Friday, April 13, 2007

Ketchum, what ails thee?

To Ketchum, and to those who might survive this worst year in 15, may the Force be with you.

Bonnie Salmon is a Ketchum resident and business owner.


I perused the Express Wednesday, April 4: Ah ... two more businesses closing. Previously, through the grapevine, I have heard of 45 closings since the first of the year. It has been the worst year in 15 years—the hushed voices of the still-existing shop owners whisper to each other. I am tired of whispering. It is time that we all scream out loud.

The constant phone calls asking for well-deserved payment ... "I have no money—sales have been pitiful," I say, trying to sound convincing. I picture myself hanging by the neck in the town square while angry creditors throw rocks at my quivering body.

My poor landlord is quaking in his boots. He says that I must pay or leave ... rightfully so, my heart goes out to him. I feel his pain. Who will take over my lease? I wonder. There are so many available spots in town, what are my chances or his, of finding a viable business to take over and save us both?

Just think of it, me, a successful failure in the business world—helplessness overwhelms me. While I am wallowing in this murky pool of desperation, the phone rings. Caller I.D. indicates that the caller is my bank—oops, I am in trouble again. Perhaps being stoned in the town square is the better alternative ... do I dare answer the phone ... I am not sure whether I can bear the humiliation.

My gaze travels to the 200 pens that I have corralled in a trendy leather container. That damned novelty store in Seattle had convinced me that I definitely needed these personalized objects ... they don't even work ... could I possibly sell them to unsuspecting prey on a corner near Atkinsons' Market? I wonder where I have placed my dark glasses; the white cane presents a more challenging problem.

My friends are concerned, as is my soon-to-be-husband. Secretly, I know that they are waiting for me to crack. I am told not to worry, everything will work out. Right. I glance around my little store. What in the world am I going to do with $200,000 worth of inventory? I know instinctively that my beloved dog will insist on gravy and kibble—perhaps I can convince her that this leather sofa is really cow.

I am at the end of my rope. What would I do for the $35,000 that will quench the fires and allow me safe passage through until July? I search the help wanted section ... hmmm, someone has an ad for models ... do you think they would find my 60-year-old form alluring? Wal-Mart greeter flashes to the front of my exasperated thoughts. That will never do—my poor car is older than I am (in car years)—surely, it will get me to Twin for a week or two?

Well, Ketchum, I have decided that you are very sick. The prescription for your ailment is elusive; perhaps you need a cocktail of remedies. I, for one, have no answers. Am I the only one with my feet in the quagmire? I will continue to struggle to set myself free, but this darn mud is so persistent.

For those of you who have supported my business, I am grateful. May you please be fruitful and multiply—quickly, I think I might have another 22 days. I must go now and prepare invitations for the upcoming event in the town square. Please, regrets only.

To Ketchum, and to those who might survive this worst year in 15, may the Force be with you.

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