Monday, August 15, 2005
Shaniko: population 19 peeps. Shaniko: where their very own mayor was murdered a year ago. Awesome. Shaniko: used to be home to 3000 Oregonians in which WOOL was their export item of choice, but the town burned down one too many times. Shaniko: where bus #3 with 48 YL kids and leaders from Auburn, WA hung out for 3 hours yesterday afternoon while we waited for a new bus to arrive. YEE HAW!!
After a FANTASTIC five days at Wildhorse Canyon, precious old man Bob the bus driver arrived at camp with his hoopty bus. In obvious comparison to the two other Auburn buses, it was a little older, a little more "loved," but hey, maybe it was Bob's baby. You never know. Less than 10 minutes after leaving camp, the bus overheats and we pull to the side of the road. Bob is sad. We get started again, and it overheats again. Bob gets mad. We start up again (are you seeing the pattern?), and now Bob starts cussing. After putting more water in to hopefully cool it down, five overheating times later, it overheats for good and the starter dies. We pull to the side of the road in high desert Oregon...taking up one of the two lanes, kids shuffle off the bus and try to smoosh in the shade of the sick mobile. Bob hangs his head in shame. He really is a precious old man. Finally, with Bus #1 out of site, out of orbit, bus #2 drops their kids off in Shaniko, comes back and picks up our kids, drops us off in Shaniko and takes its original passengers to Auburn. We are left in Shaniko (insert again, population: 19 peeps) to chill while the bus company sends another NEW bus down from Yakima.
Among the highlights: the icecream and hotdog parlor (ewww...lethal combination!) that threatened to close as they saw hoards of junior high kids coming their way. The Texaco gas station. All the fake western storefronts that Shaniko uses for their festival days in early August every year. The seasonal antique stores [there were at least 3 of them!] selling $1 off back-to-school t-shirts! And finally: Dan the man.
Dan was one of the shop owners who sat in front of his store in his wheelchair. Quickly he caught the kids' attention with his witty stories and "funny" jokes. Slowly Dan wheels out to the middle of the street and then BAM!!!, he pulls out his pistol with blanks and fires into the air. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Kids are screaming and running wild and giggling nervously and BEGGING him to shoot again; the other leaders and I are just thinking, dear god, this is the end of our ministry, of our lives, as we know it. So Dan became Mr. Popular and I take a picture of every kid posing with him and his pistol. Can't you just hear the stories the kids will tell their parents upon getting home? "Yeah, we went to this old ghost town...we ate hotdogs and icecream for lunch....then this guy went and shot at us..." "HE SHOT AT YOU?!" "Well yeah mom, but it was COOL! Look, he even let me keep the blank as a souvenir!"
So, it was a great week...some kids came to Jesus...I hung out with my 13 year old friends and got to know some super cool leaders...I went on a 1/4 mile long zipline, swam and played in the pool, had amazing one-on-ones, and didn't even wet my pants jumping off the pamper pull. Dan the man got to show off his Shaniko Days' firing skills and Bob got to drive us home. Bob was happy. What a day. What a week. What an adventure. :)