Reason to Believe

contribs-greg-grandmaOn April 28, my grandmother, Lillian Dubin, turns 100. I have been blessed with a lifetime of her warmth, her stories, her example: kindness amid adversity, good humor in the face of time’s thousand slights, a gentle contentment that signifies not complacency but an appreciation of the long view. One day not long ago, we went out to the yard of her assisted-living facility and sat together beneath the noontime sun. Grandma looked upward, closed her eyes; her soft skin became luminous with the light, with delight. A few feet away from us, a male Chihuahua was getting fresh with an enormous German shepherd. The shepherd kept walking away, circling around, trying to grab a moment’s peace. Finally, it cozied up to my grandmother. Grandma looked down from the sun and smiled. “I don’t know how she puts up with it,” she said.

Endurance is the quietest of glories, but beneath its placid surface it harbors nimbleness, toughness, creativity, wisdom. The notion of endurance runs throughout this issue of Vegas Seven. T.R. Witcher shares the story of the architect Windom Kimsey, who saw his firm, Tate Snyder Kimsey, take repeated body blows during the recession and decided to fight back, taking his creativity to China, where his magnificent towers are now rising in the industrial center of Shenzhen. Stacy J. Willis introduces us to a homeless woman named Ronda who is given tickets to see the magician Criss Angel and emerges with childlike delight at Angel’s ability to transform the world into something unearthly, to break the weighty rules of reality, to make things disappear. The story is suffused with the magical thinking that leavens a hard life—and with somber appreciation of the vanishing acts that keep us one step ahead of the darkness.

Meanwhile, politics columnist Michael Green introduces us to another kind of magical thinking: the hope that Nevada can still dream big and follow through. He wonders, with some delight of his own, what it would mean to have a high-speed rail line linking Northern and Southern Nevada. In Dispatch, our Reno correspondent Pat McDonnell gives us a glimpse into a city that has suffered a series of economic range fires over the past 15 years—from the growth of Northern California Indian gaming to the Great Recession—and yet sees brighter days ahead.

Yes, it’s circular reasoning, but I’ll say it anyway: Long live endurance!

And enjoy the ride.

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Editor's Note: This is a piece Ryan Greene originally wrote for Yahoo! Sports. The 2011-12 season didn't leave teams in the western half of the United States with plenty to brag about when all was said and done. Sure, the Mountain West Conference continued its emergence as a legitimate basketball power, earning four NCAA tournament bids for the second time in three years. The West Coast Conference isn't far behind, either.