwriting.

Well, Bum “Weasel” Allander was present in Silver City last Saturday, automatic pistol sticking out from his bum. He led the 21-gun salute for his Navy veteran friend. As Travus would have liked it, the cannonade was done with live ammo.

Blind Leading the Blind Dept.

There are too many inexperienced greenhorns selling themselves as campaign consultants these days. Instance in point: the effort of Washoe County commissioner and current Reno City Council candidate Kitty Jung. For all the swill the Washoe County Republican Party has stirred up in a titular non-partisan race, Jung’s response has been flamingly flaccid.

The online Reno Kazoo-Journal published for several weeks that her principal opponent, Neoma Jardon, violated election law by failing to file campaign expense reports with the secretary of state. Jung’s campaign sat shiva.

Worse, she has been victimized by KRNV TV-4’s conversion to a grocery story tabloid news format. Jung has not helped by stonewalling the press, another testament to poor campaign management. However, she could have undercut TV-4’s credibility by pointing out one hard, cold fact: The first Jung hatchet job came at the beginning of the Nielsen rating period. The latest came just before the Nielsens ended.

As Don Henley so memorably sang, “We love to cut you down to size, we love dirty laundry.”

Too bad we are deprived of Travus T. Hipp to help us sort it out.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano was a colleague of Travus T. Hipp in print and on the air. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. Contact him at
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