‘Robyn’s Summer Salad’ a dressed up salad at the 12 Tribes Casino.

The 12 Tribes Casino parking lot had lots of spaces up close to the entrance. It was nearly 4 o’clock on Tuesday, Senior Day at the Casino. I’d stopped by earlier to get my meal voucher and the place was hopping, but I had a lot of errands in Omak, so I didn’t stop to enter the Tournament. Omak trips can be exhausting, trying to get all the big shopping done. I knew I would be tired and hungry by the time I headed home, so the voucher was first. 

I really bucked up for this trip, trying to generate enthusiasm and energy for the long day. Here’s what I had on my list. Appointment with Moomaw Hearing to pick out new hearing aids. (I’ve been waiting since March to do this!) Then, a quick walk around the corner to Tom’s Shoe and Tack Repair. Who knew I could get the heel on my shoe fixed right in Omak. Then, I had to stop at True Value Hardware and Home Depot. I’ve been boycotting Walmart since a big cowboy type guy and his lovely little family rushed passed me with a gun on his hip while I was shopping last week. It scared me. What can I say?! The store staff didn’t care…Washington is an open carry state and guys in hats and boots can run down the aisles with guns if they want to. I had to leave but I only made it as far as the bathroom before a huge anxiety attack grabbed me, complete with sobs and tears. I grew up in Omak … before Walmart, before a freeway chopped our Eastside community in half. I grew up in a racist little town, but I could walk in and out of stores without facing a gun-toter. Oh well … you see where that little shock sent me. I cried a little for what we are and a little for what we were. Right now, I don’t shop in Walmart. I remember when common courtesy just didn’t allow people to carry guns around town. That was before Women’s Lib, too. That was back when women had to put a dime in the slot to use the bathroom in the Bus Depot … Back when there was a Bus Depot. Yep, our little town has changed.

After Home Depot, I stopped at the library and did some research on finding a new home. What a great little library. New feature … guard at the door. He smiles. He’s friendly. I don’t think he had a gun. Anyway, it’s a cozy library and has lots of resources. The staff gave me a guest pass to use the computer and I spent the next couple of hours surfing the homes of Okanogan County. I’ve been doing this a little bit at a time for nearly a year. It gets easier and I even found one possibility … Lots, of possibilities, actually, but only one that I might be able to afford. Tribal Credit is working up a pre-something amount so I’ll know what I can apply for. So far, I can only afford a miniature house. People at Colville Indian Housing Authority are also working to help me capture a new home. 

As I left the library, people in the park were setting up for the Farmer’s Market. They weren’t officially open yet, so I decided to come back after I had a real meal back at the Casino. And yes, it was perfect timing. All of the Senior gamblers had moved on for the day. The dining room was nearly deserted, so it was quiet. I peeked in at the fast-food area where I love to have their anytime-of-the-day-breakfast, but it was busy and noisy. I enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the formal dining area, especially when there aren’t many people. I can read, or think, or write, or otherwise entertain myself. Today was an especially entertaining day! The dinner special was Chili lime shrimp tacos!!! Of course, it wasn’t 4 0’clock, yet and they weren’t going to let me have the tacos. The cranky, anxiety prone crone began to surface, ready to fight for her tacos. It was 20 to 4. “OK,” she said. “I can entertain myself for 20 minutes and wait.” I had the news article about the Pateros “Community Success Summit” from the Wenatchee World that the Library gave me and it didn’t take long to catch the bug for successful solutions. 

I ordered ice tea and the tacos, which would be started at 4 and settled in to read. Then, the fruit from the Farmer’s Market called out to me and I asked the waitress if she could dress up a dinner salad with some berries while I waited. She did! And, she called it Robyn’s Summer Salad. 

The main dish arrived and this was one of the best, healthiest meals I’ve had. Thanks 12 Tribes Casino!!

Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos with black beans and rice!

After a quick stop at the Farmer’s Market and a look at a couple homes, I took the river road back to Nespelem and home. The beautiful soft colors of the early evening made the drive soothing. A drive and a day for smiling. I love Omak lake and the rolling hills crossing over and down to the Columbia River. These moments of soft pink and purple hues flowing over the land are like floating on clouds, on the backs of salmon. 

The opinions expressed in this column are the reflection of the author/s and not the Colville Confederated Tribes.

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