Wonder what happened the first time someone said, “Hey, let’s build an ice skating rink in Madison?”
Then, “Are you nuts?”
Hasn’t that been tried before? Ice skating, ice hockey … do we think Mississippians will grab onto anything as exotic as ice, as long as it doesn’t show up in our glass of tea?
But build it they did. Baptist Health Systems erected a rink, slide and stage at the corner of Highway 463. It seemed preposterous enough to warrant a look, so we took a drive. The parking lot was full.
Families stood in line to plunk down $15 for a pair of ice skates, just so they could take baby steps while hanging on to the wall. Gold medals were awarded to the folks who could make the circle more than once without falling down on their backsides. And kids flew down the ice slide in inner tubes. The final bounce sent them sailing into the air. The ride always ended with a squeal and a smile.
There’s a stage for every group to display their holiday talents. Tents for private parties dot the landscape. Of course, there are drinks and snacks available. All that frolicking can make a kid hungry! And there’s even a path with placards displaying the Christmas Story bible verses, complete with sponsor names underneath. Wonder which CPA firm got, “So all went to be taxed…”?
Nuts? More like dumb like a fox. All that traffic leads to economic activity. Families will head to a local restaurant at the end of the day. Moms will drop off kids, then do some quick shopping in the area. Dad will gas up the minivan at the convenience store. And about the time everyone gets tired of the holiday skating, poof, it’s all gone, only to return next year at the same time as the Christmas retail season. Now, a tradition is born.
My hat, scarf and coat are off to the brave soul who first suggested such a preposterous venture. It is, indeed, a nutty idea, but it’s backed by a well-organized machine. And it’s fun! Next time out, I’m donning a pair of blades. I’m planning to wear a little extra padding in my seat, though.
That corner will never be the same!
>> Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and her website is www.newper.com.