What is “Essential”?

Minnesota’s Governor, Tim Walz, issued an executive “STAY AT HOME” order Wednesday that goes into effect Friday night.  All non-essential businesses will temporarily close.  I’m sending love to all the service-industry workers, the tattoo artists, the flower shop employees, the servers, the administrative assistants, the assembly line workers who find themselves suddenly without employment.  May you find the help you need quickly and with the least amount of economic and emotional pain.

In Walz’s plan, liquor stores are allowed to remain open.  We can’t have folks withdrawing from alcohol and taking up hospital beds.  This is the actual truth.

Let’s talk about essential.  I slurp down maybe four alcoholic beverages per year.  NOT essential FOR ME.

Join me while I take a break from crowd-sourcing my husband’s Personal Protective Equipment to generate a list of “non-essential” businesses that I’ll miss during hibernation:

1) Old School by Steeple People:  My favorite thrift store.  I’m a donor, customer, volunteer, and Board member.  We closed voluntarily nearly two weeks ago to enable social distancing.  I miss the store almost desperately.  Just being in the space, interacting with neighborhood customers, brings me much joy.  Over the past forty years, we’ve donated our modest profits to local charities.  Our store will likely be needed more than ever after COVID-19 rattles through our community.

2) Flying Pig Thrift:  My other favorite local thrift store.  This shop is relatively new on the scene.  It’s cute.  It’s little.  Look for it on the other side.

3) The Hamline library:  I love this petite library, all cozy in one big room.  Thank goodness I stopped in just before the libraries closed.  I snagged a huge pile of Romance novels.  And now they aren’t due for basically ever.

4) The Goodwill Outlet on Fairview and University:  Are you seeing a trend in this data?  (I threw the library in #3 just to screw up your theories.)  A colorful cohort of resellers populates this store, many of them every single day.  I love buying books (19 cents per inch) for our Little Free Library.  When I’m feeling adventurous, I free range out into the fray, picking up a sweater or a lamp or a handful of elastic.

5) Gerten’s Garden Center:  I could live at Gerten’s.  I’d set up my hammock under the gazebo amongst the stylish porch furniture and cook my meals on the display grills.  During the winter, I’d snuggle down with the houseplants or curl up under the twinkle-lit Christmas trees.  Acres and acres of plants.  Nirvana.

6) Cake:  Any blessed place that sells cake.  Cafe Latte would top the list for their chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting between layers and pink decadence on top with a chocolate strizzle. Technically, I might be able to get take-out cake.  But if we’re really trying to abide by the “stay home” order, I’m forced to confess that cake isn’t essential?  (silently weeping)

7) South High Community Band:  Sigh.  I’m afraid our band season may be over for this school year.  I love hanging out with this talented group of musicians.  We’re a great bunch of alums, current students, parents of students, and community members.  There is nothing quite like the pleasure of making music in-person with other folks.

8) Bachman’s Garden Center:  Gerten’s is the Tesla Model S of an outdoor plant experience.  Bachman’s is more like the Toyota Corolla: compact, reliable, comfortable.  But the indoor experience at Bachman’s is tres groovy, with home decorating, humid greenhouses, and koi ponds.  I’ll live at Gerten’s during the summer and Bachman’s during the winter.

That’s kind of it for my essentials.  I don’t get out much beyond the above.  What will you miss during your hibernation?  (Ace stated unequivocally, “I’m leaving liquor stores on the list.”)

Musical Moment

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