Life springs out of the most amazing barren places. From the highest mountains to the bottom of the deep blue sea, you will see life in one form or another make it's presence known. It should be no surprise therefore, that flowers bloom in the desert. I know it's true for we have our own desert rose here in Lovelock. She is Rosaline Mateas, affectionately known by all as "Rosie".

She is a tough little gal to keep up with. From riding in the parade as grand marshal of Frontier Days, to helping put on the Portuguese Festival, she pops up everywhere. From the pages of our local newspaper to the lady sitting next to me, riding the Senior bus to Reno, wouldn't you know, it's Rosie! She is always on the go. It could be a phase she's going through, you see, she's only 94! Rose was a farm girl, born and raised here. She is the daughter of Azores, Portuguese parents who pioneered and helped establish our community. She has gone from raising a family, serving her church, volunteering at the Senior Center and on and on. Rosie has done it all. There are lots of ways one can describe Rosie. Thoughts like legend of her time, energizer rabbit and salt of the earth come to mind. She has a quick smile, a twinkle in her eye and a pleasant word for all.

Even though I'm Irish, born and raised, I have a special place in my heart for the Portuguese. My Dad passed away many years ago on the Big Island of Hawaii. About a year thereafter, my Mom remarried a local Portuguese rancher named Henry Enos. He was one of the most decent, honest men I ever met. He was known far and wide. Everyone loved him. He and Rosie would have gotten along great, had they met. They would have so much in common, work ethic, tradition and culture. Pure living history you could say. I can easily imagine listening to their stories.

After my Mom passed, Henry lived on in good health up till near the end. He passed away at the ripe old age of 101. He truly was a legend of his time. There is something so noble and special about our elders.

In many cultures they are greatly revered, as they should be. They have laid the groundwork and paved the way for us to enjoy a good life here today. They have survived the ups and downs and adventures of life and are still here to tell about it all. Listening to them, I think you will get a better rendition of the past than reading about it in history books.

One such story comes to mind that Henry told me.....His father was a Portuguese sailor, not by choice, he was forced into it. Life on the high seas was a life of slavery and a floating hell for him. and his shipmates. One day their ship sailed in by the Kona Coast of Hawaii. His Dad had never seen such a beautiful paradise. There and then he and two of his mates decided to jump ship. They did and escaped inland. Local Hawaiian families helped the three fugitives hide while the ship had a price on their heads and searched for them.

Each morning when they arose, they would look down from the hilltop, to Kealakaua Bay, to see if the ship was still there. One morning when they looked, it was gone They were free men. They all went on to marry Hawaiian girls, flourish and prosper and have great lives in Hawaii.

When you see Rosie, ask her if she has such stories. Try to record them, for you see, the truth is many times better than fiction.

Dan O' Connor. He is a resident of Lovelock and can be reached