One of the very cool things that happened on my street a few years ago was the co-operative purchase of a neighbourhood snowblower. Yup, odd as it seems, I own 1/8 of a snowblower. And it was a great investment!
I would say the concept of a neighbourhood snowblower can really be attributed to Jim MacIntosh, who made a point (even at age 80) of snowblowing and shovelling a number of his neighbours out after each storm. He simply could NOT be talked out of it, so others grabbed shovels when possible to help him in his efforts. After Jim died, his snowblower continued to be used by other men on the street, to clear out Jim’s wife’s place, and to continue the legacy of helping others. As his old snowblower began to break down, discussion ensued and 8 households pitched in to buy a new machine.
Now as great as that is, this whole scenario doesn’t work without the people part of it. We have a team of enthusiastic men who are happy to operate the snowblower, augmented by the others of the neighbourhood who pitch in to shovel steps and so on. And most often, those neighbours who have their very own snowblowers join in and help as well to make the work go faster.
And the funny thing is, you see people smiling as they go at it – whereas if they were each shovelling their own place I don’t think the smiles would be quite so evident.
This spirit of cooperation and neighbourliness (is that really a word?) is the Canadian way, and something that I believe is even more common in rural Canada. My street has a long history of wonderful neighbours. Many places do, but this street has been very fortunate over the years. I have been the beneficiary of this goodwill, and I try when I can to do my bit as well. (In today’s case, there were quite enough people out there, so I chose to take some photos of the event instead of joining in. I trust the Snow Elves will forgive me for that!)
So here’s to good neighbours, and to the spirit of cooperation. For together, we can move mountains!