As so often happens while I'm driving around town, I begin to think of the past and sort of gnash teeth as changes are noted.
Recently, I happened to notice the fleets of city and county vehicles parked in various places. Of course, only a few of the vehicles were to be seen at that time, but the number I did see caused a flood of memories about the days during which very few vehicles were owned by either the city or county--days during which we had a far larger population.
For some years, I've been aware of the vehicles used by the members of the sheriff's department. I can almost hear a quiet remark from Dad and can see his smile. During all the years he was Quay County sheriff, he had to furnish his own vehicle, as did the deputy and the jailor. Also, during his time as deputy, he furnished his own car.
I was thinking of the times that our family wanted to make plans to be away from
the courthouse for a few hours only to have to call off those plans because Dad had to use the car to be elsewhere in town or in the county. Neither my brother nor I had much chance to drive the family car during those years and spent most of our time depending on friends for rides to various events.
Often, the county commissioners would become upset at Dad because the gasoline bills were too high, At least, they furnished most of the gas, and that helped a little. They also became upset about the grocery bills as they paid a dollar or two a day per prisoner, and if we had several prisoners, the bill was a bit high. We paid for our own gas when we used the car and often paid for a fair-sized share of the grocery bill.
The city officers had a car or two for their work, but we could count those cars on one hand for many years. Of course, the state police officer stationed here in those years drove a state car. Both the city and county had vehicles for other purposes, but we wouldn't have called their combined number a fleet. Now, we see large numbers of vehicles from either government. We can only imagine how much money is tied up in those or how much is spent on gasoline each month.
Things surely change as time passes. Just think how much money could be saved if even a few of the vehicles were sold and two or more employees had to share.
Lynn Moncus is a resident of Tucumcari and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun at 461-1952.