Sunday, September 11, 2005

Salt, Slots and Sluts.

I've had this ^ witty title in my head for near a month, but how to write about it hasn't occured to me until this morning. Let's dive right in.

In the middle nineties Justin and I were poor college students. We were both attending Southern Utah University and trying to raise our one child at the time. Ohhhhh we were poor. Once while shopping with our limited grocery budget we found a real bone in, real not pressed, real not meat product ham for seven dollars. It was HUGE. Our eyes glazed over with porcine lust as we picked it up and put it in our cart. I don't know what defect made that ham so cheap, and I didn't care at the time, but we ate that ham for a week and felt like lords of creation. At least we were kings of the redrock.

When college was over we moved back north to Utah County. We'd learned that I had conceived our second child just before moving. We had all the energy of Dorothy embarking on the yellow brick road, discovering what wonders the future held. Justin had maintained a 4.0 average at SUU and we knew he'd be hired in a history or English teaching position right away. We were still poor, but hope sparkled in every corner of our lives.

Time went on. Justin interviewed...and interviewed...and interviewed. Nothing. Our second child was born. Justin interviewed, people were impressed, but not impressed enough. School budgeting issues came up...Justin not being qualified to coach a sport came interviewer didn't hire because we drove a pathetic beige '82 Toyota Celica. Our meager savings was drying up. Justin applied for nearly every job in the paper that kept him away from using heavy power tools. Nothing. Our newest baby was only six weeks old when I started applying for work.

We had $200 to our names and the rent due when the call came. The principal at Bendover secondary in Nevada wanted Justin. He NEEDED Justin. Southern Utah University had recommended Justin. Could Justin coach football? No? Don't care! You drive a Toyota Celica? We'll forgive you! Bendover needed teachers and Justin left to interview.

My heart was in my throat the whole time Justin was away. Grandpa, the old goat, drove Justin up to Bendover, then on to Elko. To go off on another tangent, Grandpa drove like a sneeze, going from 0 to speeds of 100 mph in 1.5 seconds. Not only was Justin worried about the interview but he was holding onto the dashboard of Grandpa's car for dear life. It's a good thing that the road to Bendover, then onto Elko is mostly straight.

Justin and Grandpa got back just after dinner on interview day. Not only was Justin hired, but he was hired at a lot more than the pittance they offered first year teachers in the cheap Utah state school system. We held each other and felt like we'd hit the lottery. When you go from a family of three living on 11K a year to a salary that doesn't make you buy ramen (unless you want to!) all the sparkles in the corners of life return.

In the next two weeks we pack up and move to Bendover for the 99-2000 school year. We find a crappy apartment and move in.

Bendover is an interesting community. Our town is split in two, with one half on the Nevada side of the state line and the other half on the Utah side. You may have heard about our town in the news. We are trying to move the state boundary so the entire town can be in Nevada. All we need is an act of Congress now. Both sides of the town, and the states have agreed to move the border.

We are on the edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats. (Salt) Geographically this is about the only place on land where you can look out and see the curve of the earth. In fact, you can see this from my driveway. My view of nearly 40 miles of salt flats is amazing. Looking out over the flats in the summer is strange. The salt looks like fresh snow.

You can assume that this town exists for Utahn's to come here and sin, and you'd be right. This is a border casino town. (Slots) We have some pretty amazing buffet. One casino offers no less than 12 varieties of cheesecake on any given night. There is also booze and porn, which you can't get in Utah without a lot of hassle! You can also enjoy a nice smoke right in the McDonalds if you want.

If porn isn't enough for you, drive 50 miles to the west and visit the little pink house that the prostitutes live in. Prostitution is legal in my county. (Sluts) There was a vote a couple years back to bring a brothel into Bendover, but it was defeated. If you don't want to drive an extra 50 miles you'll have to settle for the two tee tee bars in town.

I don't live close to the casinos or the tee tee bars.

When I go back into Utah to visit I always run into people I know. They ask where I live and I tell them. Their faces get sour and they ask what in the world we do in Bendover. (Yes, I live there and sin all day long, even on Christmas!) When I explain that Justin is a teacher at the high school, their faces soften and I'm forgiven. (Every one is a missionary.) You know, we'd live in Zion if we could make a decent living at a job Justin loves.

The sparkles in the corners of life? Neon Baby!


  1. Moving on up!!! It must have felt incredible to make such a guys worked hard.

  2. I could never live in town where every inch was covered in Mormons. I have to deal with every other corner here, and it's hard some days.


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