‘We aren’t in this alone’: As the coronavirus shakes our world, we have a chance to shine

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This guest column is by Michael Brower, the co-owner of Pigeon Hill Brewing Company in downtown Muskegon.

Yesterday, I watched as my world burned down around me. My friend David Ringler, referring to the survival of local businesses, told MiBiz that it “is going to be a bloodbath.” Those were my exact sentiments as the news came in.

(Hang with me; this story is long, but it gets better.)

Everything that Joel, Chad, Alana, Ryan, Chris, Amy, Nichole, Dylan, Becky, Hippy Jesus Zack, Timmy, Mikayla, Heather, Shawn, Grace, Dana, New Zack, and I had put our hearts and souls into over the last six years seemed to come crashing down around us Monday morning.

As someone who could potentially be personally impacted by the virus—I’m a severe asthmatic who foolishly smoked during 10 years of his misbegotten youth—I’m terrified of it. Realistically though, I’m even more terrified of the impact on the world economy, on our local economy, on the businesses of my friends, and on my family at Pigeon Hill.

Here’s where this turns the corner.

These fears have haunted me for a few days, but today, as our team drank disinfectant beverages (rum and whisky) together and discussed the future of our company, I remembered a few things:

1. We aren’t in this alone. So many of you are facing these same challenges right now. And our hearts go out to you.

2. Our family—and the community around us—is incredible. They’ve already proven that with their support by email, Facebook messages, and coming out to see us.

3. Life goes on.

4. Perhaps most importantly: Life Is Beautiful. Even in its darkest moments, life is beautiful. Struggles abound every day, and they will be significantly more omnipresent in the days to come—but it is because of these struggles that we can appreciate the beauty around us. When a fire burns down a forest, the first flower to bloom is always the most beautiful. When a baby is born…well, it goes from really creepy to really beautiful in a few minutes flat.

We’re entering times that seem so very dark. And yet, to quote a favorite movie of mine, “the night is always darkest before the dawn.” Remember, the hardships you see ahead of you are shared by almost everyone around you. None of us are alone in our struggles right now.

Today, and in the weeks to come, we are all family. Don’t hesitate to call on me if you need something. At the same time, please do remember to support those around you. Whether that means helping a neighbor who can’t do a task on their own or supporting a local business that is facing the same uncertain future as every other local business, do your part to keep our larger family healthy.

As we work together, and get through this together, we have a chance to build empathy and a sense of community that our world has been lacking as of late. We will all get through this, and in doing so, our generations (all of the generations) have a chance to shine. Let’s show ‘em what Gen COVID can do.

2 thoughts on “‘We aren’t in this alone’: As the coronavirus shakes our world, we have a chance to shine

  • March 17, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Would like to reply to pigeon hill brewery owner mikael bower your response about hard times we’re having. Was uplifting as my wife and I are self employed. Being a plumber we have pretty faithful clientele and lots of new ones. We’re as we also own select auditorium with full service restaurant which has closed by state as everyone else

  • March 18, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I have been fortunate to have made many friends throughout the United States, via the miracle that is the World Wide Web. Many of them are leaders in the gun community, as well as the transgender rights movement. I have been fortunate to count as a friend the leader of the gun rights group, The Pink Pistols, who is also the founder and leader of the group, Operation Blazing Sword, a group of people who will train anyone, of the LGBTQ+ community to use guns safely, judgement and cost free. She has taught me to treat all people with dignity and respect. I have found that the one who has benefited the most, from this, has been me, not the ones I have helped.

    Pigeon Hill Brewery is a treasure, and we are blessed to have such a great bunch of people here in Muskegon. I can tell that they are one of the many businesses here that will try to help anyone, without the slightest bit of judgement, no matter whether the person is just down on their luck, or they are very much of lower class, or addicted to drugs, or have a prison record. The good, kind, and caring people like these always shine and are visible to all.
    I have never been to their business, but rest assured, when the pandemic is under control, I and my wife, and anyone else I can tell, will try to make you so busy, that you have to hire additional help.
    And as a Christian who believes that prayer is the most important part of defeating this crisis, your name is at the top of my list, for your safety and for your business.


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