Those who know me best know how proud I am to be a Traverse City local. I’m the token townie in my group of transplant friends, and I love nothing more than showing off my beloved hometown to visitors. We’re lucky, here, and each one of us knows it.
Nothing has proven that to me more, lately, than the outpouring of love and kindness that we’ve bestowed upon one another in the wake of a tragic accident late last week. In a time of celebration, we each mourned in our own way, proving ourselves grounded and, true to Traverse City form, dedicated to banding together and holding one another up.
This accident is not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last. I am confident that retribution will be brought and I know that everything will remain the same. Everything will remain the same because this is who we are, as a neighborhood, town, and home. We are always each others’ support systems, shoulders to lean on, and listening ears. We are the friendly waves to front porch sitters from pedestrian passersby and the quick rings of bells to signal bicycles passing. We are the knowing smiles exchanged between locals when faced with hordes of tourists that we both encourage and despise. Each one of us is in the green tower of the Park Place Hotel and the clock at the corner of Union and Front. We are Washington Street, freshly paved to be enjoyed by runners, walkers, longboarders, rollerbladers, and bicyclists. Every bicyclist.
While I am haunted and saddened (so says my subconscious that has chosen to torture me for the last week), I can’t help but believe that this act was an act against all of us. We are all betrayed, and have proven ourselves fit to fight. Once again, we have risen up in the face of tragedy in order to unite as one. We are a small and loving town, but we are a force to be reckoned with.
Kelly, I met you briefly and found you to be darling. Thank you for loving life as fully and completely as you did. You are an example and inspiration for all of us.