The second clinic Doc worked for graciously put us up in an extended stay hotel for two weeks.
Between giving him rides to and fro, bringing him lunch, cooking in a tiny kitchen that I think was set up to cook mac n’ cheese at most, finding preschool storytime at libraries, and seeking out parks that weren’t graffitied beyond recognition, I’m happy to say that we lived to tell about it.
Yakima sits in south central Washington. It’s on the east side of the Cascades, so the clouds dump all their moisture on the west side trying to get over the huge mountains. That doesn’t leave much for here.
We saw it at it’s peak of greenliness. The rest of the year it’s brown and yellow with no trees, except for groups of cottonwoods clustered along the rivers that run through the valley.
The Yakima Valley is sandwiched between two treeless, desolate ranges- one owned my the U.S. government and it’s a huge, reclusive piece of property. On the other side is the Yakima Indian Reservation, home to the Rattlesnake Hills. The Valley has a huge gang problem, and not just in the city and surrounding towns. Even driving in places at least 45 minutes from the nearest small town, you would see a traces of gang activity on the foundations of barns, on electric meters, on abandoned outbuildings, on anything big enough for their swervy, hasty black paint signature.
Hospitable sounding, ain’t it?
So you can see why we needed to get out of town on the weekends. It wasn’t just being in the hotel room, it was the atmosphere- Doc treating multiple gunshot wounds in his two weeks there and hearing stories from these young guys of their short lives being so wasted and painful.
A great place to work and minister, a rotten place to raise a family.
We’re still working on that dilemma….
We met up with the Columbia River several times during our stint in Washington. North, near Brewster and Wenatchee, and south where it makes the border between Washington and Oregon.
It’s a lot different than our lush Carolina town. Everything is so much bigger and drier out here. Yakima is almost as far as you can get from the verdant place we live, but I think we found beauty in it, which didn’t surprise me. As long as God created it, there is something beautiful to be found in it. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder is all!