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COLUMN: Now is the winter of our discontent and yet kindness prevails

While pandemic closes in on the two-year mark, Midland resident, who lost her husband two months ago, finds the good all around us

Tired, discouraged, angry, rebellious; these and many other negative adjectives are increasingly appearing in media reports to describe how most Canadians are feeling after two years of pandemic restrictions.

Some of us are manning the barricades, others are mouldering away in isolation, but the vast majority are putting one foot in front of the other every day and getting on with the job, whatever it be.

We rightly sing the praises of those working selflessly to keep our health-care system working. We occasionally mention those stocking the shelves and checking out our groceries.

Before a maverick few tainted the image, we used to have high praise for our long-haul truck drivers who keep us well provisioned. Front-line workers all.

In all the talk of discontent and heroism, there’s a whole web of life that gets overlooked, the many, many unsung acts of kindness that continue to knit the fabric of our society together, COVID notwithstanding.

Here I’m speaking from personal experience. Today, I had reason to visit Home Depot, hardly the natural habitat of a woman in her eighties.

Considerable apprehension, would I find a drive through parking space, would there be store personnel to help locate the three items on my list, how would I get them to the car?

Ten minutes later I left smiling after an associate had located the products, helped with selection, and carried them to the checkout, where the cashier found someone to bring them to the car. All this was done with kindness and a smile.

Two months ago the neighbour across the street saw me struggling to get the gigantic new recycling carts down an icy driveway, came over immediately and offered to take them to the curb every week for the rest of the winter.

When my husband died unexpectedly in December, gifts of soups, scones, individual casseroles, treats and flowers helped me through those difficult days.

All of the above acts of kindness happened during the peak of Omicron and the depths of winter.

If Canadians in one small town show so much kindness to one old woman how strong must be the bonds that bind us together as a society?

I have no idea how the employees I met at Home Depot vote or what they think of vaccine mandates, but it doesn’t matter. In the face of need, their essential humanity kicked in.

In spite of our grievances, real and imagined, in spite of the February blahs, in spite of COVID outbreaks, Canadians have not lost what is most important, what binds us together, our care for each other.

Let’s celebrate kindness.


About the author: After forty years in the classroom, in retirement Elizabeth shifted her focus to promoting peace, the contribution and needs of older people in our community and of course to walking her small dog.