We met many people this Easter weekend up in the Northeast corner of Washington. My first general impressions were that these Mountain people are a great blend of earthy, organic, do-it-yourselfers with a heavy dose of redneck thrown in. What you get is friendly and open people who, in a short amount of time, feel like friends. I'd like to introduce two people that made greater impressions on me.
I met Oscar in the local supermarket. When I see older people alone I like to try to make eye contact and say more than hello. Who knows I might get a good story! Well, with Oscar, I got a few good stories. Everybody knows Oscar. He's 96 years old and uses a wheeled walker to get around (some people think he's only 95 but I'll take his word for it). When I said "Hello" and asked if he had a nice Easter he was a little startled at first but quickly began a conversation as if he'd been waiting for me. When the first person walked by us I noticed him following their footsteps and then chuckling a bit. After a few of these episodes he let me in on his secret. Since he can't see too well he "people watches" by focusing on their feet and how they walk. He described everyone that went by as "waddlers", "lead feet", "tipsy", and even "normal". As I watched with him I noticed a whole new world down there at foot level and we had quite a few good, muffled laughs. Needless to say I couldn't walk away or I might be "categorized"! Long story short, I drove Oscar home (since he had walked to the store in the freezing cold and the whole reason he was sitting there was to warm up and darkness was quickly approaching... I couldn't let him shuffle off out in the elements for even a few blocks!). For my efforts I got to watch some video of him in his younger days playing in a Bluegrass band. Have I ever admitted that I'm a Bluegrass fan? Well, it's out there now! It was fun and I would say time well spent had the family not been worried and sending out the first search party for me. The cell phones are hit or miss up there!
The other people I wanted to introduce you to are a family with 8 kids, one on the way. You know I love big families, too! They have served the Lord with Climbers for Christ and are currently leading a Church in the area. You can feel the presence of the Lord in them; a beautiful balance of peaceful and passionate. I learned through their Christmas letter that they lived well off of $17,000 last year. "Amazing", "resourceful" and "provided for" are words that come to mind. I hope that they will become good friends in the future as we really enjoyed our brief time with them.
We met the rest of the people through Church services and Easter outings. The picture above is of Mia after receiving her basket at a community outreach event. Everywhere we went we were welcomed and felt comfortable very quickly. Several people prayed for us when we shared about our journey in getting to Bear Paw and the last obstacles that we need to overcome. I couldn't help but think, "These new "silver" friends, they're not so bad."