Dear Main Street,
I’m not gonna lie. When I first moved here, I probably made fun of you, said some things that weren’t very nice, and didn’t really think that it was someplace I wanted to be. I knew that people were trying to make it better. And they were trying to bring new businesses to Main Street. But all I could really see was how hard it was to park, get my baby out of the car seat, and then get my non-compliant toddler out of their booster seat, all in a safe and efficient manner.
Beyond that, though, I knew that there were shops I really wanted to be in. But sitting in a coffee shop with two screaming kids was not the way I wanted to spend my days. So for the first few years I didn’t spend very much time on Main Street. It wasn’t until the kids got older that I started looking at things we could be doing on Main Street together. Around that time, things like foodie Fridays and music on Friday nights started happening. And there were opportunities to go walking. I loved taking the kids to foodie Fridays to the concerts and showing them all the architecture downtown.
We would always make a stop at the comic book store and usually bought at least one comic per kid. If I was able to that month, we’d go to dinner, usually at the Chop Shop and then stick around and listen to music or look at their crafts, or whatever was happening. I really miss that right now. I miss being able to walk Main Street, say hi to people, see my friends, my colleagues, my now fellow business owners and people who I’ve created relationships with over the last eight years.
Eight years. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for eight years. I’ve been coming to Butler since I was 17. After I met this amazing guy in Philmont, New Mexico. But that is a story for another letter and another time. My honest impression at 17 after living in Phoenix my whole life? “Oh! So this is what is a few miles up after you exit the freeway. I always wondered about that. It’s so cute!”
I still think about that when I drive past the exit for 422 on Route 8. We think of it as a road that goes to small towns, but really, Butler is the town that is getting passed by. The people driving North on 79 don’t even see a sign for Butler. The highway we have that passes all the Butler’s in Arizona is the I-17. We are Radiator Springs if you hadn’t caught my drift yet.
Living here has shown me that life is happening in every hamlet, village, city, town, and metropolis just the same as everywhere else. The things we worry about, strive for, and dream of may be different, but the human experience of trying to find our way through the time we have on this earth is the same. Whether your hometown is a tourist trap, snowbird paradise, or a fly-through (or around) town, it’s yours.
Here in this small town (yes Butler is a small town, fight me), the human experience is happening every day. Every day we breathe is an opportunity to find our way. When I found my way to Main Street years later to ultimately decide to buy ConnectWork on Main, I had just started to appreciate the community that is here and what it could be, when we all needed to adapt to a different human experience.
To say that I was bummed would be the understatement of the decade or at least the year. I thrive on routines and the opportunity to grow and support my community. Having to change (and close) all the things I had just created was a bit heart-wrenching. Here’s the thing though, no matter what the future holds for me and for the community I have come into, I know that you will be there.
Here’s what I want you to know, Main Street
I want you to know that the minute we’re allowed to go play again, I will be there.
I will be there with my kids
I will be there with my friends
I will be there with my joy and laughter
I will be there with my failures and my success
I will be there with my support and energy
& I will revel in the history you hold for this little town I’ve found myself in
See you soon,