‘You can observe a lot by just watching’

All you need is simply a will to pitch in and help make a difference.

With a tip of the hat to baseball legend Yogi Berra for that profound quote, it was a re-occuring theme for me last week.

We’ve all had moments that make you pause for a minute and see a bigger picture than just what’s in front of you. It doesn’t always happen. But it does once and a while. It could be sitting by the lake, on the ski lift, at the park or just a quiet moment anywhere.

And it can also happen in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Traffic’s flowing, the hum of everyday work is rising and the rumble of heavy equipment starts but even that can be drowned out at the right moment.

I had one of those moments last week when I was invited down to Groutage Avenue where a group of people were going to clean things up a bit.

I envisioned a few well-meaning people with some shovels and flowers and garbage bags.  What I saw was the warm side of Trail. The people and the effort that goes un-noticed too often, admittedly from the media and the community in general, but really exists.

Not only was I impressed by the turnout, but the list of expertise ranged from professional to physical to simply a will to pitch in and help make a difference.

The Kiwanis was there with its barbecue and feeding the hungry. Tools, trucks and dumpsters were all at the ready in a co-ordinated effort that simply relied on the power of volunteers and the good deeds of community-minded people.

Their work hit home for me with a walk around the building and through the hallways. It was a part of Trail that many of us don’t see. The whole scenario didn’t sink in until I downloaded the pictures of the volunteers. They’re all smiling, getting dirty and pitching in.

I have to admit it put a warm smile on my face that lasted a few days, and will be filed in my memory among my best images of Trail.

****

The week rolled on and I had the opportunity to pinch hit for our sports editor Jim Bailey while he enjoyed some well-deserved R-and-R. I got the bonus of not only returning to some old haunts but also seeing some familiar faces.

When our news reporter Tim Schafer got his first glimpse of Butler Park a couple of weeks ago he marvelled at the atmosphere and park that truly is a diamond in Trail.

I’ve known that for a long time but what reminded me of how nice a park it is were the familiar smells, sights and sounds.

The crack of the bat, the burgers grilling, the chatter, the cheers and the chit-chat all flow in unison.

Perhaps because the surroundings were so familiar it only took a few minutes to stop and soak it all in.

When the grass is green, the sky is blue and the sun is shinning there are few more picturesque spots in Trail.

Much like on Groutage Avenue, but on an entirely different level, I witnessed another side of Trail that put a smile on my face.

I know I saw so many familiar faces and that it often makes me wonder why more people don’t just come out, sit and be entertained in such a beautiful baseball auditorium.  Consider it Music in the Park by the Boys of Summer.

****

There are some commercials that just hit home and others that just whiz by. Perhaps it’s the age demographic out there but, like in baseball, every pitch has a target. Staying with the baseball analogy, I got hit by a pitch last week.

There’s a car commercial, for Toyota I think, where a dad cautiously sends his daughter off on her first solo drive. As he talks to her in the car, he sees the eight-year old version of his daughter. The conversation goes back and forth before she pulls out of the driveway and heads off.

At the beginning of last week I would have, as always, considered that commercial funny, clever and good marketing. But as of Thursday, when my daughter got her “N” licence, my interpretation of that commercial changed somewhat.

I know a million parents have crossed this threshold and a million more will. But that driving off moment on her own signified changes I hadn’t really contemplated.

It’s that next step in the gradual fleeing of the nest. Through daycare, kindergarten and high school, I still held a measure of security and guidance over something as simple as getting from Point A to Point B.

But when I saw her profile in the window as she drove off, I knew I was looking at something more than a solo drive.

I know there are a lot of changes coming on the horizon just like the grads’ parents in Rossland and Trail, from pre-school to high school, are experiencing this month.

What I overlooked in this big change in her life, the sense of independence the “N” licence provides, was that is was also going to quietly signal a gradual change in my life, whatever that may be. I  have this sense that I’ve suddenly moved to another stage in the parenting progression.

Too often our older generation, which I admittedly include myself, is quick to dismiss something because “we’ve pretty much seen it all,” by this time.

And in my position as editor it’s my duty to stay abreast of the news from local to international. With that, over time, comes a skeptical and hardened view of all things political, social and newsworthy we’re bombarded with 24-7. That sometimes tends to put a dull paint over the colour in life.

That was probably the best thing about all those moments last week. I saw things that reminded me there’s always another way of seeing things.

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Daily Times