Back In the Slabs Again!
April 8th – 2019
As the temperatures begin to rise again, we are reminded why so many who have the means, leave the Slabs about this time of year. Slabbers call it the mass Exodus. We have been here since around the 28th of March again, and have been really busy trying to tie up loose ends and complete a multitude of tasks before heading home.
We had been carrying a stash of donated food from our friends in Yuma, so that was the first thing we wanted to take care of. Connie and I loaded up the back of the jeep with canned goods and staples, and drove through out the slabs to try and find some of the residents that normally keep to themselves. My intention was to hit the camps where we knew people lived on food stamps, and for the most part lived in the Slabs year round. Although it was a good feeling to be able to bless people with the food we had been given to distribute, it also saddened me to see how each of them lived. Most of the camps were thrown together with a combination of tents, tarps and bits of plywood. A fortunate few lived in burnt out tailors with canvas and tarps scattered about for shade and to provide protection from the horrible winds they get out there. Every one we met had a huge smile on their face as they picked through what we had and filled a bag that would provide them with about enough food to carry them through a week.
After we finished that, we took the remainder of the food and put it in the food pantry for Pastor Dave to hand out. There is a great guy out there called Ben Nutty who has a freezer, so we had a couple of guys take over all of the steak, chicken and hamburger to store there, so that it could be used for the Haven Meals. Each Saturday night, Pastor tries to provide at least one good hearty meal to those who are hungry. He has been doing this for years! Having some good meat in reserve I am sure will make for some great stews and soups. Our thanks to everyone in Yuma who provided us with so much to help feed those in the Slabs that really needed a few good meals!
March 29th was Prom Night! Now if you have not been following my Blog from the beginning, Prom night is an annual event that is put on at the Range. Originally, according to Pastor Dave, the event was an evening to celebrate Prom for those who never made it to their graduation. Over the years it has grown into an annual even that everyone looks forward to.
As donations come in throughout the year, the best suits, dress shoes, dresses and gowns are collected so everyone has the chance to dress to the 9’s. The ladies will come with their hair all done up nice, makeup and some are even wearing corsages. Most of the men are dressed in suits and ties. It really is a cool event to attend. Builder Bill usually books in a few bands, and as the evening wears on, a Prom King and Queen are crowned. The people chosen for this honor are usually ones who have done a great deal of work behind the scenes to help people within the community. I do not have a photo this year of Prom Night, but I will be adding a couple of video’s to our You Tube Channel as well as this page shortly. For the most part the evening is really great and people come from nearby towns to participate. I believe East Jesus, the nearby Art Community, is responsible for the fireworks that they set off about 11 p.m. How ever does it, really puts on a great show 😉 This year, there was no prom King, but instead the crowns were given to two Prom Queens, whom I know for a fact are busy beavers when it comes to helping people out in the Slabs and donating time to help make various events run well. Congratulations Ladies! (keep and eye out for our video’s)
Janet and George were parked down by the Salton Sea, so we took a night off on April 5th to go and spend an evening with them. They had plans on heading east to try and buy a small piece of property over the summer, so we were not sure if they would actually make it back this way, although that was the plan. George and Doug have become fast and tight friends. So much so that George asked Doug to be his best man next season as they take their wedding vows at the Sea they have come to love so much. Doug is exceptionally honored that George asked! Our time with George and Janet is always a great visit! It’s nice to have a couple to just hang out with and talk about things that are always positive and upbeat. Janet loves her birds. She fascinates me when she can point out all of the different birds that pass the Salton, or stay to nest before they continue on their migration. Often she has been feeding one or two, and at a certain time of day, they will fly in looking for tidbits of seed that she always has on hand. I am sure going to miss the two of them. With any luck they will be there when we return in December.
During the time we had left there, I also made a point to take Tomahawk out for an afternoon. She rarely leaves the Slabs, and had never been to Bombay Beach where is usually where I try to take Connie for an afternoon of girl time. Tomahawk really had a great time! I took her around Bombay to show her all of the amazing art work they have been setting up in town and the beach in order to start bringing in more tourists. She totally loved the way they had set up an old drive in with the original signs that had been kept from when the town was once an aspiring small recreational city along the Salton Sea. Of course when the Sea started to die, every town that had sprung up to handle more than a million annual tourists, died off. It appears this town is working hard to bring some tourists back to the area, and there are several lots that can be purchased for very reasonable prices. I hope they can salvage the area and that people will start returning. After we had toddled around, of course I had to take her to the Pub where we had a great lunch and time to visit. Tomahawk is really a wonderful woman. I sure admire her heart for other people, and her dedication to remain at the Slabs and help the community. She has had a very hard go of it, but she is one tough cookie. Actually she is a marshmallow…. that’s why I love her so much!
The night before we left, we had movie night as well. This time we advertised and got the word out that everyone was invited, so a lot of people rolled in with their drinks, chairs and blankets. I had made enough popcorn for about 50 people, and in fact did run out. In spite of that, it was pretty thrilling to see how many people had come. When it was over, several wanted to give us some of their stash, or a bottle of booze as a thank you gift 😉 Naturally we declined, so then the offers of coming over one night for a camp cooked meal were offered. These folks bless my socks off!
Finally on the 8th, we pulled away after passing out some of the remaining cloths that had been donated to us. There is a woman there who is quite tall, and some of the dresses we received fit her perfectly 😉 She was pretty happy to actually have some cloths that were in her size, and she looked fantastic in them as well! Dapper Jorge from Yuma had given us a suitcase loaded with some very fine looking shirts and shorts for men. Jorge is a smaller man, so we found a younger slim fellow who was really pleased to have things to wear that were in great shape! The rest of the items, we kept because we knew we would be returning to the Indio area, and for those on the streets, donations of clothing do not come around everyday.
As usual it was sooooo hard to say goodbye to everyone again. Pastor Dave, I forgot to mention seems to be doing really well! He has been up and about, running morning Bible Studies and is eating a lot more than he had been able to over Christmas! A lot of people are praying for him, so please keep those prayers coming! The Slabs need him!!
As we headed out, people filed by with their water containers to top off with what ever was left in our tanks. Doug even took over a wagon full of water to Chris and Shay, who is expecting a baby soon.
Tomahawk came down and had a few pieces of art she had made for us. Every gift that is given I absolutely cherish! Over time, I had one of the most eclectic collections of gifts , and I know where each and every one came from. I have a hand bag that Rhonda made me, paper roses that Janet made, Art from Tomahawk, a collection of stones, gems, sea shells, letters, books, necklaces, and of course the Easter Bunny and Snowman that Connie had for us! Oh, I can not forget the sweater Pastor Dave gave me with a horse on it, and then a stick horse with a pink head that nickers when you press a spot on the neck! I still have it and everything else!!
Last but not least…. after saying goodbye to everyone, we headed down Beal Road, and stopped by Shannon’s camp (Sir Shiggity), and made sure he and everyone else’s water containers were full and then loaded him up with some food, and of course a few cold pops from the fridge.
Although we knew we would be back one more time before we left, it is always very hard for us to leave. We know that time is running short, and that soon we will be heading back to Canada. Over he next couple of weeks we will be headed up to visit our friend Mark, whom we met in the Slabs, try to help more with the people we met in the Indio Tent City, and then attend church with our new friends at Hosanna City Church in Cathedral city. It will be a very busy couple of weeks, but if all goes as planned, we will have one more return to the Slabs before we actually head North 😉
Cheers for now!
Sherry, Doug, Chicago and Journey