I out for my daily walk, and started wondering what could the topic be about Community for this issue of the Breezes. I couldn’t think of anything…..then an experience got my thinking going. Here a few ideas on building community from the sidewalk!
- As I was walking, two boys were looking down a driveway into a backyard talking excitedly. I could hear them wondering if this was the right place and if they should knock on the door. So I asked them what was going on and if they needed any help. They told me they thought there was a dead animal back there. So I offered to help out (and I put on my mask). We knocked on the door and all of us stepped back. The man that answered didn’t think it was in their backyard. So the boys took me around to their house and showed me the dead animal laying by a small shed, probably a skunk. The boys also thought there were babies under the shed. We sighted a landmark to identify the correct house, and went back around the corner.
This time a woman answered the door, and it turned out that I knew her! She came out to the back, went behind the shed and found the dead animal. The boys were her neighbours and they told her about the babies. By that time, one of the mom’s came out calling one of the boys to come home. The woman and I thanked the boys and we left her discussing who to phone with the boy’s mom over the back fence.
I waved goodbye to the boys, who are students at St. Lawrence and told them I would write about them in the Community Newspaper because they showed what being a good neighbour is! Good work, if you are reading this!
- I wrote about a strong community on Macaulay West in the last issue. This month, one of the neighbour’s child had a birthday. No party. So, mom passed out sparklers to all the neighbours and asked everyone to come outside at 7:00 to sing Happy Birthday!
3.We recently had new neighbours move in. And more on the way as another house is for rent and another one sold! I recall that there used to be a “welcome” for new neighbours. So when I saw them outside, I (and other neighbours) introduced ourselves. I sent over maps of the neighbourhood with places marked on it (I used City Tourism maps) – grocery store, Compass Health Centre, Bennetto Rec Center, schools, parks and walking trails, Sobi bike stands, etc. I included some extra “garbage tags”.
- Another walking story. Across the street from where I was walking home, I noticed a man and woman seemed to be struggling with bags of groceries, obviously going home from FB. They seemed to put the stuff down, reorganize and set off again. In normal times I would offer to help carry it home, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I put on a mask and offered to have them drop some off on my front porch, a few houses away and come back. Or they could borrow my “cart”. They thanked me for the offer, but thought they could manage, but said if I ever found groceries on my porch, it would be theirs!
- Garbage day also allows the opportunity to be a good neighbour. I was out walking on Monday when a friend on Strachan was out helping a neighbour deal with bags of garbage. And often, people aren’t home until later, their blue boxes and cans are often blocking the sidewalk for hours. One of my neighbours moves the bins off the sidewalk, and if he knows you, puts them away. Nice!
- It’s spring. A great time to make your front yard interesting. Put a chair and plants out front. Or a Little Free Library. I often stop and look at flowers in windows or in the yard. And some people put up interesting signs or decorations in their yard. Like “tin men” from Bay Street!
- And the last thing is a small but important one. Just say HI! Now a days, we have learned that the sidewalk doesn’t allow 2 meters distance when passing on a sidewalk and one person usually crosses the street or walks in the street. Say HI!