Posted by: Sally Ingraham | December 27, 2008

Hope and Pride

With my trip over, Christmas celebrations with family completed, and the first night of work behind me, I have to say that my vacation has officially run it’s course. It’s time to hunker down into a winter routine. I’m pretty excited about this actually, as the next couple of months should be filled with creative projects, casual gatherings with friends, and work that is both fun and easy.

I was reading the Mount Desert Islander this morning, and was reminded once again to give thanks for my sometimes seemingly silly job. As the unemployment rate in Maine soars, I am secure in a place that should keep on keeping on, come what may. After all, people will always watch movies.

As we start up a new season at Reel Pizza Cinerama, I am re-realizing how incredibly important it is to me to be working at a unique business that is so meaningful to the community. That it is a successful one is even more special.

I was saddened to see The Music Bar close last year, and felt partially responsible. Every time I had bought music online that summer came rushing back to me. Why didn’t I go to my own local store and buy the album, supporting the artist and my community? I felt so guilty for succumbing to convenience and fewer dollar signs.

I am saddened once again to see that The Port in a Storm Bookstore, over in Somesville, is closing after 16 years. There were letters in the newspaper from people across the country who visited the store while vacationing on the Island, offering their condolences. It is heart-wrenching that in these days, a great bookstore that is well loved by both locals and those “from away” can’t stumble on. Love is not enough.

Regardless, in defiance and in hope, I now find myself on an odd sort of crusade, trying to help out the local businesses in my own tiny way. I buy books at Sherman’s for far more than I could get them through, and rent movies at Arnold’s (even though I’m also a Netflix fiend). I am determined, in spite of higher costs, to buy yarn at Bee’s and fabric and paper at Fabricate this winter. (I’m too lazy to drive to Ellsworth anyway…!) I love that these businesses exist in my small town and that they are year-round stores in a summer-tourism based area.

As we continue down dreary recession road, these businesses are threatened by what is very likely the last straw in the giant broom of online purchasing and big brand stores that has been trying to sweep them away for years. For my conscience’s sake, I have to do what I can with my own small means.

And so, as I watched happy, excited folks fill the lobby of the movie theater once again last night, I felt a good deal of pride. I am immensely pleased to be working in a cool place, with people I like and respect, and feel ready to serve even the crankiest old men, or the stickiest little child as much popcorn and pizza as they want.

I’m just glad the MDI community is still willing (and grateful) to crawl out of their winter hibernation holes to watch a movie. Although I may regret it later, (like next weekend when we play Twilight AND Quantum of Solace simultaneously) at the moment I would just like to say, with all sincerity, “Thank you for coming!”

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