Friday, January 7, 2005
Thinking thankful thoughts
This holiday, we played host to several out-of-town friends, all of whom asked for town tours ( I suspect they have been watching This Old House). After they had "ooohed" and "aaahed" at West Street, Guy Clark's farm and the cranberry bog, they all remarked on how lucky I was to live in Carlisle, which seemed to them a calm oasis compared to their home towns in New Jersey and California. At first I mentally rolled my eyes (no town is perfect after all), but I began to think about it, and a list took shape in my mind — a list of things over the past year for which I am grateful. It's still growing, but here is what I have so far:
I am thankful for the residents of Tall Pines and the town center, who make my favorite holiday, Halloween, such a special event every year.
I am thankful for the Gleason Library, which saves me from spending all my money on books, and whose staff is so forgiving when I cherish a book a little longer past the due date.
I am thankful for those who strive for a reasoned discourse in this town, whether it is at Town Meeting, at committee meetings or in the newspaper. One of the stellar proponents of this manner was the late Vivian Chaput, and it is reassuring to see others follow in her footsteps.
And along a similar vein, I am so grateful to all those who give their time to town committees. They can never be thanked enough for their patience and their sagacity.
I, like so many others in New England, am grateful for the Red Sox and the Patriots, for two reasons: they made my husband and son so very happy, and they gave us all something to talk about this fall other than the presidential race.
I am thankful to all those in town who made it so easy to be charitable this holiday season. Whether it was coat or toy collecting, assembling prison gifts or gifts to our military or, in the recent weeks, gathering money for tsunami victims, many Carlisleans' efforts helped me feel less like Scrooge.
At the same time, I am more than grateful to all those who spent the holidays away from their loved ones and in the service of their country.
In these days of joy amidst struggle, I am thankful for those who put lights on a tree in the wilderness. When I see a lone pine tree glimmering in a field, I feel hope — no reason, I just do.
And when I hear the town fire horn begin to blare in the wee hours of a frosty night, I give thanks for the police and firefighters who protect us and allow me to snuggle back down under the covers with such a feeling of security.
This is just a portion of my list. Perhaps in this time of resolutions and diets, if we all take a moment to begin our lists, and continue adding items throughout the year, by next December, we should all feel as wealthy as kings.
A modest proposal
Commonly voiced at Carlisle planning days is a desire for some sort of community center, a place to gather and meet with friends over a cup of coffee (or a glass of Chablis). Perhaps it's just that those of us who attend planning days need to get a lifethen we might not be desperate for a community center. But for the sake of argument, let's assume there is a real need.
Well, the folks down in Washington, D.C. have been having some difficulties that we might just be able to turn to our advantage here in the sticksand fulfill big time our basic human need to socialize. Seems the mayor of D.C. made a deal with Major League Baseball to turn the Montreal Expos into the Washington Nationals. But the city council is balking at the price tag for a new stadium, so sales of Nationals souvenirs and season tickets have been suspended pending resolution of the impasse.
Here's where we come in. Let's bring the Expos to Carlisle. Not only would we get a dandy place to meet friends and have a beer and some peanuts (salted in the shell), but we'd also solve a lot of other perennial problems in our little town.
In one bold stroke we'd have a huge commercial tax base and could lower those pesky personal property taxes. The land needed for the stadium, parking, and access highways alone would fill up a large enough chunk of the open land in town that we wouldn't have to worry so much about predatory developers and their 40Bs. (Although the trails network is extensive and runs through much of the town, we'd probably need a few supplementary new access roads.)
Our new team, the Mosquitoes of course, would be on the road half the season so we'd have a first-class facility to help meet our share of the demand for playing fields the Recreation Commission has brought to our attention. Will Concord still complain if its youngsters get to play T-Ball in our major league ballpark? I don't think so.
This would be a golden opportunity to test the latest in high tech septic systems. Once proven in a 50,000-seat stadium, they might even get the nod from the Board of Health for residential applications. Let's see, what else? The team banners that will fly atop the stadium could actually be stealth wireless cell towers. Can you hear me now? Good.
I'm sure there are killjoys out there eager to point out a seeming flaw in this scheme — that there already is a major league team in the area, the heroes that just ended an 86-year championship drought. To them I say New York City has two teams (and with that, double the annual chance of winning it all). Heck, for the first half of the past century, Boston did have two teams, until the National League Braves left for Milwaukee en route to Atlanta. (During the same period, New York, one-upping us as usual, had three teams to our two.) The Mets and Mosquitoes would be natural rivals; imagine Pedro, now a Met, playing right here in Sorli Stadium.
The historic Red Sox World Series win has stoked traditionally high demand to a fever pitch. Even with the new monster seats, Fenway isn't big enough to satisfy local fans' hungerand it never will be. Sox fans are so desperate they'll camp out through days of pouring rain just to get a few tickets. The time is ripe. If we build it, they will come. And Carlisle will be Lonelyville no longer.
© 2005 The