Communities should get a little ‘self pride’

By Clyde Davis: Freedom columnist

There are lots and lots of jokes about hearing voices in one’s head, a supposed sign of instability.

I have seen T-shirts and bumper stickers which proclaim “I Hear Voices in my Head, but at Least they Like Me,”and similar sentiments.

More serious, of course, is the reality behind the joke, that those suffering from certain illnesses do hear voices or have hallucinations. If you have ever had to take morphine, you may know how scary this is when it becomes reality-based, not a caricature.

There’s another sense in which many of us hear voices, voices from our past, guiding us in either a positive or negative manner. Teachers, relatives, coaches, still having an effect on our actions via our thoughts.

One of the voices that, for me, remains in my head after nearly 40 years is that of Coach Roman, our offensive coordinator. Not my favorite coach, nor my least favorite, nor even one whom I, as a defensive player, had much contact with during football practice.

Nonetheless, when I am underachieving, slacking off, I can still hear his foghorn voice bellowing, as he did when we were doing calisthenics, “Get a little self-pride, gentlemen.”

The motivation is positive, and I wish I could share it around sometimes. One of those times is when, driving back from the Air Base or Portales, or certain areas of the Texico road, I encounter stretches of highway which must make newly arrived Airmen, ENMU Students (or parents), not to mention anyone passing through, cringe.Can they be blamed for thinking “What have I gotten myself into?”

To state the obvious, I don’t mean the highway itself, as in the asphalt.

I mean what lines the sides of the highways. No, not legitimate businesses, but what perhaps were legitimate businesses, closed and decaying since 1980.

Or, places where junk has piled up, grass and scrub brush allowed to move in unchecked, and trash, machinery, rusting cars heaped up in a yard, a vacant lot, you name it.

Makes me want to put on a ball cap and whistle and conjure up the ghost of Coach Roman (though he’s still alive), to yell “Get a little self pride, gentlemen.”

The community, the county, have achieved much to be proud of in a relatively few years. A brand new events center, a very new civic center, a number of new businesses, motels of a quality nature, and so on — these are all now part of our environment.

Presentation is always important; appearances do matter, and depend on one’s own sense of civic or community pride.

If the goal is to project a competent, appealing, self aware community, the routes by which people enter Clovis are of importance.

If the goal is to project a shambling, rundown, “just getting by” mentality- well, that’s exactly what is conveyed in some areas of our county, our town.

I guess the choice is up to us.