Residents share Labor Day plans

Freedom New Mexico: Sharna Johnson Zia Elementary Principal Jeralynn Butler monitors a fourth grade class as they pass through the hallway Friday morning. Butler said she spends the majority of her days on the go, moving from classroom to classroom and interacting with students and teachers. She said she looks forward to her holiday vacation this weekend.

Alisa Boswell

This weekend celebrates Labor Day, which means it’s the last weekend for local residents to enjoy a three-day holiday weekend in summer weather.

Some Clovis and Portales residents are taking the weekend to get things done around the house while others are traveling over Labor Day weekend. But whether staying home or heading out of town, most local residents seem to have one particular thought on their minds: Family time.

Clovis residents Joel and Jarilyn Butler are going to visit their daughter, Natalie, in Austin, Texas, where she is a student at the University of Texas.

“We’re going to visit her because she’s too busy to come and see us,” Jarilyn Butler said, laughing. “And a three-day weekend makes it to where we can go and see her and I don’t have to miss work. We can go and drive back on Monday.”

Butler said she and her husband will go see a Texas football game with their daughter on Saturday then they will go to dinner with her and her friends Sunday night.

She said they also plan to go see their daughter’s life-sized picture in the university bookstore, to recognize her becoming student body president.

“We’ll do whatever she wants to do on Sunday before we take her friends out,” Butler said. “I don’t know yet what that is. It might be movie or shopping or something along those lines.”

Joel Butler said he is just excited to be able to see his daughter.

“She’s very busy and I don’t get to see her that much, so any time I get to spend with her is precious,” he said.

Portales resident Nora Navarrete said she plans to also make the weekend about family, but plans to do it at home.

“My son has his football tryouts (Saturday). I’m so excited,” Navarrete said. “I have homework; I have to mow the yard and do laundry and I have to catch up on some movies.”

Navarrete said she and her family will grill on Monday.

Another Portales resident, Keith Thomas, said no matter where he is at or what he is doing for the holiday weekend, he will be with his family.

He said he recently returned from a business trip and needs to “recharge my family batteries.”

“My major goal this weekend, since I was gone, is to work on family morale,” Thomas said. “I probably need my family more than they need me.”

Thomas said his family is probably going to Ruidoso to stay in a cabin along with his daughter and her husband.

“Sometimes we play putt-putt golf and sometimes we just sit around and talk,” Thomas said. “Basically, what we do around there is re-bond with each other. My family is very important to me.”

According to the American Automobile Association’s Labor Day 2011 Travel Forecast report, 31.5 million people in the U.S. will take Labor Day trips at least 50 miles away from home, which is a 2.4 percent decrease from the 32.3 million who traveled in 2010.

The report also said Labor Day travel in the New Mexico (Mountain) region has decreased by 2.6 percent from last year, a slightly larger decrease than national travel.