April 26, 2011
In an old scrapbook, I have a booklet I made in grade one, called “Helpers in our Town.” It of course includes the mailman, the policeman, the fireman, the grocer – and even the milkman! (Yes, I was in grade one a long time ago).
Anyway, today this Penticton pedestrian was out and about, and noticed that while milkmen may be in short supply, we still have plenty of Helpers in our Town. Some of them are obvious, like the firefighters racing to an emergency, and the landscapers and clean-up crews keeping our famous Penticton beaches clean and inviting. (Did you know that the 2011 Travellers Choice Awards for Best Beaches in Canada rated Penticton’s beaches 2nd in Canada, behind only Tofino? Pretty awesome! Read about it here.)
Some of the Helpers in our Town are less obvious, working quietly behind the scenes to provide lovely gardens in their yards for passersby to enjoy; or walking the streets and alleys, without pay, reaching out to and caring for those in need. Some seem to be like the elves in the “elves and the shoemaker” story, as they come in, do their job, and then are gone – but leave behind something for us all to enjoy like the new gazebo by the beach. Others tuck spring bulbs into public spaces, and suddenly bright red tulips add a bright splash of color to somewhat-scruffy-end-of-winter xeriscape garden beds.
And then there are the patient folks like Larry (pictured with my pedestrian pal Ruth) who diligently clean up our streets year round, in all kinds of weather, picking up the detritus that other folks unthinkingly toss aside. Larry’s barrel was overflowing this morning with garbage that people have tossed into the flower beds along Main Street, even though there are garbage containers handy on every block. Kind of discouraging – but Larry was cheerful and friendly as always, especially as the city has finally given him a key to a centrally located bin where he can empty his barrel and then get back out again, doing what he loves to do: be a Helper in our Town.