Twenty years from now, how will we describe the days we're currently living through? Will we describe them as days we saw a light in the darkness, where residents of Airdrie took a bleak situation and found humbling and deeply human ways to create joy and connection with others? Will this be a moment in time where we defined who we are in Airdrie as cohesive and kind? I would.
In a time of division and cruelty, the people of Airdrie have shown their generosity and warmth. It’s as if we are a mirror reflecting the warm and vibrant fall that we have been able to soak in this year, taking what would normally be a cold and depressing time in our lives and simply embracing every moment and making the best of it.
Not unlike some of the most pivotal moments of our lives, we will likely be able to tell people exactly where we were when we heard the province was going into lockdown. It was suddenly all very real and very scary.
But how will we remember what followed? We can focus on the division – the social media keyboard warriors, the acts of cruelty and hate that poked their ugly heads here and there. But I won’t, and many other Airdronians won’t either.
I will remember the many people who stepped up to deliver groceries to those who couldn’t leave their homes. I’ll remember the many handwritten cards that were collected and delivered to seniors. I’ll recall the outpouring of donations, and how volunteers were turned away when the Pride pathway was vandilized because there was too much help.
I’ll forever hold a picture in my mind of how the wildlife along local canals was more present than ever and created many opportunities for people to revel in their beauty. So many fish, birds and other critters made it a walking sanctuary that many residents enjoyed. With everyone home for the summer, many folks spent a little extra time turning their yards into an oasis, making our city that much more beautiful.
I’ll laugh until tears stream down my face about the Wine Ninjas – women who anonymously took wine and gift baskets and played a grown-up version of “Ding Dong Ditch” on our doorsteps to spread cheer. I'll remember how these acts of kindness inspired several other groups in the city including the Whisky Wizards, Wine Ninjas without the wine, and of course my personal favourite of all: Kid Ninjas! We spent Mother’s Day delivering anonymous gifts to cheer up the kids in Airdrie, and I know many families did the same.
I'll remember heart-warming messages in windows and inspirational notes written on school sidewalks. I'll remember he fundraisers held online to uplift struggling families and inspire kids looking to better their lives. I'll remember the hellos from six feet away.
We are a city united by our willingness to create good when we don’t see it here yet. Were there dark moments? Were lives forever changed? Are we facing a beast in this province? Absolutely.
But in Airdrie, we are bigger than our fears, smarter than our doubts and deeply connected by our generous and helping spirit. Even if its from six feet apart.
There is no time like a crisis to make history and truly define who we are. Airdrie doesn’t need to fall victim to a divisive narrative of partisanship, politics and cruelty. We are defined by the people and families who live and work here, and we are determined, caring and aware.
We are, indeed, truly fortunate.