On a deserted Main Street, Perham's hope found in its windows

Perham's West Main Street was nearly empty at noon on Monday, March 30. (RosaLin Alcoser / Focus)

A warm breeze and soft clear blue skies set the noon hour on Monday, March 30.

A normal weekday usually sees Perham’s West Main Street full of people going in and out of restaurants and stores while on their lunch breaks.

But on this, the third day of Minnesota's stay-at-home order, the street offered a stillness usually found only in the earliest hours of the morning.

Aside from a few cars going down the road, and the stray person or two walking across the street, Perham is empty. Stores that had been bustling just days before now have signs in their windows and doors, all with some version of “we are closed until April 10 due to governor's order.”

A couple of the signs in the windows tell passersby that they are still open -- just call and they'll take an order.


The busiest place is the drive-up window at the bank and the post office. Every place else, however, is desolate. Maybe a store owner is inside, still offering a friendly wave, even separated by the window -- and at least 6 feet otherwise.

But that’s it: The stores are all shut up just waiting for an opening hour that’s not coming soon.

Then, something unexpected happened.

Those bare windows and doors starting to grow happy, colorful cutouts of hearts. A world of hearts symbolizing hope during this pandemic.

Hope for what though? The hope for things to go back to how they were before?

No, it's that hope that yells, “we’re still here, and we will be when it ends!” When this feeling of being in the worst part of a war film stops, we will all come back out of our homes and fill the streets again.

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