Friday, March 8, 2013


5 a.m. on a postcard Saskatchewan summer morning.  Robins are sprinkling their song all over the yard.  The fragrance of the cedar and junipers perfumes the driveway.  The sun warms us as we place the last bags in the car, and belt ourselves in.  Calgary, here we come.

But wait . . . there's something on the windshield!  Unbuckling my seatbelt, I climb out to check.  Funny, I can't remember leaving anything on the hood while packing.  Not that not remembering means anything.

Looking more closely, I find four homemade bran muffins, a tiny jar of homemade chokecherry jam, two plastic plates and knives, napkins, and a note from Gloria.  "Have a great trip.  Enjoy these as you drive."

My heart feels warm, and it's not the sun any more.  That's the neighborhood we have lived in for almost 37 years.  Whether it's to the east or to the west,  or across the street, random acts of kindness abound.  Muffins for a trip, antipasto for Christmas, a photo of four-year-old Daniel with a robin on his arm, a heads-up that the car lights are still on.  We've been an exclusive club for a long time.  Brought together by chance, we have solidified friendships over beer the firepit,  beer on the patio,  wine around the dining room table, and block garage sales.  The crowing glory, though, is the annual block party, complete with Marv's baked beans, Cameron's curly fries, Gloria's potato salad, Ken and Darren's hamburgers and hotdogs barbecued to perfection, and my coconut cream pie, back by popular demand.

Today, invitations for coffee in the morning, and supper on the weekend.  I mean, we haven't visited now for a couple of weeks.  These are truly moments to remember.

How much longer do we have to enjoy each other on the block?  Our neighbor to the west has already moved to an apartment.  What about on the east side?  Gloria has been a surrogate mother to me and grandmother for the kids.  Before very long, we will be the seniors on the block.  Upholding the tradition will be our responsibility.  The bar has been set very high.  I want to be for any new neighbours the paragon of kindness and hospitality that our neighbours have been for us.  The torch will be ours to hold high.

Time to pay the kindness forward.

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