‘SECOND VERSE, same as the first. Just a little bit louder and a whole lot worse.”
That was a line from a Girl Guide song I sang as a girl. It went on in a similar manner for the third, fourth, fifth, and countless other verses as well.
Just like back in 2017, in the midst of the massive Elephant Hill Wildfire. In the dark days of 2017, when the sky was black with smoke even at noon, it was hard to see the light, and we never thought we’d see blue sky again.
Then it was massive evacuation of the Interior of B.C. Homes burned to the ground, tens of thousands displaced.
Now it is a massive shutdown of much of B.C., Canada, and beyond. Schools, restaurants, pubs, and recreation facilities. Sickness hanging over us all.
One of the hardest things of all is the social distancing, that keeps us apart, when we most need emotional support.
But social distancing is measured by a ruler, not by the kindness of the heart.
Take Saturday, for instance. Seedy Saturday, the yearly seed exchange was set to happen, but was cancelled. But a Savona baker had already baked 150 loaves of sourdough bread.
What to do? A friend of the baker sent out an email to a few friends. And they passed on the email to others as well. Within a few hours every loaf was sold. Money was exchanged by e-transfer. Loaves were passed from friend to friend, until every loaf was delivered before the end of the day. Good news for the baker, and also for the 150 people who got a delicious loaf of bread (I can attest to that!).
On Sunday, a blue sky, sunny Kamloops day, there was no better place to be than on the airport dike section of the Rivers Trail. Hundreds of dogs and their owners ambled along. Smiles, nods and brief hellos to strangers. What a great way to spend time with others in social distance. Four adult and two juvenile eagles, each on a different tree, watched over the parade of walkers. Social distance does not have to mean isolation from community.
Also on Sunday, PitStop provided their weekly community outreach, serving over 150 meals. Typically these are a sit-down meal. But it is not possible anymore to have so many in such a small space. PitStop could easily have said they couldn’t continue. Instead, they pivoted and turned the sit-down program into a takeout service. And Frenchies Poutinerie helped make it happen. When they recently closed their shop on Victoria Street at the end of February, they donated their takeout containers to PitStop. Karma meets kindness.
My 87-year-old father isn’t going out and about much these days. I’m guessing neither are quite a few older people, and those who are immune compromised. Instead, he has been spending his days pruning the fruit trees of his 96-year-old neighbor. Social distancing with kindness.
It’s a different verse now than in 2017 or all of the other natural catastrophes, or medical threats, or other disasters we’ve gone through: floods, forest fires, SARS, Polio.
But it’s same as the first. Kindness will get us through. Keep it up, Kamloops.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.