Saturday, October 31, 2015

Some collected weekend thoughts...

It is Halloween night, and after the trick or treaters have had their way, I will offer up a veritable potpourri of collected thoughts that have accumulated over the last few days...

Item:  How was Halloween at your house?  We live in a downtown St. Catharines neighbourhood that rarely sees a lot of trick or treaters, so buying for Halloween is a snap.  Since I usually end up eating what is left, I make sure to buy something I want myself.  This year, along with the Halloween-themed pencils, erasers, note-pads and such, I included those small boxes of raisins.  Might as well, I figured, there are 14 boxes in the package and since we had all of eight visits this evening, I have plenty for my morning cereal this coming week.

This actually is a busier than usual year around here.  Last year I think we had five and one year we actually had a total of one visit.  So eight is pretty good.  I know, those who have over a hundred kids come to the door have to shell out more money to shell out to the kids, but I am fine the way things are, thank you very much...

Item:  Last evening a huge number of caring Niagara residents came out to support a member of the team at Henley Honda on Lake Street in St. Catharines.  Owner and General Manager Alex Digenis put out the call earlier this month they were planning a fundraiser for Dawson and Joann Gruninger Trickett for the evening of October 30th at the dealership, from 7 pm to midnight.

When I arrived about 7:30 the place was already hopping and full to the proverbial rafters with supporters.  For weeks people in Niagara had responded with great gifts for the raffle draws, and they responded again last night with a record-setting turnout for someone many had never met.

Dawson, you see, lost a leg in recent months and although OHIP will cover the necessary medical expenses, Dawson will have any number of other expenses to contend with as he adjusts to his new life with a prosthetic leg, which is still to come.

Alex knew this and so did the rest of the staff at Henley Honda and across the street at Subaru of Niagara.  So everyone hunkered down to make this one-night fundraiser happen, and they did a stellar job.

From moving upwards of 150 cars out of the parking lot and even the showroom to make space, to catering by Antipastos to all the great raffle prizes supplied by the community, it all came together to make last night a night to remember in Niagara.

What I particularly enjoyed, outside of the obvious fact Alex and his team cared enough for Dawson to actually do this for him, is the fact the community responded big time.  This is what we do in Niagara, and indeed in Canada.  We look after our own.

From people to pets to any number of other worthwhile causes, Niagara residents know how to give from the heart and do their part to make this a community worth calling home.  You don't see this everywhere, but you do regularly in Niagara, and last night was a stellar example.

To everyone involved, thanks for caring.

Item:  As reported in this space a couple of days ago, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra kicks off their new season this weekend at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, in the Cairns Hall.  Tonight's Beethoven Marathon with pianist Stewart Goodyear began at 6 pm, and tomorrow's afternoon performance begins at 2:30 pm.  Both performances are completely sold out, which is nice to see.

Granted, many want to be there to see what all the excitement is about with the new PAC, but you can't ignore the fact this is a wonderful vindication for those who believe in our downtown.  Just think:  the last two nights the downtown was buzzing with Niagara Ice Dogs games at the nearby Meridian Centre; tonight and tomorrow afternoon the FirstOntario PAC packs them in with the first performances by the Niagara Symphony.  That's four days in a row the downtown is abuzz with activity.

If these two facilities had not been built and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts had not been built, what would be happening downtown over those four days?  Not nearly as much activity, I would suggest.  See?  Investing in infrastructure comes with a cost, no question.  But the dividends are very much evident now as things ramp up this season.

Again, thanks to everyone involved.

Item:  This is the weekend we fall back, and turn our clocks back an hour before going to bed.  I already set the clock back in the car this afternoon, and it felt weird looking at the time after I did it.
I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to that extra hour to sleep tonight!

I only hope the cats cooperate in the morning...

Have a great weekend!

October 31st, 2015.

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