Those of you who are familiar with me know it's my goal to keep literature alive and well in the 21st century. There are many others who are engaged in this fight, but I try to do my small part. See, there's things about our culture that need to survive the test of time. Literature is one of those things.
Small, privately owned businesses are another. Earlier today my wife and I stopped by Graham's Florist in Waterbury on our way to visit relatives. It was like stepping into a time machine and entering, well, a better time. Okay, that sounds a bit ridiculous. Let me just say it was like entering one of the better aspects of another time.
Sure, there were lots of fresh flowers available to be purchased, as well as an assortment of small gifts. What struck me, though, was the originality of the place. In an era when all retail businesses seem to be owned by a conglomerate and are therefore more or less the same, Graham's has its own distinct look and feel. The effect is like spotting a human in a warehouse full of mannequins.
Unfortunately, Graham's is like many small, local business throughout the country in that it's the victim of changing times. Those retail giants stand like an army of Goliaths against individual Davids. What's more, it's hard for a privately owned florist to stay afloat when more and more families ask for donations rather than flowers for wakes and funerals.
In short, we stand at a threshold. It's up to us to decide whether the better elements of our past are worth keeping or not. If we think privately owned local businesses can continue to survive without our business, we may well be in for a rude awakening. Just ask the owners of Graham's Florist. http://www.grahamsfloristllc.com
Or any other small local business near you.