Civic First Impressions

When my dad was in the army in the early sixties, for some reason he found himself in Tucumcari, New Mexico, with a full bladder.  I understand Tucumcari was a major stop along Route 66.  They were even shooting the Rawhide TV show in the area at the time.  However, whenever I think of Tucumcari, New Mexico, my first thought is always, “Oh yeah, my dad took a leak there when he was in the army.”

I think my dad meant it as a compliment.  Then, as now, a clean restroom on a long trip is not something you can take for granted.  Still, I feel bad for the Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce.  They probably spend all their time coming up with mottos and printing brochures and so on.  All of their work is summed up; the entire community is reduced to a single stray thought my dad had in 1961 that has stuck with me my entire life.  It could be worse.  I wonder how many people I’ve encountered who avoid Chattanooga, Tennessee, because I casually mentioned it was “full of flies”.

Belvidere is – technically – the City of Murals.  However, the number of visitors that come specifically to Belvidere for the murals probably equal the number of visitors who go to Casablanca for the waters.  I was thinking about that the other day and thought up some real world examples of Belvidere putting its best foot forward in the eyes of travelers.

Belvidere – A Pretty Good Selection of Day-Old Donuts.

Come to Belvidere – Because Going to Cherry Valley Costs Another Fifty Cents.

Belvidere – of course – is home to the Belvidere Oasis on the Northwest Tollway.  This is how I describe where I live to people not familiar with the area (next time you drive past, wave; that’s basically my backyard).  They may not know Dodge has built the Fury, Neon and Caliber in town, they may not realize 1969’s Miss America called Belvidere home and they sure as heck don’t know we have a bunch of murals painted on the sides of the buildings downtown.  However, we have friendly service; we’re open 24 hours and – yes, clean and well-appointed restrooms.



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