As the official non-mayor of Carmel, I was musing as I sat ice fishing at the new skating pond, reflecting on how the European village surrounding the pond resembled an 18th century Bavarian village.
Ah, Bavaria in the 1700s. A humble peasant family gathered round about the warm hearth as snow gently falls outside. As one historian puts it, the tranquility “is interrupted by a bronchitic cough that presages the pneumonia that will kill at 53 – not helped by the wood smoke of the fire . . . baby will die of smallpox . . . his sister will soon be the chattel of a drunken husband . . . water the son is pouring tastes of the cows that drink from the nearby brook. Toothache tortures the mother . . . The stew is grey and gristly yet meat is a rare change from gruel; there is no fruit or salad . . .”
Then I thought, no electricity. No indoor plumbing. No Nikes. No way to recharge a cellphone, fellow Carmeleons. You get the picture.
On a brighter note, the roughly $6 million rink and nearby market fleeced the 21st century peasant families of more than $400,000 its first week – more than half the anticipated $737,504 in gross receipts this winter for net profit of $195,879, according to official estimates. Of course, I omit the $565,000 in grants from our generous city coffers for 2017 and 2018.
Ice fishing can be fun. Just don’t think too much.
Bill Shaffer, Carmel