Three years ago our children determined we move into "town" to be close to church, stores, and Kay's job. Our home is on North Forest Avenue (that's Hwy 59 to you interlopers). If ever it could be said the Lord gave the desires of one's heart, it would be this house.
It does appear that the Almighty either was not aware of, or humorously decided to include in His divine provision, the ten days of traffic which I like to call the bizarre bridge bazaar.
In this our fourth go-around here we've adjusted to the schedule: Noisy in the a.m. with cars moving so slow you could sell lemonade in the middle of State Road 59 North. In the late afternoon don't put a toe in the street when everyone is speeding home. The extent of my interest in the bridge bazaar is watching the cars and trailers, trucks, and motor homes go by. Fortunately we have a back way in and out, so are not trapped by the onslaught of vehicles.
Except for a couple of summertime tours of the various bridges of Parke county and envious, I have never paid much attention to the bridges. No particular opposition I don't suppose, just that as a matter of principle never do any thing involving a lot of walking. My active participation was again this year limited to being extra diligent in locking all doors and windows.
What has always struck me about it all is what little value the whole shebang seems to be for Brazil or Clay County.
The place up the street where we normally get gas does well, and we're told the local restaurants benefit some. That seems to be about it. When still new to the area I tried to organize a promotion of local business during October and was told by every merchant contacted it was a waste of time. Brazil, they said, simply cannot profit from the traffic rushing past on the way there and back home. Since then I have seen it for myself; even learned of two area small businesses that closed down for the ten days.
A lot of folks along Forest Avenue set up yard sales and such. Our daughter Susan came from St Louis with two car loads of stuff. Daughter, daughter-in-law and wife set out a bunch of junk no one in the family wanted. Daughters and grandchildren "made" about $5 each.
I doubt very much if the City of Brazil collected anything from all of this other than maybe part of the sales tax from the gas station. Even if the city charged for permits and got sales tax from the yard vendors (which I doubt very much they could), it wouldn't cover costs of police patrols and extra trash pickups (what, you thought all that unsold junk would be put back in my closet?).
Hope you had fun at that bridge bazaar thing. For me it is just ten days of traffic. If our town actually benefited from it all, let me know how.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.