Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sampson & Delilah Turned Me Into A Homesick Melancholy Baby Today

This Sunday afternoon has me feeling like a Melancholy Baby.

Sort of homesick.

Yesterday I was told that Sampson and Delilah were taking a roadtrip this weekend. This morning I learned the destination of the roadtrip was the Swinomish Casino and Lodge in my old hometown zone of the Skagit Valley.

Sampson and Delilah posted a couple photos today, on Facebook, taken from their location in the Swinomish Casino Lodge and Resort's RV Park, which I have swiped, without permission.

In the first photo you are looking northeast, towards the Cascade Mountain foothills, with the Mount Baker volcano being that white thing sticking up on the middle left side of the picture. The water you see is saltwater. Padilla Bay if my memory is correct.

Make note of how clear the air appears to be. I miss clear air, that smells good. Fellow Washington exile, Steve A, has asked, more than once, regarding all the tree covered mountains and hills of Washington, pertaining to the Cedar Fever Texas woe, "What makes Mountain Cedar pollen worse than Western Red Cedar pollen?" It is a perplexing question.

In the next purloined Sampson and Delilah picture we are looking slightly northwest at a couple of the islands sticking out of the bay. I don't remember if that is still Padilla Bay. There are a lot of named bays in the Puget Sound zone. My memory is starting to fail regarding Washington geography. Is this considered the Straits of Juan de Fuca, north of Puget Sound? I can't remember where Puget Sound ends and the next named body of water starts up, let alone its name.

The Swinomish Casino was about 15 miles from my abode in Mount Vernon. To the left in the above picture, which is west, in another 10 miles, or so, you come to Anacortes. Anacortes is the town where Spencer Jack's dad, my nephew Jason, has a restaurant called the Fidalgo Drive-In.

Speaking of Spencer Jack's dad. One of the reasons I am feeling a bit melancholy is I got email from my nephew this morning telling me he was thinking of burning up some frequent flier miles by coming to Texas in early February. Spencer Jack's dad was last in Texas nine years ago, way before there was a Spencer Jack. I am appalled that that is nine years ago. Time flies. I felt bad explaining this was a not a good time to come to Texas.

Looking at these Sampson and Delilah pictures has me thinking how extremely different Skagit County is from the county I am currently in, Tarrant County in Texas.

As you can see, via just a small glimpse, Skagit County has some rather scenic natural water features. Tarrant County has some man made lakes, a polluted river, creeks prone to flash flooding and a bizarre plan to make a fake lake and build an unneeded flood diversion channel.

Speaking of channels. There is a marina at the Swinomish Casino. There is also a channel. Called the Swinomish Channel. I believe the Swinomish Channel is manmade. I know it is a connection between two bays and that the scenic tourist town of La Conner is on the channel.

The total population of Skagit County is 118,222. The total population of Tarrant County is 1,809,034. The total area of Skagit County is 1,920 square miles. The total area of Tarrant County is 897 square miles.

So, Skagit County is more than twice the size of Tarrant County, with a population less than one-fifteenth the population of Tarrant County.

And yet, all of Skagit County is served by public transit, known as Skagit Transit.

From the Skagit Transit website, this blurb....

"Our goal is to provide high quality public transportation that meets the needs of the citizens of Skagit County at the least cost to the taxpayer contributing to the county's economy and quality of life."

How come it is no ones goal to provide high quality public transportation that meets the needs of the citizens of Tarrant County I am sitting here wondering? And somehow it is someone's extremely goofy goal to provide the citizens of Tarrant County a Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, which no one has voted for?

Another stark difference between Skagit County and Tarrant County is the existence of casino resorts. There are two. In addition to the already mentioned Swinomish Tribe's operation the Skagit Tribe has the Skagit Valley Casino Resort.

Whilst living in Skagit County I would visit the Skagit Tribe's casino more frequently than the Swinomish Tribe's Why? Nothing to do with gambling. It was the Skagit's buffet, usually at lunch, that I frequented. However, for seafood, the Swinomish Casino's Two Salmon Cafe was my favorite. So good. With pan-fried oysters just like mom used to make. And no catfish, ever.

I purloined the below image from the Swinomish Tribe's website about the aforementioned Two Salmon Seafood Buffet.

Before the Washington Tribes won their battle with the state over casinos it was a novelty for me to go to Nevada, usually Reno. It seemed so exotic, all those noisy slot machines. It took awhile for the Washington Casinos to get to being totally Nevada-like.

Unlike Texas, Washington did not use a primitive form of eminent domain to evict its Tribes. There was some hostility, early on, but for the most part relations between the natives and the newcomers were fairly cordial. Hence the name of Washington's biggest town being Seattle, after Chief Seattle, well, Sealth. It is why a lot of Washington place names are native based.

Unlike Texas, Washington has multiple Indian Reservations. During the 60s and 70s and 80s the Tribes got themselves some good legal help that helped them win court battles against the state, over and over again, over things like fishing rights. And their rights to a high degree of sovereignty on their tribal lands. And to open casinos.

The income from the Tribe's casinos  has noticeably improved conditions on the tribal lands. I remember when the Swinomish Reservation was an extremely impoverished, depressing thing to see, back decades ago in the previous century. That extremely impoverished depressing thing to see no longer exists in 2014.

I really think I need to move back to a progressive, liberal, well-educated location. I must try and figure out how to make that happen.....

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