How do you judge a town?

By Bobby Coggin | Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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(a). I am a lifetime resident of Bowie for 50-plus years. Was I a good citizen? Not so much. Have I changed? Yes. Do you remember when you drove down the drag and everybody in town would wave? Do you remember when the whole town had school spirit with Bojo everywhere? At the time I thought it was a little stupid, but I now appreciate the camaraderie. We used to open the door for each other. People had pride in their jobs, no matter what kind of job it was. We knew how to give correct change back and with a thank you to boot! We used to be respectful … to the old or to the young.

(b). The last two or three months, I have had too much extra time on my hands, I guess. When I have gone to Wal-Mart, I notice all of the handicapped parking is full, which usually is no problem. I just park somewhere else and go in, get my stuff and leave. The following week, I go to the community room, and again all handicap parking is full, so I find another spot to park. And when I go inside, no one in the building is noticeably handicapped – no canes, no walkers, no wheelchairs, etc. Hmmm … isn’t this just like at Wal-Mart? Is everybody in that big of a hurry and not staying long, so they think that’s a good excuse to take the accessible parking? Up until the last couple of years, even I didn’t use the handicapped spaces for fear a senior citizen would need it more, and I’ve been paralyzed almost 25 years.

(c). Go to Decatur to eat and see a movie with my wife, daughter and granddaughter. Get up to door of the restaurant, and there are two people trying to open door for me! Hey! This is different! A great town with great manners! I will find out, though, that I am too quick to decide that as we have not made it to the movies yet. The movie theater seems to have the same old parking problem – spots all full and only half seemed to be licensed for handicapped parking. My three girls and I go inside our specific movie, and all of the handicap seats are full except two. No wheelchair-bound people are in the empty areas designed for such with the bottom row of chairs. (There are plenty of open seats in the rows up above). My wife and daughter take the two seats, and my granddaughter sits in her mother’s lap.

No problem yet, but when the movie starts, an older lady sitting in one of the handicap-designated chairs offers to move, but it’s too late. I’m hot as a firecracker! It should have been the younger heavyset man with three children to offer such a thing, not the older woman. As I sat there and watched the movie, I could not get my mind off who is at fault – a father for not teaching his children respect for even sitting in the seats or mine for not going early enough to get the handicap seat?

(d). Do handicapped people deserve this to be said out loud? Yes. I have seen doctors hand the blue placards out like candy to a child. I have seen disabled people loan them to kids so they could get better parking spot at concerts, football games, you name it. I watch “Dateline NBC” highlighting disabled people selling their self/position in life, so people can go to the front of the line at Disney World and Six Flags, and now these companies have to change their policies, which includes the rest of us handicapped people that truly want to go and have a good, normal time at the park. I hate that such a few people can ruin things for everybody. In Bowie High School I had a defense football coach that told me, “Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Now grab your ankles and take your licks.” The same rule applies today, but there is no enforcement.

As a side note, I see a lot of these young kids with “Duck Dynasty” clothes, etc. This show is ranked No. 1. I believe it’s because the family sits down for supper, says a prayer and teaches lessons about family, friends and helping their community.

If you pay attention, nothing much about business is included in the show. If you watched the show to learn about duck calls, you would never get one built. When I was I kid we had another show called “The Waltons,” and it focused on family values. So maybe if parents can’t get their job done, maybe “Duck Dynasty” can help. I hope for the sake of this town and others, something will work.

I hope and pray that my grandkids will have respect for those in need. You see, I look at things a lot differently from a chair with four tires and a height of about 4 feet.

Bobby Coggin

4 Responses to “How do you judge a town?”

  1. I could not agree more.Able bodied people taking handicapped parking is one of my pet peeves. It really makes me angry when I see someone park in a handicapped parking space, get out and they walk better than I do and I have a replacement knee. I took my mother to Walmart one morning and she is handicapped.All the handicapped parking spaces were taken and I saw a middle aged gentleman (and I use that term loosely) park in a handicapped space and jump out and run in, obviously not handicapped, and I had to find a regular space further down and help my Mother that much farther to get in the store.People are just too lazy these days and have no respect.
    Nathan Horner

  2. Ricky Stutt says:

    It takes the whole village to create a great town with good manners. Clearly many have not been taught or held accountable. We do not hold each other accountable simply because we do not want to get involved. Many reasons for that, some are valid. But maybe we do not simply because we do not want people to hold us accountable.

  3. The solution to the handicap parking problem is easy, enforce the law! A ticket of $250.00 would wake people pretty darn quick. But why expect the police or sheriff or highway patrol to enforce the law when they are running around with their lights flashing and siren going and doing 80 Mph down 287 or 730 or 51 so that they can get to the station or town hall or office a little quicker. I don’t seen any exemption for them other then the fact there are law enforcement but I was taught we were only to use those “systems” if we were actually doing something that required them. Just a observation. Great job on keeping the highways clear Friday December 6th also. Prime example of living in the Great State of Texas>

  4. says:

    Mr. Coggin, you are so correct. My husband is also in a wheelchair after many surgeries from his Vietnam era. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of businesses in Decatur, that are not accessible and he cannot enter. It is just unbelievable that there is not any empathy for the ones who are disabled and in wheelchairs. Maybe if we can get elected into offices in our country, men and women who take their jobs seriously instead of just drawing a paycheck, will make some changes. The officials need to get into a wheelchair for a day just to see how hard it is for the disabled, maybe that would make a difference.

    Peggy Owens


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