Think purple for Pat Hill today

purple-storeFor all its Big Box glory and global commerce, America still tries to support its local treasures. One of those local treasures sits in the little town of Kaneville, 45 miles west of Chicago. As a farming town for more than 150 years, the community sits at the intersection of several country roads. There is a brightly painted blacksmith shop and several tall church steeples in town. One local bank has a small branch in Kaneville. To the east,  a massive set of fields that alternates between sod and beans and corn as the market dictates. So Kaneville is both a town of perpetual values and constant change.

kanevilleThe real heart of the community is a general store perched at the corner of Main Street and Harter Road. Colloquially known as the “Purple Store” for its lavender paint job, the actual name of the business is Hill’s Country Store. Here’s what one reviewer says about the place on Yelp!

“This is a great lil‘ country store from yesteryear. The owners are such nice folks. They have groceries and ice cream with handmade shakes and malts. Lunch meat sandwiches and pulled pork, sloppy joes and pizza. I like to go here on weekend mornings and sit at one of the picnic tables and enjoy a great coffee and maybe a breakfast sandwich and watch the morning unfold in Kaneville. A must stop if you’re in the area. You won’t be disappointed. And by the way. They also have homemade baked goodies such as cookies and pies.”

The local charm is wonderful, but among cyclists, the Purple Store is known as a key stopping point for breaks and fuel when pedaling miles of country roads around Kaneville. The store is fully stocked with sports drinks, nutrition bars and real food for cyclists. On a typical weekend, dozens of cyclists breeze into Kaneville, many to refill their bottles for long rides. But honestly, many more simply like to perch at one of the tables outside the Purple Store and feel time slow down.

Pat Hill.jpgThe woman that runs the store is Pat Hill. She’s a lovely gal with a big smile and a wholesome figure, pure country stock and with a genuine personality to mix. As you can imagine, running a business in a small town like Kaneville is as much about relationships as it is accounting, and Pat is dearly loved by the community.

Which makes it all the harder to acknowledge that she has been dealing with cancer for several years. It has spread throughout her body and even breached the blood-brain barrier. I stopped in this week and talked with Pat, but you’d never know from her appearance or her demeanor how hard the trip has been.

The community has rallied behind her with fundraisers and monetary gifts to help with medical expenses.Being a small businessperson and paying for your own medical insurance these days is difficult. Yet thankfully insurance companies can no longer bar people from gaining health care insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Otherwise people like Pat might be left out in the cold.

Purple Flower.jpgI have personal experience navigating the world of health care coverage before passage of the Affordable Care Act. I spent eight years navigating the world of health insurance offerings from HMOs to COBRA to high-risk insurance policies. I worked for small companies that lived in fear someone in their employ might come down with cancer. The spoken belief was that rates would skyrocket. At times I actually hid my late wife’s cancer from employers for those reasons.

Yet a lawyer friend of mine who once ran his own firm explained that the real risks of higher insurance premium rates for businesses stems from factors such as women of child-bearing age. That is not to suggest women who want babies should bear the brunt of insurance coverage. Not by any means. Those facts are only shared to point out that perceptions about the real sources of expense in health care coverage are often poorly understood, yet aggressively maintained.

As a result, progress on these issues is always incremental. But before provisions of the ACA went into effect, the task of finding sustainable health care coverage for those with pre-existing conditions was beyond daunting, especially if somehow a gap in coverage occurred. Today’s menu of health care insurance premiums is still egregiously imbalanced, with high deductibles dominating the market and employers stressed out of their minds trying to provide coverage for their employees. America needs a Public Option like other civilized nations around the world, and companies and organizations need to be excused from dealing with all this health care insurance expense and administration. It should never have been funneled through the world of employment in the first place.

hills-country-storeBut that brings us back to people like Pat Hill and her small business. These are the real touchpoints in all this. No matter how good your coverage may be, all insurance policies have flaws, and many have lifetime maximums. The specifics of Pat’s situation aren’t necessarily public, but suffice to say that vital contributions are helping her cope with the costs of her medical expenses, staying alive, and perhaps even gaining clearance from the cancer now vexing her body.

pat-hill-braceletSo I invite you cyclists and runners and swimmers out there to consider making a donation to help this woman whose life and business is at the heart of both a community and a lifestyle. The Purple Store is a true gem of American uniqueness. So is Pat. So if you’d like to make a donations, please send money to Old Second National Bank, PO Box 90, Kaneville, Illinois 60144. There is a support fund set up for Pat Hill, so please indicate on your envelope what the contribution is for, and the bank’s employees will see that it gets to its ultimate purpose.

Any level of contribution is welcome. I stopped in the store this week to purchase a $10 Purple Bracelet that says Love and Prayers for Pat Hill on it. The Purple Store and Pat Hill are worth a little time and money if you can give it. God Bless.


About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
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2 Responses to Think purple for Pat Hill today

  1. bgddyjim says:

    You really make me laugh. It appears they’re selling Kool-aid at the Purple Store too! Add some government and the cost doubles. So what’s the answer? A government option, naturally. As if more government ever made anything better. No thanks, bro.

  2. That’s your pet theory. This idealistic (note: neoliberal) notion of living by standards of some ethereal past, when supposedly free markets ran everything perfectly is just that: hot air. Have you forgotten the economic crash of 1929, when speculation ran the economy into the ground? That’s when robber barons concentrated wealth at the top and people went begging in the streets. Or perhaps you’d prefer the economic crash of 2008 when millions lost their jobs after the folly of eight years of supposed “jobs creator” tax cuts. The same cabal gutted financial regulations and that led to a ruined economy once again. Don’t you even listen to the news? Read a newspaper? Garner information from anywhere other than Rush Limbaugh? So: What did it take to recover the economy? The banks clammed up and wouldn’t lend money to anyone. Do you fucking remember that? I sat in meetings with members of the Valley Industrial Association, all conservative friends and associates, listening to them worry about getting access to capital to run their businesses. The banks did not care. It took reinfusions of government money to stoke the wheels again. Government invested as well in key industries, including a government-directed restructuring of the entire American auto industry. But let’s go back a bit, and not forget the achievements of the space program, which beat the Soviets and landed men on the moon (perhaps you don’t believe that, since the government lies about everything…) and that space age technology spilled over to free market companies that made billions from it. Government research into scientific areas ranging from chemical engineering to genetics to agriculture drives inventions and has led to key advancements in medical fields of all types. All these supposed “free market” areas you claim are so independent are in fact keenly dependent on government direction and support. That’s why Obama talked about the basics like infrastructure, the very foundation of our nation’s roads and services, and said to the business community, “You did not build that.” But what did conservatives like you interpret that to say? That he was dissing businesses for not building themselves. This is the kind of bullshit upon which your theories are all built. It’s a dreamland constructed to fit a very selfish, narrowminded mindset of supposed self-made men. We throw billions of dollars at the oil and gas industry, and thankfully we’re now also incentivizing cleaner forms of energy. The US government gives tax breaks to companies willing to install more efficient lighting and collaborates with energy companies to make that possible. And let’s talk about farming (not farmers, they barely exist any more): Our agriculture industry is highly dependent on government subsidies in areas of crops and beef, and the beef industry alone uses 50% of the fresh water consumed by any purpose in all of North America. And still we find out, that cattleman run their herds on public land (which are decimated by that fact) and only pay pennies on the dollar. Whose job is it to reclaim land that is now covered with invasive plants, many of which are unsuitable even for cattle to eat? The American people have to pay that bill. And what do Americans get for that tradeoff? A bunch of radically conservative nutcases taking over wildlife refuges in protest, bitching and complaining that they have to pay anything for the right to graze and use public land. Perhaps you admire yahoos like that. But if you do, you obviously live in a dreamland, because the world’s industries do not operate in a void. Yet you persist in this opinion that government is the problem. Well, let’s look at recent history, going back say, 100 years. Left unregulated, industries have soiled and polluted our oceans, our rivers, the land and yes, even our air. This process has been mitigated only through regulations passed to protect these valuable resources that are, despite what Rush Limbaugh and Fox News likes to think (for you…) are irreplaceable. Were you even alive in the 1970s? Do you have any knowledge what real air pollution was like? What acid rain was doing to kill lakes across the northern US? How many native species of birds, wildlife and fish were either driven near to extinction or reduced so much in population they now require protection? And worse than that, if you’re a people-centric believer, thousands and thousands of people were made sick by vicious sorts of toxic waste and pollution, dumped in holding ponds and even our rivers without thought to the illness and cancers they caused citizens. And now the climate is superheated thanks to all our carbon emissions, and conservatives call that a hoax. Do you have any sort of sense of context at all? Do you see from the corrections we’ve had to implement in all these categories of economics, environment and energy that government is NOT the problem? It’s the unwillingness or inability to connect facts these facts that is the problem. And that includes our current health care system, where conservatives moaned that Obama was going to create “death panels” for your grandpa and grandma when in fact it was policies such as exclusion from healthcare thanks to pre-existing conditions that resulted in massive numbers of deaths for people who could not get health care or even access to their prescriptions. It’s disgusting how ignorant conservatives have behaved on all this, first refusing to address, much less garner a health care costs runup that gained 12% by year (source: Crain’s Chicago Business) under George W. Bush. In case you can’t do the math that quick, that’s a 96% cost increase under GWB alone. But that’s not strictly the Republican’s fault. Let’s admit that. Democrats did not, until the leadership of President Obama, see clear to reorganize the manner in which profit-taking was leading to a collective and increasing death panel for millions of people in the United States. So we put the brakes on for a bit, to see why the health care engine was overheating. And what did Republicans do? They fought and whined, then clapped when the insurance companies and Pharma and health providers alike all stomped on the gas in hopes of outrunning the change. What we need in this country is some real, conservative self-control. But the narrative on health care for those with coverage was simple and blunt: “I’ve got mine. Don’t touch it.” And so the selfishness continued with the GOP led Congress trying 50 times to repeal the ACA, never admitting that they authored the very worst provisions of the bill themselves, or allowed the very industries able to ramp up the costs to write those elements of the bill to their own protection and benefit. So your complaints are hollow, stupid and arrogant. If you could provide one iota of a fact about what the GOP has offered in terms of solutions to American problems, other than policies that have already grossly backfired, I’m all ears. The GOP has simply lost its way, and Donald Trump is a giant orange scarecrow pointing his arms in all directions. There is no pride in either purpose there. I wish it weren’t true. I’ve voted more many sane and conservative Republicans over the years. But this national debacle is neither sane or conservative. Not by any definition of the word. The Public Option can indeed save business in America by taking the burden of health care administration off the backs of millions of business leaders in this country. Let them focus on growing their companies instead, and hire people to help them do it. Let health care coverage migrate to its own markets, and get Republicans and Democrats to the table to negotiate this process, all for the benefit of every working and unworking American, because that is the philosophy of this nation, to take care of those in need. That also happens to be a Christian principle, and would be the closest we’ve come in many years to acting like a Christian nation. But let’s also remember, the Constitution does not support a state religion. It supports the very liberal and foundational principle that people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, yes. But not to make everyone believe under the same religious symbol, or political party, or maniac dictator. Which is where we might be headed.

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