Walking Companions by Jill Flanzraich
My husband and I were born in New York City. In 1994, we relocated to Las Vegas. When our daughter enrolled in the UNR Reynold’s Journalism School in 2003 we met Reno. I recall admiring the Truckee on March 3, 2006 when our daughter took us to dinner at Wild River Grille to celebrate my husband’s 62nd birthday. We retired in 2007 and spent summers at Lake Tahoe. In 2012 we moved to Sparks. We followed the Truckee by car, Amtrak, or Megabus. With each journey we relished following the water.
In 2013 my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 duodenal cancer. “Yes, I want to live downtown,” he told me when I suggested we downsize from a house to a condo.
“I want to hear the city noise and live by the river.” Shortly after we moved to a condo. As long as his health cooperated a day did not pass that we’d walk down West Street to the Truckee. His pace would slow, and eventually he used a walker, but that was his favorite excursion. We walked through the concrete park, strolled the Riverwalk for as long as his energy would hold out, and then settled into a bench along the Riverwalk Theater retail stores. He’d sit for as long as he could and listen to the water. “When I feel up to it, next Spring I will bring out my fishing poles,” he told me.
By that next Spring his cancer had overcome his body. The walks became shorter and eventually stopped. After 35 years of marriage I lost my Truckee River walking companion. I still live downtown. I walk the Riverwalk and always stop to settle into our bench, recalling how proud he was that he conquered cancer almost daily by walking to the Truckee.