Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Million Dollar Idea of the Day

Theoretically, each of us has at least one million dollar idea per day. We generally don't recognize it! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My Million Dollar Idea of the Day _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ I lie in bed at night and worry. I worry about us here in Blaine County . I don’t need a census report to know our population is decreasing. Nowhere is this more evident than in my own home town of Harlem , where the population today hovers near seven hundred souls. Our small town, once a thriving commercial center, long ago ceased to grow. We desperately need a reason to exist. The last snow storm inspired my latest brilliant idea. Winter nails some of us behind closed doors as we watch the thermometer plummet. The same winter that paralyzes me invigorates others, those hardy winter sports enthusiasts who think winter was created just so they can play. Like I said, I lie in bed at night and worry. Some of those worries turn into ideas. Most of the ideas I discard and wisely so. But one idea took hold. Why not develop a ski area in Harlem . Where? North of town, on the hill up out of the valley where the old dump used to be. Now it’s a container site. What if we turn it back into a dump and build up a mountain of trash, upon which we’ll then build our ski resort? People from all over the country are desperate for a place to truck their garbage. They’ll pay big bucks. The money thus generated will fund the project. It’s perfect. Don’t laugh. There is precedent. If the enterprising folks of Evanston , Illinois , who built Mt. Trashmore Ski Area completely out of garbage, (ditto for Crystal Ridge in Milwaukee, Mt. Trash near Detroit, and even Mt. Blackstrap Ski Hill south of Saskatoon) can turn trash into cash, so can we. My excitement mounts. The view from the dump is as spectacular a vista as one will find anywhere. I see the Swiss chalet-style lodge perched atop the hill, overlooking the expanse of the valley. Down below the train chugs along the tracks, stops at the new station, disgorges hordes of happy winter frolickers where the fleet of limousines awaits to carry them to the Lodge. The frozen river meanders between serpentine banks. Zambonis smooth the ice for skaters who waltz to the music of Harlem ’s famous Milk River Oompah Band. On a clear day, and when is it not a clear day on the Hi-line, majestic mountains define the southern horizon. I see lifts and trails, the lights at night. The lifts carry beautiful people adorned in the latest outdoor fashions. Teams of St. Bernard rescue dogs patrol the slopes, casks of brandy snug around their necks. Laughing children zoom down on their sleds. Hardy cross country skiers traverse the valley. The hills hum with the happy racket of snowmobilers’ racing motors as the power driven sleds throw curtains of snow in their wake. The ski hill is the flagship idea; this is where it starts. Winter sports facilities will shoot up like mushrooms on a soggy day. In a natural progression, we’ll build an ice arena for hockey and another for curling. Working together we stand to make a fortune. Investors will fight to grab a piece of the action. We need a business plan, a vision, a mission statement, a state of the art office complex, executives, clerks, secretaries, sales teams, designers, accountants, workshops, desks, reams of paper, telephones, computers, paychecks, taxes, lobbyists, benefits, bonuses, copiers, fax machines, humidifiers, coffee makers, water-coolers, doormats, pencils, a logo, a corporate name, advertising, parking spaces, electric bills. There is much to consider. Ah, picture the hustle and bustle on Main Street . Every store full and overflowing with colorful ski wear, boots, parkas, train loads of merchandise. Our new bank, a veritable mirror of prosperity, looms above the booming business sector. Fountains spout around ornate statuary in the town square. New housing developments and condominiums ring the city. International hotels sprout overnight. Population explodes. Opportunity abounds. Destination: Harlem , Montana . We’re back on the map. Sondra Ashton HDN: Looking out my back door April 7, 2011 ____________________________________________________________________________________________

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