This letter is in response to the guest comment written by Celia Grohmann of Missoula, regarding a sculpture piece and the hot dog stand in the center of Stevensville.
Let me start by stating, that I too believe that art should be cherished. However, I could not disagree more with Ms. Grohmann’s opinion about the hot dog stand.
I was born and raised in this town; my family has been here for over 45 years and have been constant contributors to this community. For someone from Missoula to drive through our town and write a complaint letter about the positive business and happenings in our town, well, I find that “very insulting, in bad taste, disrespectful, etc!”
Let’s examine why: We’ll start with the basic history of Stevensville, a little fact that we locals are pretty proud of is that Stevensville is Montana’s oldest community. We take our community seriously, and we love our busy town. We love our Creamery Picnic, we love our First Fridays, we love our Christmas Tree Lighting celebration, we love Western Heritage Days and we love our Founding Fathers Celebration, we love our Stevensville Yellowjackets. By all definitions, we LOVE our community.
Now, let me explain to you what I see at that corner by the bank at almost any given point during a 24 hour day. I see an empty corner, with a dancing statue. A generously donated, very nice piece of artwork, all alone on an empty corner.
Since the hot dog vendors have been on that corner, I have seen an element we normally only see at Creamery and Christmas and a few other times – that the epicenter of our town is ebullient with activity for a few hours every day of the week. It’s moving, it’s busy, it’s happy – it’s alive. That hot dog stand and its patrons embody everything that Stevensville is proud of – neighbors, people gathering, going about the process of life, having a good time, small enterprise, and community in the immediate presence of our cherished art, not apart and aloof from it.
So, please, don’t tell us what to do in our community. We implore you to not “protest to, ask, cajole, disrupt, beg, plead or taunt” our vendors in any manner, as we have no need nor want for rudeness or spite in our happy little town. Furthermore, the hot dog stand HAS made a “huge and positive change in the perception of the town,” at least the way we want our town to be perceived – as a lively, thriving community.
I hope that maybe people can open their eyes and minds and truly see what is going on at that corner – the greatness of community, enjoying food from a local business, all the while gathering under and around a cherished work of art, a statue that depicts dancing and merriment, animated by the clamor and fellowship of the people who make up our great community.
Rachel Louise Burk