Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Rough Times and True Stories


Notes from yesterday:

The little island of bushes in front of our house had a rough time of it.

A restaurant called Steelfire in Fulton has announced that it is closing. In their letter outlining what led up to their decision, the owners list five factors that influenced them as they weighed their future:

  • Rising supply costs
  • Staffing concerns
  • Decreased hours of operation 
  • Increased minimum wage
  • Patience required to keep restaurant going in the current environment 
It is, overall, a very positive letter about what is surely a difficult decision. 

Interestingly enough, some people in Howard County seem to have read an entirely different letter in which “increased minimum wage” is written in extremely large letters, in bold. How odd. It seems unlikely that the owners of Steelfire would have released a letter solely for disgruntled Republicans.

Maybe it’s a reading comprehension thing. 

One thing I am in complete agreement with is that we need to support our small businesses. That is why I find it so disheartening that there has been such a vocal opposition to public health initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every person who mocked and refused mask-wearing, who was able to be vaccinated/boosted but didn’t, who spread misinformation about COVID within the community - - those people have succeeded in making more people sick and for the pandemic to last longer for everyone around them. 

If they had truly wanted to support small businesses, they had one very important tool within their grasp to help themselves and others. But a good many of them scorned it. People like that, here and around the country, have caused this pandemic to spread and to linger, to overburden our healthcare system and to negatively impact businesses. (And schools, for that matter, but that’s another blog post altogether.)

What flattened Steelfire, and, sadly, some other small local businesses, was COVID and everything that went with it. 

A serious illness is no one’s fault, but how each of us responds is absolutely our responsibility. There’s a bunch of folks out there who did everything but take personal responsibility. Now they’d like you to believe someone else is to blame.

My heart goes out to the owners and employees at Steelfire. This is a hard decision to make. We are living in very hard times and the restaurant business is tough during the best of times.


As a postscript I’d like to recommend this piece by local blogger Elizabeth Brunetti:

I’ll Be Home for Christmas: COVID Edition, Elizabeth Brunetti, Take on E 

I’ve written about Ms. Brunetti’s work before. She has a gift for combining words and pictures that produces a result which is so much more than the sum of its parts. Her writing gives you insight into the photos. The photos make the words more vibrant. This particular piece has an emotional presence that places the reader within the author’s day to day existence without being manipulative or maudlin. I highly recommend it.

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