In 1989, I had just returned to Toronto from living in Rossland when my mother called me from Scotland. My dad had passed away two years earlier and she said shewanted to be a family again. My brother and sisters all died at birth, so our clan was the three of us; now there was two. I told my mother that since working in Faro,Yukon I needed an urban fix and was not ready to move back to Scotia. She responded with, “Well I was thinking of coming to Canada to be with you.” Wow.
Because I worked in construction and spent a lot of time living in camps, I needed to find a safe environment to set up home; I was sad to say that Toronto was not thatplace. Of all the places I had lived in Canada, the Kootenays was the place I enjoyed the most.
My first job since moving to the Castlegar area was the Celgar modernization in 1990. My wee mum fit in really well — she joined the ladies auxiliary at the Legion,learned to drive and made many new friends.
After a couple of serious cranial accidents, I became a recluse. A few days before this year’s Sunfest parade, I was talking to the executive director of my support groupand she suggested I should join some of my colleagues with brain injuries in the parade. Yehaw! I was one of the best decisions I have made in years. I volunteered tohand out candy to the bairns, as not all of our members are as mobile as they used to be.
Before our float reached Columbia Ave., I had a chance to experience what I was going to encounter for the whole parade route. Every young person who received candyresponded with a loud and hearty, “Thank-you!” and for the younger bairns, who were just learning to stand and walk, their wonderful parents said, “Thanks.”
Another unexpected pleasure I experienced was how many of my old friends and acquaintances I saw again. As our lorrie was passing in front of the library where DebMcIntosh was taking pictures, I made a monumental decision to “come out of the closet” — no more being a recluse, I’d get more involved with people again.
I met so many cool people, wonderful parents, and so many polite children; it looks like the city is in good hands, at least for the next few generations.
I would like to apologize on behalf of West Kootenay Brain Injury Association for running out of treats before the end of the parade, as there were many more thankyou’s to be had. We will be back next year with many more sweets.