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Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.

Ding Ho
by RandalSumner


            I’ve never eaten at the Ding Ho Chinese restaurant in Yakima, but I have fond memories of it from my childhood. We’ll get back to the Ding Ho.

             I did have dinner and cocktails with Mary Hemmingway and her entourage once at a neighbor’s house in Troutdale, Oregon. It was so memorable I had forgotten all about it ‘till I started this column. I believe it was the first time I had eaten artichokes with a vodka chaser. My people are not artichoke folk. But I digress.   

            I was watching the news a few month’s back and came across a piece about Ernest Hemmingway’s birthday. Sitting in a bar in Key West were at least fifty guys with white beards looking like Papa himself in his classic “Old Man and the Sea” look, the handsome man and  fine fisherman. Some newsperson interviewed one of the fake Hemmingway’s, who said that his life time goal was to fish all the waters of the Florida Gulf and Cuba as the Old Man had done. Obviously these Hemmingway’s have hero issues with Papa, but better him than Hitler.

            I know what you’re thinking: is there a point to this?  Bear with me we will get back to the Ding Ho.

            When I was a kid we lived in a G.I. housing development just outside Offutt Air force Base in Nebraska, where my father “The Chief” was assigned for four long years. I guess as a career move for a professional soldier during the Cuban missile crisis, this was the place to be, except if any missiles had actually been fired.  His advice to me: “Don’t sweat it, you’ll be playing football one minute and vaporized the next”.  Ok, Dad I feel much better now. 

            The Chief had a month’s leave every year and we would pile into the Oldsmobile with the dog for a trip to Yakima, where my mother’s family lived. The trips were epic, and I think we all enjoyed them at some gypsy level. Even our nasty dog Hans seemed to get his wiener dog groove on.  I will never know what the relatives thought of our G.I. lifestyle, but they were wonderful hosts and Yakima was a very special destination. There was trout fishing everywhere!

            This column is not about me or Earnest or the Chief, though. It’s about a kid and fisherman that grew up in Yakima and changed the landscape of American literature forever. Raymond Carver.

             In his book “Were I’m calling from,” Carver describes a trip down 16th Ave. past the Chinese restaurant (Ding Ho )to fish in a creek behind the airport he called Birch Creek. Actually it was called Bachelors Creek, and that is where I started trout fishing on those vacations from Omaha. It wasn’t much of a piece of water but it was connected to a fish hatchery so there were always a few huge brood trout that cruised just under the surface like a trout mirage.

              I remember the first time I read Ray’s story “, Nobody Said Anything,” and realized that I had been on that same journey to go fishing when I was a kid.

            Of course if you’re a product of public education as I am you may not be all that familiar with the world of American letters. Trust me Ray Carver is worth the read.

            Ray Carver is the most important artist to ever come out of Yakima, but is there a Ray Carver Boulevard? Ray Carver Park? Ray Carver festival? No and no and no.

            I think maybe we should a have a Raymond Carver night where we celebrate his life and work. For the venue, the Ding Ho would be perfect. Hold the artichokes.


More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
05/01/2013: Subaru Magic by Randal Sumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
11/30/2006: Old Whitey by R.Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
04/01/2001: What Are They Doing Up There? by Mark Littleton
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner