The Last Windrow: Too small for Amazon
I'm hoping that Amazon doesn't pick our community to build their multi-million dollar facility with 50,000 employees coming to town.
Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against Amazon. I've actually purchased a couple pair of denim jeans from the company that has one of the richest men in the world heading it up. The jeans came in the mail just a few days later and were exactly what I ordered. Some say it's the new way of doing business.
But, I was thinking of what it would be like to live in my small, rural community if Amazon decided to make this its home.
I picked this place to live because I have room to maneuver. I like the idea of driving to work in the morning and having only one, maybe no vehicles in front or behind me. If there were 50,000 employees all trying to get to work at all hours of the day, how would that go?
You rarely hear a car horn honking at the one stoplight we have in town. And that's probably some neighbor greeting another, not highway rage. If there are three cars backed up at the light on the way to work, we feel the pressure. We would have to at least install another light if the huge company came to town.
We rarely have to stand in line at the grocery store or wait in line at the gas pump. If the multitudes descended on our burg in the country, that would be a thing of the past. Our deli chicken would be cold before we paid for it. Waiting in line for an ice cream cone would be commonplace. The septic system might become overloaded and who knows what irritation that might cause.
All those people flushing at once during halftime of a Vikings game would surely put a strain on the water tower. Our maintenance engineers would be putting in overtime, causing the city and townships to increase rates.
If the big company came to town, we'd really have to lengthen our airport's landing strip. No doubt there would be numerous jets wanting to land. We'd lose a bunch of cow pastures and cornfields. A beacon would have to be installed, which would shine light through house windows and cause loss of sleep for many. Eventually, we'd have to put in a tower for air control people to inhabit.
One of the reasons many of us rural people live here is to have ready access to public hunting and fishing grounds. We like to sit alone in the woods not hearing a sound other than a distant rifle shot or a woodpecker pecking at some insect buried under the bark of a pine tree.
If the hordes of expected workers were to descend on the countryside, we might find another blaze orange-clad hunter sitting in a stand 50 yards from our normal deer stand. That would not go over big with we who treasure the lonely, quietness of the big woods.
And there will be a lot of that type of person in the woods come Saturday, the official firearms deer hunting opening day in Minnesota.
If 50,000 extra bodies were added to our northern clime we would see endless lineups at the public accesses of our lakes. We already grit our teeth when we see a bunch of cars at the access and we have to walk three blocks from our parking spot to get into the boat. With a glob of people added to the mix, it could get ugly at the access.
I hear that some cities are laying out the red carpet for this behemoth of a company. Mayors are sending pickled herring, lutefisk, pork chops and deep fried turkeys to this company to entice it to land within their borders.
I doubt that our town has much of chance to provide many incentives for the company to put down roots here. I doubt if our mayor or council people will be jetting to parts unknown with a briefcase full of offers. If our city clerk had an extra 50,000 citizens standing at her desk complaining about the price of a dog or cat license tag, she would no doubt look for other employment.
Sure, there will be an economic boom for any town where this company lands. The tax base will no doubt be enhanced. Jobs will be created. Some folks will make a lot of money.
But, when I think of waiting in line at our stoplight, my chicken getting cold while waiting to pay for it and someone perched 50 yards from my deer stand - no thanks, I'll pass.
See you next time. Okay?