Goodbyes and Hellos

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

The Christmas season always brings about ambivalence in me. The festivities bring about a sense of melancholy (for all the ones we've lost and cannot have back), and good cheer (for all the loved ones still around and gather with to reminisce). This year has been difficult for a lot of people and a lot of small businesses. While there are 7+ billion people around the world and millions of small businesses out there trying to stay afloat, I do want to focus my attention to just 1 person, and 1 small business.

One Person Lost

In April 2000, I was baptized into the Seventh Day Adventist Church by this man, Pastor Albert Dy. In my younger years, I always viewed him as the Buddha of our community. At least the smiling and happy one. Behind the cheerful demeanor and the warm hugs, he was a man who inspired deep, critical thinking and finding ways to make things happen. He was always proud of his children and how he has brought them up. He and his wife valued education - asking hard questions and seeking truth. He passed away just a few days ago and I will always carry those values with me.

One Small Business Lost

This morning when I woke up to check my emails, I saw a familiar shop's name with the heading "Sad Announcement". Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop was one of the Local Yarn Stores (LYS) we visited yearly during the Yarn Shop Hop that happens mid-July in the Driftless Loop. Having lived in Northeast, Iowa for 3 and 1/2 years, it is a joy to drive around the Driftless Loop (Caledonia, MN; Winona, MN; La Crosse, WI; Viroqua, WI; and back to Decorah, IA) lugging around a whiny husband, a curious little one, and compadre in knitting to join the hunt for yarn treasures. I remember Unwound as a small gem in La Crosse to visit. In fact, any LYS or small business is memorable.

In the vast seas of retail and capitalism, small businesses are the places you find connection, community, and true quality. It's the kind of quality that you cannot buy from Big