Labor Day: A day well spent

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Many Clovis residents were able to enjoy all or part of Monday with their families, participating in everything from sporting events to yard work to picnics in the park. Here’s a sampling of how Clovis spent Labor Day 2003:
The day found Richard Krell hard at work sprucing up his home on the 1100 block of Prince Street. As sweat dripped down his face, Krell, a staff sergeant at Cannon Air Force Base, explained why he wanted to work so hard on the home he rents.
“I came back (from deployment) in May and am trying to fix it up,” he said. “My roommate got orders to leave, and I’m looking for another roommate and wanted to clean up the place.”
Originally from Oregon, Krell said he isn’t used to the climate in New Mexico even after having been stationed at Cannon for seven years.
“I just wish the grass were a bit better,” Krell said. “The grass here is all thin with prickly things sticking up.”
Krell said he was glad the military gave him the day off.
“I enjoy every day off,” Krell said. “It gives me time to work around the house, and I pretty much take care of everything myself.”
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Joanne Winslow and her daughter Suzanne came to Greene Acres Park with friends to enjoy Labor Day. They liked most of their time in the park — except for a pile of dead fish.
Rather than complaining, Suzanne Winslow had an idea — getting her friends to come out to the park for cleanup work.
“I’ve always wanted to clean up this park,” Suzanne Winslow said.
Winslow’s mother said her family comes to Green Acres Park on a regular basis and wants to help make it even better.
“It’s the best place for families in Clovis, it’s five to 10 minutes away from home, and it’s wonderful,” Joanne Winslow said. “I’ve been all over the world, and the people here (in Clovis) are incredibly friendly.
“We think (Clovis) is a great place to get located, put your roots down, and develop a location to live,” she said.
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Charles Dodge, 22, came to Greene Acres Park with his 4-year-old son Alex to fish, and the two managed one catch, a small catfish they decided to let go since it was less than 3 inches long.
Fishing is a good way to spend Labor Day, both Dodges said — and the father said he’s glad to teach the sport to his son.
“It’s taking it easy and relaxing,” Charles Dodge said. “I’ve been coming here since I was his age.”
Alex Dodge said he likes watching the fish dart below the waves of the lake.
“We saw one in the water swimming and we tried to catch it, but it got away,” he said.
Charles Dodge said he’s had more luck fishing in the past — once he nabbed a 12-inch catfish.
“I caught some out here a few days ago, but not today,” he said.
A little farther down the shore, George Gonzales was having more luck. Holding a 9-inch channel catfish, Gonzales said he’s looking forward to a Labor Day dinner he caught with his own pole.
“What I like about fishing is being out in the open,” Gonzales said. “It’s being away from everyone, getting away from the world.”
Gonzales, who moved from Albuquerque a few months ago, said he enjoys the small-town atmosphere of Clovis.
“I like this place; Albuquerque has too many people,” Gonzales said.
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Steven Tank didn’t get to spend most of Labor Day with his girlfriend, Denise Gutierrez. That’s not unusual — as an Army staff sergeant called up to active duty guarding Cannon AFB in February, he only gets to see Denise on the weekends when she comes from Albuquerque or he goes back to see her.
However, the two got to enjoy an evening together at Kelly’s Bar and Grill after Tank got off duty supervising the gate guards at Cannon.
Kelly’s was a good choice, they both agreed. He got to enjoy watching a football game between Tulane and Texas Christian University, and they both got to enjoy a meal together.
“They have good food and I like sports on TV,” Tank said.
For Gutierrez, who works as an insurance adjustor in Albuquerque, the opportunity to spend time with Tank was enough even if it was only part of the day.
“I come down here once a week to visit my boyfriend,” Gutierrez said. “I just like being here with him.”
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Clovis High School student Dewayne Roberts loves football — both the American kind and what Europeans call “football” but Americans call “soccer.”
He got to enjoy both on Labor Day. After spending the first part of the day watching football on television with his family, he came to the Clovis soccer fields about 5 p.m. to practice for Tuesday’s game at Goddard High School in Roswell.
Roberts, a senior at Clovis, plays the goalie position for his team.
“It’s hot but it’s good for us,” Roberts said. “I think we all need a little practice before the game tomorrow.”
Soccer coach Shaun Gill said he gave his players all day Sunday and most of Labor Day off so they could enjoy the holiday, after participating in a Friday and Saturday tournament in Alamogordo.
Even though he’s spent much of the weekend practicing, Roberts said he still enjoyed the holiday.
“It was good to have the day off from school,” Roberts said.
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Debbie Waitt came to work in her job as an Allsup’s cashier on Labor Day, but that’s nothing new. She said that’s normal for her every year.
“I don’t mind working any of the holidays, I’ve been doing it all my life,” Waitt said. “I just like working with customers.”
Waitt said she moved to Clovis last year to help her sister, whose husband is an airman stationed at Cannon. Before coming to work at 4 p.m., she said she enjoyed spending time watching movies with her family.
Spending part of Labor Day with her family was enough, Waitt said, and she told her manager that she would be happy to work the second shift.
“He asked me if my schedule would bother me, I said it was fine and we were good to go,” Waitt said.