Neighbourhood: Community and Shared Experience

When Jan and I moved to Yellow Point in 2005, we were invited by our future neighbour Irene Trudell for a come-as-you-are potluck dinner. We thought this was a nice gesture and were surprised to show up to a house full of people. We quickly learned that all the people who lived on Michael Road were invited. We were being welcomed and checked out all at the same time. Who we were, what we did, how we dressed were the unspoken criteria by which we were measured. I’m sure their thoughts were: “Hmmm, the wife is a teacher – high school councilor – we have a teacher already. But she’s wearing bib jean overalls – probably ok. Oh, he’s a paramedic; that’s useful. We could use one of those. He wears jeans too.”

I since learned they would – and have – welcomed anyone into the Michael Rd. community. It was just interesting to learn what had value. Being down-to-earth had value. Practical skills had value. But what had most value to me was being welcomed into a community. It was such a fantastic feeling and had never happened before for me. 

Neighbours were there to help one another, share what they had, and look for ways to help. Jan recalls the neighbour leaning over to say, “I know Ben’s away soon and your dog is sick. Call me anytime.” 

Fifteen years later the tradition continues, and the neighbours are all there for each other. Community is a shared experience – one that needs to be nurtured and cherished. Sustaining it takes dedication and action. We make it fun – early access to the blueberries, an annual pumpkin growing contest, and hot dog roasts as frequently as possible. 

Ben and Jan at a Michael Road Neighbourhood Party

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