The Wizard of Windy Hill is rarely seen in person. Only a few people in the last century have had that experience and it was rather spooky.
The Wizard of Windy Hill lives in a mansion above the road. Windy Hill is on a back road that circles up around Reno, Nevada, southwest of the city. We usually take that road when heading home to avoid heavy traffic down on the main boulevards. It is a peaceful drive overlooking suburban farms below and huge mansions, some with private vineyards, up behind Windy Hill. Yet at night it is very different. There is an aura of mystery and unseen activity going on.
There is one mansion, the most beautiful and the most mysterious, for, although it is well kept and lit up at night, there is never any sign of anyone actually living there. Many believe the Wizard lives there. It is similar to an Italiante architectural home with the softer look and features of a Spanish style. It is enormous and sits high on the edge of the hill, overlooking the whole valley. From Windy Hill it is the back side of the mansion we see. Its elegant terrace is larger than my entire apartment.
Once a year, on the Fourth of July, Windy Hill is so packed with people that the entire road is filled with parked cars for at least two miles. It is the best place in Reno to see all the fireworks. It is also the place where a lot of strange happenings go on that particular night.
People have searched half the night for their cars and found them much further away than they remembered. An old man dressed in dark clothing out of time and a floppy hat has been seen by many people as he wanders up and down the road. He disappears when someone points him out to others. He has been seen standing up on the terrace of the mansion, often holding up a stick of some kind, maybe a wand? Then a few seconds later will be back on the road or in the little park where the crowd is gathered. Arguments have broken out among the people when personal items are missing and found with someone else who had no clue how they came to have it.
I almost could have lived in that mansion at one time, many years ago when I first came to Reno. I was looking for a job and saw a classified ad for a caregiver. If I remember right the ad read: “I am an old man who lives alone in a huge mansion high on a hill. I will give a woman ten million dollars if she will live here and take care of me and be my assistant.” When I told a friend about the ad, she said that man has run the ad at least once a year for several years now.
Apparently no one ever applied for the caregiver job. The mansion is still as beautiful as ever, but no one is ever seen there, except on the night of the Fourth and only on the terrace.
My brother and I joined the crowd on the Fourth, but never did so again. We stayed in our car watching the crowd more so than the fireworks. When the wizard stopped and asked my brother if we would be so kind as to join him on the terrace, we left.
We are anxious to hear if the Wizard of Windy Hill appears this year on the Fourth.
Darn! I could have had ten million dollars if only I applied for the job he advertised.
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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