WHAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF PROGRESS? IS IT REGRESS? I'll have to admit I don't really know, but if it is, then that makes it regression. And if regression is the correct term, then this is what the town where I live is. Regressive. And I will enumerate why. My wife and I, my wife more so than me, have been coming to this town since the 1950's. After we had been married for a few years, we moved to this town for work. Why exactly, is another story to be told in another time. Maybe. But I digress. Man, progress, regress, digress. Makes a person wonder if gress gets a little tired of being put to use. Oh well, on to the purpose of this post.
When we were in our teens and coming to town with parents, there were a lot of services available. J.C. Pennys, Sears, Montgomery Ward all had stores here. There were 4 jewelry stores, several department stores and numerous restaurants. The go in and sit down and eat a meal kind of restaurants. There were also some other kind of businesses that will be unmentioned. And a lot of saloons and bars. There was regional bus service, train service and Frontier Airlines flew 4 flights a day here. During that time a teachers college transitioned to a University. Several grocery stores and a grocery warehouse. And several stores gave out savings stamps. S & H Green stamps was the popular one, but not the only one. Now lets see what is going on. And maybe a few ideas as to why.
During the 1950's the town wanted a good road out of town and a road was surveyed. A road that went close to the airport and on southeast toward other towns and on to El Paso Texas. Three or four little towns in the area complained about this road, as it would bypass them, and they made an agreement with the town of Silver to build this better highway through their towns, and if they would, they would help the town of Silver get the better road to the airport. Thus a 4 lane divided highway was built through the complaining towns and the better road to the airport was forgotten. When my wife and I moved to Silver in the mid 1960's the survey stakes were still visible north of the airport. I mention this for a reason to be understood later. I hope.
Now, we have a Super Wal-Mart and two other grocery stores. Most of the bars and saloons have closed down, including the iconic Buffalo. The bus service has been gone for decades. Also the train, except for an occasional freight train to service the mining companies in the areas. Frontier Airlines is gone, to be replaced by a small regional airline that flies into the county airport once or twice a day, some days, and even then they have been known to cancel the flight for reasons known only to them. The town officials, ( almost said fathers, but that would be incorrect ) have touted the need of bringing business into the area. Businesses have tried, only to be run off by other business owners. Example, a man brought a Bike Helmet business to the town, but other business owners in the area complained about the "odor" and harrassed the man so much that he closed his business and moved it somewhere else. The county created a business park near the airport and an individual brought a business there, making rims. He too, was harrased by the local politicians until he finally moved out of the county. The Forest service has an installation at the airport where they store fire fighting tools and have a facility to load and service aircraft dropping slurry on forest fires and the facility has been heavily used for many years. Even decades.
Now for a few comments. New Mexico has a high rate of drunk drivers and drunken other events. Even though a lot of the bars and saloons have closed down, all the grocery stores and pharmacies sell package liquor. Every event that comes to town asks for and recieves a permit to serve booze, even as the powers that issue said permits complain about the high incidence of drunken events. The department stores have closed down. In their place are coffee shops, and fast food places. Very few sit down and eat restaurants. And all of them serve booze. Now, a new CVS pharmacy is going in on the main highway through town, and they have purchased the liquor license from the afore mentioned Buffalo. The 1950's surveyed highway would take about 10 minutes to get to the airport and on toward towns where there is somewhere to shop. A few months ago a grandson who is in the Navy had permissionn to fly a training mission to the County Airport, then got cancelled because there is no longer fueling service at the airport. At this writing there is a large forest fire burning north of town, and it has planes dropping slurry on it. From the airport? Nope, they come from a town in Arizona, because they are not able to fuel at the local airport.
So, businesses closing down. Public transportation mostly gone, alcohol and drugs on the rise, and every time we turn around there is something else going on that makes a person wonder just what those who are in public office are doing. I think these individuals, ( can we call them city and county fathers and mothers ) or the powers that be, need to take a long look at what is really going on and try to turn the tide of regression back to a position of progression. Maybe then we can start on the State and then the region and then the nation. And that is where it starts. With local people, at the bottom, working up, not the top working down. And THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK