Monday, December 10, 2007

Most commonly said expression regarding pictures is that every one is worth a thousand words. Mine convey a memory, each one, sometimes more than one. This day was soon after I got my new digital Canon Elph SD500, which at the time was a little powerhouse of a camera. Painful as it is to remember that in one of my many moves over the last year I lost the charger and can't take pictures until I buy another one, I still like to look back and remember each day. Lind, Washington, is a small town nestled in the valley of low, pastoral hills growing aught else but wheat and a foreign species of sagebrush that transplanted the original native species. Only about 400 people muster the census--at least according to the 2000 edition. They're a dying breed of people for the most part; hardy, grim farmers determined to die on their own terms. Many have failed, being sent by their families to nursing homes in nearby Moses Lake and Spokane. Those that do cling on are marked by the hardness of life. The local gas station, Pump 24, used to be run by the local grange, until it closed in 2005, leaving only one other local option for gas to the residents that remain.

Once, Lind bustled with commerce; the downtown area fairly rumbled with the to-and-fro of customers getting their daily bread at the grocery store, or catching up on gossip in one of the town's three barber/beauty shops, purchasing screws and hammers in the general store, buying Christmas gifts at the drug store, or enjoying one of the feature films that came to the local theater. The town doctor lived in a beautiful three-story Victorian; a wealthy farmer built the large Tudor/Victorian that my parents bought in 1999, and soon after built a house next door for his son and daughter-in-law. Christmas fetes were held at the high school or the grange hall.

Today, to walk through the town is to catch a whiff of the giant impending tumbleweed soon to roll through, taking with it the remainder of what still stands: pieces of the auto parts store, the Wills' convenience store that's been going out of business for the past three years (offering everything inside for half off, not including the liquor portion), the Whitman Bank building (where a noted pianist once gave lessons to the town children), the original one-room schoolhouse, and a few of the grain towers. In 2005, the auto parts store caved in on itself, likely the result of precipitation accumulation on the unrepaired roof.

The streets were paved not too long ago. The city hired a contractor to repave the roads, and after repeated diggings-up of underlying water pipes and the sewer main, some parts are nice, while on others one is cautioned to steer around the holes.

No one visits the pool any longer, considered new only 15 years ago. It isn't any longer a matter of simply money; the town simply doesn't have enough children.

Old-timers complain about the newcomers--often those hoping to find reprieve in the lower-cost housing offered by the town. Retaliatory in nature, the old-timers threaten to raise the rent to keep them out. Meanwhile, some old-timers are getting out, only to find that no one wants to move IN.

The only part of Lind that grows these days is the cemetery.

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