“We’re going to need some more help up here,” she called over her shoulder to the people working in the back.

Came into work Monday and stopped to get to a sandwich on the way to the office. Traffic was nuts. Most notable was the sheer mass of horse trailers heading out of town, having, one supposes, spent the week/end at the Chuckwagon races. Some were stopped to get a sandwich on the way out of town.

“It’s been like this since yesterday afternoon,” she said, behind the counter at the sandwich shop. People had been stopping in regularly, a steady drumbeat of traffic as people were heading out after enjoying a long weekend of the equestrian life and related affairs. And yes, for a short while it was a pain in the neck, a lot of people on the road is always a pain in the neck, but at the same time we’re reminded that these people were stopping by area businesses, spending their money (we followed one pickup out to the ranch, a just purchased $83 grill in its bed, the sale tag flopping in the breeze as they drove) and otherwise - end of the day - helping us out.

A conversation with county judge Hooper at Tuesday’s fish fry informed as that a given tourist is expected to spend about $200, rule of thumb. We had over 30,000 tourists on hand this weekend. Do the math. With energy extraction rolled way back, and the chicken plant shut down (not to mention other light industries no longer among us) this, this right here, is the kind of thing it takes to create a thriving community, a thriving county.

And while we’re talking: The race was only part of it. The gas stations and restaurants had motorcycles parked out front, camper trailers from other places - coming south from Branson or whatever - just lots of people coming through.

Good, good for us.

Speaking of revenue

We need a serious conversation about taking the county wet.

Of those umpty-seven trailers coming into town in the past week, no telling how many had a case of beer on board. Let’s say several thousand cases of beer in total. Let’s say several thousand cases of beer where the tax revenue went to some county not named Van Buren.

Well that’s a shame.

Oh sure, demon rum and all that, but we make the point here as we’ve made for other similar circumstance: You can do more to deal with something when it’s in the light of day than when it’s hidden from site.

If you’re worried about people drinking in excess - and you should be - then worry about not being able to detect that until they’ve crossed a line way past safe. If you’re worried about people drinking, then worry about them, driving by the need to drink, driving their car - possibly while under the influence - to other places to get booze.

They tell the families of alcoholics to not bother pouring out the alchy’s stash, that s/he will just go get some more as long as they’re addicted. It’s safer, they say, to let them drink.

So there’s that. There’s also, and excuse the mercenary here, the matter of tax revenues. We could, simply, use the money.

Matthew 28: 16-20 (NIV)

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”