By Al Schwartz | Bass Lake Poet Laureate and local weather spotter
I saw the best snow shovelers in my
neighborhood destroyed by idleness
dragging themselves up blacktop drives
at dawn looking for an angry flake
And so begins the late autumn of our discontent. With mid-December temperatures soaring into the high 50s many Bass Lakeans are finding themselves in low spirits. Where there is rain, there should be snow. Where there is lake, there should be ice. Where there is brown, there should be white.
“I hate it,” said local dancer Amber Waves. “None of my regulars are in the Christmas spirit at all. I can’t afford law school on these tips. It’s like Scrooge-town in here.”
Waves is not alone. A stroll up Trout Lane at noon of a Wednesday during past holiday seasons would find carolers and bell ringers puffing great clouds of frosty breath, gleeful children throwing snowballs at elderly shoppers and ice fisherman practicing hole drilling techniques on the town rhombus. But not this year.
A quick scan of local mid-December temperatures finds highs in the 20s and lows in the teens being average over the past 10 years.
Many locals who depend on cold to attract customers to fleece are not happy.
Shane McVanDerKamp, proprietor of Bass Lake Fish ‘n’ Boat, said his sales are down 45 percent.
“My sales are down 45 percent,” McVanderKamp said. “I haven’t sold one rig. This freakin’ sucks!”
Next door at Beijing Bait & Tackle, owner Johnny Wen said he’s considering expanding his line of bee moths and nightcrawlers to include spring rolls and hot and sour soup.
“People are coming in to read my back copies of Farmer’s Almanac hoping for some bright spot,” Wen said. “At least I could sell them some food. But I agree with Shane. This freakin’ sucks.”
Bass Lake Inn/Convenience store, which normally is booked solid this time of year, has no reservations through the end of the year. Clem Brickston said he’s considering closing up for the winter.
“Ain’t nobody coming to boat fish in December,” Brickston said. “This is just stupid.”
Town leaders are considering passing a resolution demanding that temperatures “get in line” with historical norms.
“This warmth must not stand,” said Bass Lake Town Council vice-president Carolyn Shee. “If we allow this what’s next? Rain in July?”