One year after the day the floods struck Calgary, June 21 has been declared Neighbour Day by Mayor Nenshi. It is a day to celebrate and get to know your neighbours. For those flood stricken neighborhoods, a day to thank the volunteers properly. I chose to go to the Bowness Boots and Hearts celebration because I spent two full days volunteering there. I was also invited to a party by my coworker, who was away in Europe while volunteers cleaned out his basement.
I got off the bus, near where it used to be Mary’s corner store. The irony is that, the store is now torn down and a new house is going up next to it. But the lot for the store sits empty. I headed towards Bow Crescent where it was ground zero for the flood in that community. Streets were blocked off and a private security guard was manning each blockade. A little extreme perhaps, for the mood of the day? Compare that to police manning blockades a year ago and first responders everywhere.
I walked a few blocks on the crescent, just to take in the festivities. Every house had signage, of which many were large bristol board hearts, with messages of thanks and positivity on them. Nearly every second house had free food on the table for passers by. Ironically, there was a similar situation last year. There were signs on the properties, indicating no power, help needed, or thanking volunteers. The food stands then were run by the volunteers. The roads were closed then.
I kept all the addresses I helped out at, meaning to get to each of them. I only got to one, and the homeowner remembered me! It was a surreal moment. I signed her sign that she hung on her garage door. She is doing well, but has not rebuilt her basement.
I didn’t get as far as the stage, or the park set up for family fun day. I did stop by on Bowwater Crescent to talk to a gentleman with signs on his lawn handing out ice cream. I took up on his offer of an ice cold treat and listened to his story. This truly what today is all about, recalling the stories of last year and seeing how people have moved on with their lives. And thanking the volunteers.
I finally arrived at my coworkers house. There were already a few people there, all of whom I work with. It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food. Plenty of stories and friendship. This is what I came for.
Calgary, yet again you have impressed me. I am a proud to be a citizen of this fine city.