Driving through town today, I saw confirmation of a creeping suspicion that I have lately been having: over the past couple weeks there has been an influx of vagrants in the Callie area. Or dirty hippies. Or something. It started off with noticing a couple of panhandlers in a place where panhandling is not very common. I shrugged it off because it’s summer and when we do have them it’s during the warm months for rather obvious reasons.
I went into town with Lain today, though, and they were suddenly everywhere. It has begun.
Every few years, there is some national organization of nature loving individuals that descend upon Callie. Some places lobby for the sorts of events that bring commerce to the area. A place where I previously lived boasted about having more World Horseshoe Championship Tournaments than any location outside of Las Vegas. Callie, though, made no such lobbying effort. We have our rodeo (which is a pretty big deal around here) and our crashy derby, but by and large, there’s no great push to bring lots of people to town. And certainly not hippies.
Now, one of the things that I like about the west is that the relationship with hippies is different than back home. They are not considered quite so dirty. Indeed, their appreciation of nature is appreciated. Sometimes with an eyeroll, but hey, they’re heart is in the right place. The personification of the irritating environmentalist isn’t some guy with long hair and tie-dye, but more along the lines of some guy in a suit in New York City who thinks he knows what’s best for the folks out here. Hippies? Harmless, for the most part.
Callie is a pretty Republican area, though, so the goodwill is not unlimited. And, to be honest, the problems that these events bring to the town are legendary. The town is equipped for 5,000 and these events boast between 7,000 and 25,000 people which is far more than its built for.The city’s part-time police force goes full-time. Off-duty cops from other parts of the state come into town. Fire departments are on stand-by. Shop-lifting becomes a problem. And the hospital becomes cluttered with people who do stupid things possibly under the influence of narcotics. Clancy’s last day is Friday, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Nor is the fact that we will be sending July Fourth back in Deltona.
So, for fear of any more unwanted visitors late at night (no, we’re pretty sure our previous visitor was not a hippie), we are going to start locking our doors while they continue to roll in.
We will nonetheless be showing our solidarity by putting the baby in tie-dye when we take her out.