By K. Taylor, Aurora ON. Have the streets seemed a little emptier to you lately? Have you noticed a decided drop in how many grumpy, grizzled faces glare across the icy expanse of the gas station; how very quiet everything seems?
It can appear, at this time, that the entire town has taken part in a mass migration south. Phones go unanswered; there’s no one in line ahead of you at the bank machine; your pizza is delivered far more quickly than anticipated.
Now to be fair not everyone is in Florida; this isn’t the eighties. But there are a fair few who have escaped to the sun; and a few others who have scampered off to other pursuits; ski chalets or indoor waterparks. I suspect a few others have just retreated beneath downy duvets for a few days.
But lest we forget that while we may be short of palm trees and sun; Aurora ain’t so bad after all – I hereby present the Aurora’s Unsung Hero Awards. We may not have sand but we got grit. We may not have heat but we have a whole lot of heart. And who would want to hang out with the snowbirds when you can bask in the glory of these people:
Award #1: Quiet Resolve; an award that epitomizes the very soul of a Canadian. That trudging, plodding fortitude that keeps us lumbering along though our very hearts have turned as heavy and brown as the mush at the side of the road.
And the winner is: The Mad Jogger. Who is this muffled man, you ask? Who knows. But he is a true champion of this category. Through sleet and rain and freezing… (you get the picture) he carried on his task, doggedly slogging through the winter days. To him and all who followed his lead, who refused to quit their chosen path though those around them had frozen on the spot; I salute you.
Award #2: Keeping the trains running on time – This award is a thank you to all those who spend their days keeping our lovely town ticking along. Though the work must be tedious at times and downright miserable at others (would you like to man the complaints desk? I think not…) and yet our Town would grind to a halt without them.
And the winner is: The nameless person who sent out my cat license. This was a hard one. After all, if services are moving and running as they should, we really have very little contact with the nameless faces behind the walls of Town Hall. But I got my cat license in the mail the other day, and despite the fact that I’m $15 down and there is no way the shiny tag will ever hang from my tubby tabby’s neck (it’s a neck rather too large for a collar). I did look at the paper and the thought crossed my mind: this paper and tag were sent out by someone. A real, living, breathing person. Someone who must have smacked an alarm clock and crawled from their bed that morning; someone who was very unlikely to have thought “Hooray! Today I will send out the license for a cat who’s neck is too large to ever wear it!” But nonetheless said person headed out to the office, and sent out the license; and likely performed a handful of other useful tasks to keep the town running smoothly; and yet we never give them a thought. And so to you, nameless Town worker; I give this award.
Award #3: Precision – The precision award is just that. An award for precision in all that you do for our Town; and at least for the residents in my neighbourhood; there can only be one winner.
And the Precision Award goes to – The parking By-Law Services guy. You know the one, don’t you? Nary a bumper shall go astray on his watch, no minor infraction overlooked. I say this without malice, though perhaps with a touch of smugness, not yet having received a ticket for any infraction. But like Superman he appears when needed; it’s rather astounding. I did see him give out a ticket for someone parked directly in front of a hydrant; but anyone who parks in front of a hydrant deserves it; and so I have no compunction in handing him our third award.
Award #4: Scheduling – For those of you who don’t have children; or who’s children are in the non-soccer playing minority; this one may make little sense.
But for the rest of you there should be no surprise that the Scheduling award goes out to whichever brave soul out there is tasked with organizing the Aurora Youth Soccer Club festival and tournament. Never since criminals were put in the stocks and pelted with rotten fruit has a whole town converged in such feverish glee on one spot. Shepherd’s Bush is awash with Aurorans, their offspring whipping through the crowds, gaily clad in brightly coloured jerseys and shoes with wicked cleats that strike fear into the hearts of any foolish enough to wear open toed sandals. Note: this is NOT the time to go for a relaxing stroll in the woods. To mastermind this mayhem must be madness and so I present you with the Scheduling award. And if I knew who you were I’d gladly throw in some Ibuprofin.
And finally, Award #5: Bravery – I’ve saved this award for last. It is that which is dearest to my heart. There are the obvious recipients of course; first responders; families bravely battling illnesses or homelessness. But those issues are heavy and for another day.
No, today this award I present with much gratitude to the kind, very good spirited men and women that keep our schools clean; or at least make valiant attempts to do so.
Unlikely Bravery Award recipients? Only to those who have never walked into a school’s bathroom at the end of the day. There are hearts that barely explode with courage and gritty fortitude; and they beat in the chests of any soul who will clean up after my kids.
And there you have it; the brave, dogmatically precise, and often hidden people who make our Town tick. Enjoy your March Break from near or far, but remember; when the calendar changes and the school bells ring again; that Florida may have that famous mouse; but Aurorans have the hearts of lions.