Friday, January 6, 2012

From Corner to Corner


Today, Friday at mid-day, I had errands to run in the heart of Kitchener. For a long time our residents have been hard on the core, saying that it is in decline, with retailers leaving, and with drug and pan-handling activity picking up.

I would hope otherwise. The area contains my Father's beloved Farmers' Market, running continuously since long before his boyhood romps in the thirties. And the stately Walper Hotel where he used to work, and where they once used to bring their eggs, chickens and pork from the yard out back! One might also mention The Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel, The Museum, the stylish and relatively new City Hall, a majorly renovated Public Library. A new downtown condominium busines centre. Not too far over The Centre in the Square Concert Hall with acoustics purportedly better than anywhere else in the Province. Headquarters of the Record newspaper. A Court House in construction and taking over two city blocks. Let us not forget my array of beloved used book stores and a couple of friendly breakfast "Mom and Pop's".

It was an unusually warm afternoon and many were out on the main drag. Happy office folk. Bank personnel. City workers. Odd "ducks" at most corners.

Young people everywhere texting, or gazing skyward as they received some "sweet nothing" from a buddy of the airwaves.

A gray-bearded man with a large backpack was playing accordian...presentably. "Blue Christmas", which I thought was rather odd, until I remembered that today was Epiphany (the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas).

Another musician with old chipped acoustic guitar playing something "Lightfoot", and looking down hopefully at the open carrying case, showing off a few exemplary coins.

In front of one of the banks, a senior citizen was giving out tracts entitled "A New Life". I was acquainted with Karl and stopped for a brief chat. He does this every Friday, just like Good News messages-in-bottles.

Two blocks down at Speaker's Corner, a man approaching forty, wearing a local radio station jacket was perched on a plastic stool, Bible in hand, and preaching 'that nothing but Jesus would satisfy'. I stood in front of him quietly for about four minutes listening, and then approached, patted his arm and thanked him. His volume never diminished.

The next block offered several tattooed "good-ole boys" sharing cigarettes and laughing at the latest anecdote.

Tell me that one could find such unanticipated variety and so many slices of life in an enclosed shopping mall. Nope.

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