Elliot Street in Brattleboro.
Photoillustration by Flickr User Alan/Creative Commons license
Elliot Street in Brattleboro.

Let’s make our future as bright as the past we remember

My days consist of doing my part to try to make our community a good place — and not allowing anger, frustration, and resentment to stop me from building something great

Shelby Brimmer is the owner, with Paul Martocci, of Martocci's Restaurant on Elliot Street in downtown Brattleboro.

BRATTLEBORO-I was sitting on the roof the other day, enjoying my morning coffee, soaking up the sun and the sounds of downtown - the industrious hum of vehicles, the persistent chirping of birds, the hammering of power tools atop the parking garage, and the morning conversations of passersby.

Many people arrive downtown on foot. Some are bustling to get their first cup o' joe, others enjoying their last moments before work, walking their dogs, or just stretching their legs while they decide what will come next.

This particular morning, a pair of men emerged from the parking garage.

"Beautiful weather, isn't it?" one of them hollered to another man passing underneath my feet.

I smiled, thinking to myself, "They're right, it is such a beautiful morning."

Not a moment later, he shouted, "Too bad they don't have more places to sit - there's nowhere to drink our beer."

He then continued to remark that even if there were a good place to sit, the cops were already out and about. He lamented that he probably wouldn't be able to finish his beer in "one go."

His positive happy comment about the weather mutated into a diatribe about how inconvenient a lack of unmonitored public seating is to his desire to drink a tallboy in public at 9 a.m.

* * *

I'm not petty enough to let words ruin my day, or so devoid of compassion that I forget that this man deserves more than my anger and frustration.

But my days consist of more than finding a bench on which to drink a beer uncontested.

They consist of trying to keep a small business running so that our employees have jobs and our community has a welcoming, open storefront.

This man represents an obstacle to our success as a downtown business and as property owners.

My days consist of doing my part to try to make Brattleboro, our community, a good place in which to live, work, and unwind.

I do not envy this man's circumstances, nor do I know his story. However, it is difficult not to feel impatience and resentment when we are working so hard and it feels as though others are working hard not to.

* * *

It was not even 10 a.m. when I sat down to start writing this letter. The weather was still beautiful. But that moment served as a reminder that we have a lot of work to do if we want our future to be as bright as we remember our past to be.

I cannot say exactly what that looks like for each of you.

For me, it looks like not allowing anger, frustration, and resentment to stop me from building something great.

It looks like sharing my experiences with people who can make changes that I cannot.

And it looks like being patient and kind, no matter the circumstances.

Your part could look like dropping downtown to pick up food, browse the shops, or enjoy a beverage with a friend. Not just to support the businesses, but to engage with everyone you run into downtown, to take up space on our sidewalks positively and productively, and to help set boundaries.

Or it could look like communicating with our Selectboard, state representatives, or local law enforcement about concerns or ideas you might have about our community.

No matter how you choose to try to make our community better, thank you for doing your part. And if that part involves joining us downtown to support our local small business, we look forward to seeing you!

Signing off from 75 Elliot St.

This Voices Viewpoint was submitted to The Commons.

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