When I was a kid, the street we lived on was my universe. I?d fly out the door with a quick ?I?m going out to play?, and before I could get the door shut my mom would call out the One Big Rule: ?Stay on our block!?
I could disappear all morning under that rule. There were plenty of kids to play with ans if I happened to skin my knee, somebody?s mom would slap a bandage on it, or settle a fight, or get us down from the strong, thick and shady limbs of The Apple Tree. ?You?ll fall out of there and break your necks, now get down this minute!? she?d holler. I tell you, I remember those apples like it was yesterday. They had a banana-apple flavour and no other apple has matched its sweetness or its crispness since.
We chased butterflies and each other with a couple of neighbourhood dogs at our heels. The best lawn on the block belonged to cranky old Mrs. Baillie and sometimes the urge to roll in its lush sweetness was overpowering. Eventually we?d make too much noise and she?d come out with her broom and shoo us all away.
Around need, somebody?s mom would stand on her front porch and holler for her child to come on in for lunch. That was the signal for the rest of us to head home for soup and sandwiches.
After lunch, the younger ones would have to take their afternoon naps and I can remember drifting off to sleep on drowsy summer days to the drone of sawdust trucks filling household furnace bins or mom rattling around in the kitchen baking something good. When I was older and we had run out of sugar or flour or eggs before payday, I was sent to the neighbour?s for a cup of this or that and admonished to make sure I said, ?thank you?.
When our moms had time they talked to each other over the fence, catching up on all the neighbourhood news. On the weekend our dads helped each other with car repairs or any of the other big jobs a house required.
When money was tight for one of our block families, they were invited over for dinner, or sometimes when the weather was good we?d have block parties and everyone would bring something good to eat. Even Mrs. Baillie brought her special brownies. The leftovers always went to the family in need. Nothing was said. It was just the thing to do. Besides, who knew when it would be your turn for the furnace or fridge to break down or, God forbid, someone?s father to lose his job. We were a community and we would count on each other to help us through the tough times.
For some of us, through no fault of our own, hard times have returned. While the financial wizards count their bonuses and argue over the reason it all happened, we count our pennies and wonder why we ever trusted their convoluted plans.
Once again, we appreciate our communities, our closeness to our friends and neighbours. For those of us who live in RV parks this is especially true. My husband and I live in Fort Greenwood RV Park, which is within the smallest city in Canada, Greenwood, BC. Everyone in the park knows each other. We can see when someone is struggling and in our experience it?s just natural for an RVer to help.
I?m looking forward to our big potluck dinners this spring and summer. Instead of solo trips for groceries, we?ll save a little by doubling up. We make our own fun at the Fort and I?m also looking forward to dancing under the stars to the great music of Doreen and Steve, one of the first couples to buy a lot in Fort Greenwood. They are fantastic!
We?ll survive this new challenge. At least we own our land; there is no rent to pay and the maintenance fees are small. So, while the bankers pass the buck ? to themselves ? we?ll pass the meatloaf and the salad and the beans and some yummy desserts! Fort Greenwood is our community and we can count on each other.
(The Park?s ad is on page 67.)