Friday, May 06, 2011


Dawn was only moments away when I awoke to behold my very favourite kind of May morning. Light had not yet touched the horizon. Robins were advertising for mates. A slight breeze was teasing the drapery strings and then—here was something new—I rolled over and found myself face to face with the guy who won the Good Neighbour award for Edmonton’s Ward 6. You might say that I’m his very closest neighbour. Perhaps he was thinking that also.
“You must have helped them with the nomination,” he said on the day when he first heard about the coming honour.
“Actually, I didn’t,” I confessed sheepishly. The nominator was another woman, Lorna Thomas, vice-president of the Riverdale Community League. I would have helped if she’d asked, but she didn’t need me. Her information, limited as it was, was comprehensive enough to clinch the case.
Last night we attended a gathering to celebrate the contributions of 12 good neighbours and a vigorous band of Snow Angels. The Snow Angels shovel snow for people who need help—a lot of help this past winter. The Good Neighbours are nominated for all sorts of reasons. Each of the 2011 award winners undoubtedly does a few dozen neighbourly things that were not mentioned on the application. Last night we heard about the dedicated staff of a neighbourhood grocery store, a committee that refurbished a playground, a community league that started a special program for low income children, a community garden founder, a helpful handyman, safety patrollers, party planners, a generous jack-of-all-trades, and people who make their neighbourhoods feel like friendly caring places.
When it was time to celebrate my own closest good neighbour, the host read a short paragraph to the assembled crowd. Among other things, the host said, “His nominator Lorna Thomas noted not just what David does for his neighbourhood but how
he does it. He goes about things quietly and diligently, getting the job done, getting people involved and simply making Riverdale the best it can be.” She did, of course mention a few of the things he does. He’s been Community League secretary, planning committee co-chair, and facilitator of multiple processes, some controversial, some dull-but-necessary. He sells League memberships and makes connections while he collects. He organizes teams and plans parties.
Life quickly returned to normal for the Ward 6 Good Neighbour after last night’s celebration drew to a close. He drove me to choir practice, did the grocery shopping and walked the dog.
“Good choice, Wendy,” I said to myself, turning to face the sleeping guy in the last few seconds before the dawning of today. “You sure do know how to pick a close neighbour.”

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