I live in a small town. I live in the small town I was raised in. I "chose" to come back to my small town, after being away from it. I love Tweed. What other place can you go to the grocery store only to discover that you've forgotten your wallet, and they let you take the groceries home, or one of your neighbours offers to loan you the money until you get home? Where can you go to the post office to buy stamps and be short a quarter, only to have the girl behind the counter lend you one? When I walk down the street I smile to every person that I pass, and they smile back. Sometimes it takes a while to make it down the street because I stop for so many conversations. I love my small town!
As I shared with you yesterday, yesterday was Canada Day. My kids walk in the parade every year. There is such a sense of excitement for them. I think that they feel like celebrities. As the kids line up, a volunteer comes around handing out "free" ice-cream coupons. That is also one of the highlights of Canada Day for them. Not only do they get to have a blast feeling special, they get treated to free ice-cream.
Yesterday afternoon after the parade, after Gracie knocked it out of the park with her Oh Canada, we headed home. On our way home the kids asked if they could get their free ice-cream. As we walked in the doors of the bright and spotless Kooly's, the kids clutching onto their little green coupons the owner greeted them with a big smile, "To the back for your ice-cream." They danced their way back.
The kids agonized over their ice-cream decisions, well some of them did. A couple of them knew right away what they would like. As soon as they received their ice-cream they began to lick away. They were so excited. It was the cap off to an excellent afternoon.
I made a point of thanking the owner and telling him how much we appreciated his generosity. He must have handed out hundreds of coupons. He owns a small shop, that represents hundreds of dollars. In this economy where every penny counts, that is extremely generous. Kooly's already offers the most reasonable price for ice-cream around. In their shop you can buy ice-cream for everyone and still afford to pay your mortgage (they offer single scoops for $1.00). I told the owner how much we really appreciated his generosity, and his reply was very thoughtful and humble, "These are my future customers."
It was that thought that made me think back a few months to one of Grace's big kid trips down town for lunch. She and her friends had begged to go down town for lunch during their lunch hour. It was the first time that I let her do so. She left for school with a ten dollar bill in her pocket and an adorable look of self importance on her little face. She was a big kid now. She came home that night to share stories of her day. She told me that she and her friend had enough for a small order of fries, but that the man had given them a medium order for the same price. That really made an impression on me. It made Grace's day, he earned himself a lifelong customer that day.
I live in a small town. I live in a town where neighbours are good to each other. I remember taking the kids into Toronto for a day out. At the time Elly was still in her stroller. We took the kids on the subway, knowing that they would enjoy it. As we were attempting to get on, the subway doors began to shut on the stroller. Christopher and I were frantic, trying to get Elly into the subway car. People just sat and watched, or else pretended that they saw nothing. After we were all safely seated, and our hearts had returned to their normal beats, I looked at Christopher, "That would never happen at home." At home there would have been twenty odd people there trying to help. It really reminded me why I love Tweed, why I love this small rural community. The other reason that I love this small community is because of places like Kooly's. Places where they care about children. Thank you Kooly's, you make Tweed a better place to live.