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Aaron Johnson: Hometown pride

Wells is a dot on the map, located in the northeast corner of the state of Nevada. Wells is one of those towns that was bypassed when the new interstate system was build. That bypass left mom and pop cafes and motels mostly without customers.

At the exit were a couple of chain hotels; those known by numbers and not real names. Wells is a town that resembles a ghost town just before the ghosts show up.

We camped in a gravel lot with water and power connections in Wells last night. It was a place to park with absolutely nothing else to offer the traveler. I’d like to call it a campground but that would be an insult to all other campgrounds.

I walked down main street to take in some of the local color. Strewn down the main street were remnants of what used to be. The motel on the corner of 5th and Main was being reclaimed by nature day by day. A local told me that it was used in a movie long ago. Today it looked more like something Freddy Krueger would occupy.

Right across Main Street was a picture of vanishing Americana. The “Sharon Motel” still glistened like new. The doors were all painted a bright yellow with a matching yellow metal lawn chair stationed beside each door. The building was red brick with fresh white trim. These places draw me like a moth to a flame.

I walked over and entered the office. I knew it was the office because a blinking neon light in the window gave me the hint. The office was tiny, with room for no more than two people in front of the desk.

Immediately a young lady stepped from a door behind the desk. Her name was Janae. She was polite, and as adorable as the motel where she worked. She appeared to be in her early 20s.

After explaining that I was camped, or parked, across the street and just wanted to ask about the motel, she invited me to examine the rooms. She took me to two rooms – one room wasn’t enough. Each was as spotless inside as the motel was on the outside. The rooms on the north side were all patriotic in décor. The rooms were small, completely appointed, and all red, white, and blue.

She beamed with pride.

I asked about the occupancy and after explaining my question, she said, “We are usually turning down customers by 5 o’clock. You know, we are the highest rated Motel in Wells.”

Through the magic of the internet a traveler can motor down lonely I-80 and find this delightful gem. They have only 10 rooms, so you need to book early.

Janae is a local. She is one of those kids who grew up there and chose to stay there. She was proud of her little town and seemed content to live there. I asked her why this motel had thrived and three others were filled with ghosts. Janae explained that the owner had recently passed away.

However, until his death he lived there and took pride in his motel.

Did you see that?

He took pride in his motel. He took pride in what he did.

Pride has mostly vanished from the psyche of the American worker. With a resume in our back pocket, we are terminally looking for the next big thing. Loyalty to the employer who gave us our first chance is a forgotten commodity.

I have noticed that chain retailers that are owned and operated by a local always serve the customer better than those owned by someone in another time zone. Just ask the worker in the next Pizza Hut or McDonald’s who owns the restaurant. If the place is owned by a local it will give better service and product than one owned by a corporation somewhere else.

The corporation really doesn’t care about supporting the local sports teams.

I think it goes back to pride. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it to your utmost ability. People still notice a job well done. If you can’t take pride in what you do, then consider finding something in which you can.

I’m hometown proud.

Aaron Johnson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. He is pastor of Christ Redeemer Church in Guntersville.

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