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There, I let the cat out of the bag. I don't think it's unique... probably just unique to small towns that attract tourists... or tourorists as they are sometimes called... yup, many a rural citizen braces themselves for the summer season...and the arrival of vacationing city folk.
School is out, the traffic mounts and the population swells... and not just with mosquitos...Friday night fills with the happy sound of lawnmowers, laughing children, hollering parents and sirens...
another summer weekend in cottage country. Ah, the relaxing sounds of "now, what are we going to do?" and "I'm bored"... it's something I've learned from being at the Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce, it used to be that we city peeps drove up to cottage country, simply to listen to our hair grow... to watch the clouds, wallow in the lake, paddle a canoe, escape the television and the telephone...
I suppose I'm showing my age... I should have started with... "Back in the good old days". But it is true, over the years, Fabian and I have watched cottage buyers come this way in their SUV wagons, with the dvd players for the kids and a mid-sized dog in the back... and when they arrive, the kids ask if it's safe to get out of the vehicle... it's shocking!
Many a kid has to be told what a frog is, or minnows... although their parents have some vague recollection of cottages past. They're glad to see a fire pit, a dock, a screened porch... all of which have some resonation... they fondle life jackets, touch paddles and delight over wicker.
These will be the same people who funnel into Fabian's store (The Source, in Barry's Bay) looking for a phone charger on a Friday night, because they realize they forgot their's at home... or they want a dvd for the kids... or they need a flat screen tv or an internet hub, for the cottage. & they're in such a hurry. I remember being in that much of a hurry. I don't think it's healthy.
I want to take them aside and tell them to walk by the bakery, just to take in the scent of baking bread... to breathe more deeply... to sit quietly and listen to the sound of the peepers... to listen to the sounds the water makes as it nudges closer to the shore... hear the wind in the leaves...
You can tell the time of day by the sounds the world makes here... there are a lot more sirens on weekends. People in a hurry to relax.
They crowd the road, use the in side of a laneway to go out, they block traffic, they pass dangerously and drive too fast, in places that we locals know are radar monitored... they demand a quality of goods that are unavailable here... where the locals have gotten accustomed to making do.
But the saddest part of all is that rural economies are reliant on our visitors and it is difficult for many of us to embrace people who are loud and litter and want to enlighten us with the city-way of life.
Many of us know the city way of life and have made a choice to live in a quieter world. We don't have the salaries a city would afford us and we don't have a movie theatre but we show movies in the park... not the most recent releases, but it's community and it's the best we can do.
We are spirited and we care about one another. When the chips are down, we rally for each other. We stop to let each other into the line of traffic in town, we stop to chat, we help one another. Our lives and livelihood rely on the weather and we commiserate over extremes.
& even those of us who enjoy the visitors and know how important they can still be miffed when we're interrupted or pushed or picking up after them.
This is our home... when you visit, we want you to make yourself at home... respectfully. Please don't pollute, drive carefully, respect our natural resources and be patient with us and we'll try to do the same for you.