Today we poured our coffee, let Chicago out on her leash, and stepped out into the dust, thinking we were saying goodbye to the Slabs. It was so peaceful in the morning once the sun started to crack over the horizon. As I stood there taking in my surroundings, I was startled to see Connie making her way slowly to our unit.
For almost two days she graciously turned down anything we had tried to offer her, and had kept to herself. As she got closer I could see that in spite of the smile she offered, she seemed unsure of herself. I greeted her and after some small talk I asked if she would like a hot coffee. She said sure! How cool was that. Doug went in and made her a cup with the french vanilla cream we had. Oh she thought that was wonderful! We brought out the chairs and she sat with us. Doug took a leave so that Connie and I could talk. For the next two hours, I sat in my pajamas, while Doug refilled our coffee’s and got to know this fascinating woman. There was something about her that yanked at my heart. She really took to Chicago, and once her shyness wore off, I got to learn more about her and see her wonderful sense of humor.
People started moving about as they usually did, and soon a few of the fellows from church, including the Pastor had come by. Doug offered them a hot coffee and soon we had a small gathering at our unit of people sharing stories. We were getting to know them, and they were getting to know us. I am not sure how many cups of coffee Doug made, but it was a lot. Andrew of course was thrilled to have a morning cup of real tea. No, that is not accurate. I think he may have had two or three 🙂
Around 9:15 we got ready to make our way to church. Today was different than the previous days. Today instead of going into the tent, I sat outside with Connie. After Bible study was over, we talked with Connie, Andrew and the Pastor about our thoughts of wither leaving or heading over to Spyder’s where we might feel safer. I am really not sure how it happened, but we were talked into staying. In the short time I had spent with Connie, along with the morning coffee party we had had, we decided to give it another day. Personally for me, I just couldn’t see us hauling out when I had finally started to get to know Connie.
Doug decided to drive into Brawley, for a few things, while I stayed behind to spend more time with Connie. When he returned we invited everyone from church to join us for a BBQ at lunch time. We really had a great time. Root-beer, Gator Aide, and Dr. Peppers were a hit, but CHEESE turned out to be the best thing we had to offer. Imagine life without a fridge. No cream, milk, cheese, cold drinks, or everyday condiments. I had never given much thought to what it would be like to have or purchase food that did not require refrigeration. Lets not even talk about ice cubes!
Now we had a whack of food with us that we had purchased with some of the funds we had received from MaryAlice, Ann and Carson. We told everyone that we had wanted to do a large BBQ and invite anyone in the Slabs who might want to come for a hot meal. It was decided the Range would be neutral ground and we might get a higher turn out if we held it there. So Andrew took us over to ask Bill if we could use his facilities, and he readily agreed and even offered us the use of his grill. We left it to him to put out the lunch invitation through the Slab FB page and word of mouth.
We spent the rest of the driving around to get photographs, and got to know the caretaker of Salvation Mountain. Niland pays him $150.00 a month to over see the art work and protect it from thoughtless tourists. The freakiest part of his job is that he has to get up at the crack of dawn and go into the Museum (the inner part of the mountain), and clear out rattlers and scorpions before the tourists arrive. Ya couldn’t pay me enough to do that job. What a great guy he is.
Other than that, we basically hung around the unit and I spent more time with Connie. We prepared for the BBQ as best as we could in case more than 20 people showed up. By 6:00 Connie had called it a night and for the first time since our arrival, we stayed outside with Pastor Dave and a couple of the guys and watched Tracer fire from the helicopters over head, listened to the machine guns over at the military range, and marveled at the stars.
We had been invited to go to another jam session and burgers at a place called the Oasis, but we were too tired to go. Every night, there is something going on somewhere in the Slabs. Tonight, we decided that we would close the blinds, and not spend the night watching for flashlights!