Port Matters

By Frances Kennedy
(April 2020) – I read an interesting column today by a specialist in communicable diseases. In summary, his take on the pandemic known as COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) is this: wash your hands well and often, cough into your elbow, and keep an open heart. He went on to say that this pandemic will expose who we are: selfish, fearful and divisive, or not. I say we choose not. Further, reading an article in the New York Times I was intrigued by a story of a young Dutch journalist turned architect, described as a champion of cities who envisioned a “mutant form of urbanism.” In short, he wrote a manifesto and love letter in the 1970s called “Delirious New York” that described the humanity of community; food for thought in these days of barren grocery shelves.

Running on empty for two days paid off at the Green Roof gas station. The price of gas was down to 85 cents a litre and I ran into a few of the old boys having coffee at the back, a fragment of the crusty regulars fondly remembered from the Green Roof Restaurant days who grudgingly guided me into life in my adopted hometown in 2001. To my delight and edification, they had opinions on this column.

By this reading it will have passed, but I intend to attend Port Stanley Library’s 15th anniversary of The Annual Butter Tart Bake Off in memory of Carol Smetheram. A quick perusal of the calendar in last month’s issue of The Villager speaks to two things: there’s a lot to do and learn in our quaint fishing village and times, they are a-changing. Pepper Tree Spice Co is offering cooking classes on Tagine Cooking, The Art of Ramen Cooking, and yoga classes proliferate. Wowza! All good and wonderful, but what happen to the Annual Chili Cook Off once a fierce contest and highlight of the winter social scene?

Funny thing, on Sunday March 15th while navigating the mile from Foodland to home I thought “bloody hell, it’s getting just like New York City around here!” when it occurred to me, that a community manifesto is a love letter to Port Stanley and much like “Delirious New York”, it’s a declaration of who we are and who want to be. The good news is there’s every evidence that collaboration to become one voice is possible, and that’s the power of community advocacy.

Not least but last, spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. Hoppy Easter!  As seductive as it is, we don’t live in a bubble that insulates us from the outside world. We have the opportunity this spring to renew old habits and reach out to our neighbours. For those who are alone, or elderly, or are in some way vulnerable, these are frightening times. When we practice our best future, we create it.