WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO CIMARRON?
Some History with a bit of April Fools Satire; 4/1/2013 Back to PU
Back in the day, and I mean way back, things were really good for our small town. In fact, it wasnít even a town. We didnít have paved streets; streets by the way that now cost an arm and a leg to put in and maintain. In fact, there werenít any streets; just a dirt road that ran next to the railroad tracks. There was only one building in those really early years so there wasnít even a need for sidewalks, or as would have been the norm in those days, boardwalks. There wasnít a grocery store, there wasnít a clothing store; there wasnít even a drug store. Heck, there wasnít even a beer joint. The only thing here was a shack that was occupied by one stationmaster, hired to help fill the passing trains with water from a water tank. There were water-stops all along the rail system. They were positioned every three miles and each had their own name. Wettick was just three miles east of our town, for one; Sears was just 3 mile west of Dodge City for another. Our first water tank was probably the start of the mess we now find ourselves in today.
As time went on, we became a town. The water tank at the tracks remained for years, but people started moving in, so we had to have a water tower. People selfishly wanted running water, not water from their own windmills, but from a water tower which would send water to their homes using gravity. At first, it was just a tank that set on the ground up on the hill. Now we have the tower that sits where the old tank had been.
These people were a lot different than some that live here today. They actually wanted things to get better for everyone. They wanted their children to have a better life than they had. They were movers and thinkers that made things happen. Those are the kind of folks that caused all or our problems. Oh, if only we hadnít put up that first water tower.
Ingalls was another water-stop town just to the west of Cimarron. At one time, it was even larger and more robust than Cimarron. They had the same type of movers and shakers as Cimarron, so the battle was on. There was the county seat war and to Cimarronís detriment, Cimarron won. Now we not only had a water tower, but now we had to have a better Court House.
From there, it just kept getting worse. More businesses and more jobs kept coming to our town. That meant more people, so the small school that was here was not big enough. What do you do? Well the simple solution would have been to get the county seat moved over to Ingalls. Ingalls had the perfect location; about half way between Dodge City and Garden City. We could have turned over all of the trouble of growing into a nice little town over to Ingalls. Then they would have what we have now. Not only that, they would be paying the costs instead of us local Cimarron folk.
Cimarron has been burdened by many extravagances over the years. Most of our streets are paved. Of course that meant more people to maintain and clean them, and of course, that meant better schools. We built a new Grade School just a mere 45 years or so ago. Now they think we need to enlarge and remodel it. We have a great high school, but who cares about that? Just a few of our inhabitants have children that use it. And besides, with a nice school, yes you guessed it; more people. And a new swimming pool: what in the hell were we thinking.
There had been a great swimming pool before the one we have now that was good enough. It was a little cold on Tuesdays due to needing re-filled weekly on Mondays, but it was warm again by Sunday. Now we are getting another new one. The old pool in the south part of town was plenty good enough. Besides, the people that use the pool hardly pay anything; it is us older people that have to pay the piper. And once again, a new pool means more expense and more workers and yes, we older folks for the most part wonít even use it; but we will have to pay the lionís share of the up-keep.
And it gets worse my friends. Years back, as our town got bigger, they just out of the blue, decided we needed an airport, and mainly for just a very few people that would use it. Heck, you could drive 25 miles east or west and be at real airports. But no, it did not end there. We had to pave the runway. There had been old barrels that when lit with fuel, served as landing lights. They were plenty good enough for night landings. Of course, they were not good enough for our little town. Yep, you got it right. New landing lights had to be put in. And the rest of the country was going just as nuts as we were. They were building bigger planes that required longer and better runways. Yep, you guessed it again; longer runways. Man, why didnít we just listen to the ďCAVE MENĒ (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) at the coffee shop back in those days. They knew what was going to happen. They knew there would be no end to it. And boy, were they right.
Letís talk about electricity. Yes, it is nice, but was it really necessary? I say heck no. You donít have to have lights. Just go to bed at dark and get up early and go to work. What the heck were we thinking? And of course, more expense, more workers, more taxes. Will it ever end?
Then there were those nuts that said; ďif we are going to grow, we need recreationĒ. Yes, you know what they meant; build it and they will come. Crap, more deadbeats that are going to cost taxpayers more money. Years ago the park was built and there was a ballpark added to it. You would think that would be enough, but no! We had to build a shelter house, put in picnic tables, a playground and low and behold, one ball park wasnít enough, we had to have two. Now we are even putting in a new playground. Yes, you guessed it again, more money for upkeep and more people to take care of everything.
You would have thought that the ball parks would have been the end of it. Wrong again. Some selfish men got together and built a golf course. It had sand greens and a local businessman let them use the ground for nothing. All of the work was volunteer labor and all of the expense was left to those that used it. Now, finally we were making progress. No new taxes; the CAVE MEN could keep more of their money. Finally something was getting into the shape these geniuses were after from the start; a few nice things that didnít cost them!
But low and behold, more people still came to our community. Builders started constructing more new homes. As those homes became older, another bunch of money hungry bums came in and started building more and more homes. More homes, more people and of course, more taxes. Once again; was it ever going to end?
Oh yes, I told you about the sand greens golf course. The owner of the land offered to sell the City the land the golf course sat on. The City fathers, obviously not of sound mind, wanted to buy that land. There were some pretty good reasons however. The price was very cheap, and water was starting to become a factor all over the country. They knew if they owned that land, the Cities water rights would be increased. More people wanted to move to a town with good schools, nice recreation, and of course, more people meant more water usage. Here we go again.
There were some caveats included in buying the golf course ground. There had always been a movement for enlarging the golf course and to put in grass greens. The local businessman also made it part of the deal to move it further south, and yes, there had to be grass greens. Many local businessí and many community members made a great commitment. They donated and raised enough money that the course was not only increased in size, but with grass greens. Much of the money even came from businesses from other towns. It was done with volunteer labor and there was no debt to the City other than the cost of the ground. You would think the Cave Men would be OK with that. But of course, as the Cave Men already knew, more money would be needed. More taxes and of course, there were more employees to pay. Not only that, but once again more people wanted to move to our town. The pattern was becoming very clear.
It did not matter that the city increased their water rights; we could have gotten by without more. It did not matter that the golf course watering system was used to prove water rights legally rather than running water down the streets illegally; we had never been caught before. It did not matter that a dry city well was able to be re-drilled on the golf course only because it was for the golf course. It did not matter that during the drought of 2011 that the city would probably have had to haul water if it wasnít for that well. What mattered was that we didnít need to be bigger in the first place. We didnít need to make our community better.
But, it is history now. If the Cave Men are right again, we will soon be broke. We will soon have to get rid of these worthless extravagances. If we could just cut our population in half, or even less. If we could just get our streets back to dirt and get rid of that damned water tower, the drain on our pocketbooks would slow down, and the steady losses we have endured over the years could perhaps come to an end.
Ingalls!!!! Where were you when we needed you?