- Our Town
Solutions found in community
In case you missed it, my front page story on January 3rd was basically about the struggles of people driving the ambulance on Bowen to get to their destinations.
So, when, on Sunday morning during the coffee-breakfast ritual I saw an ambulance crawl past my house I said out loud, “I wonder if they’re lost?”
My husband, being the quick thinking guy that he is suggested I go and ask them. So, in my slippers and pyjamas that’s what I did. Sure enough, the paramedics were lost.
I didn’t know the address of the house they were trying to find, but immediately knew the house based on the description of cars in the driveway. Turns out, they were headed to the home of the neighbour-friends who I can’t seem to live without these days, so I hopped in the passenger seat of the ambulance and showed the driver the way.
I was curious and nervous about what happened but didn’t want to intrude so just sent a quick text, “I hope everything is okay, keep me posted.”
Fortunately, the situation wasn’t life threatening and didn’t cause any major damage, but by helping the ambulance get to the house I ensured that my friend had just a little less time in which she had to lie perfectly still waiting for them. So, by writing the article on the ambulance and then reacting to what I had learned, I made a very small difference in someone’s life.
Upon realization of the fact, I imagined some “made on Bowen” ambulance solution, like LIFT. Maybe if everyone knew to talk to ambulance driver’s when they’re driving slow, we could make sure they got places more quickly?
That’s just my ridiculous daydream.
What is real is the greatness of living in a neighbourhood where you not only know your neighbours but you can also count on them to help you out.
The other day, I mentioned to someone about my fear of going home because of the rat in my closet, she said, “Well at least all your neighbours have big dogs!”
Which is true, and although my neighbour’s dogs weren’t actually being that helpful, I was glad for the fact.
My husband, who worked an absurdly early shift in the city this week so is spent his nights off-island, was home for a few hours and laid some traps.
After he left, and after I put the baby to bed, I heard squealing, crying, banging. It wasn’t my angry baby kicking his crib railing, though, I figured that out pretty quick.
I contacted my husband immediately.
“I’m listening to a rat die right now,” I said.
He wanted me to grab a shovel and deposit the dying/dead rat outside. No way, I said. Come on, you’re a country-girl now, he said. No way, no way. When I said I could hear it writhing he suggested I get a hammer and find some courage with which to make the kill. If I’d have been in a better mood I might have laughed.
“You have to,” he said. “You have to do this.”
No I don’t have to, I said. I could call my friend/neighbour and get her partner, who is also my friend, to come over and deal with the rat.
“You’d do it for her,” I said.
“Yes I would,” he said.
In the time it took my neighbour to cross the street, the rat freed itself from its trap and wriggled under the door into the hallway. My neighbour entered the house carrying a pitchfork and headed straight for the linen closet where the rat was hiding. He pulled out the ironing board and the rat made a mad dash for the kitchen. I ran out of the house screaming and by some miracle the baby did not wake.
Once in the kitchen, the rat slipped under the stove. I regained my composure and took hold of the pitchfork while my neighbour moved the stove. The rat made another mad dash, this time to the antique dry-sink where we keep our bowls and plates.
With a little manoevering near the door, my neighbour managed to move and tip the dry-sink just perfectly, so that the next dash made was straight into the great outdoors.
The gratitude I feel towards my neighbour right now is off the charts. And while, sigh, I wish we had a system that ensured our ambulance’s made it directly to their destination as quickly as possible, I’m glad for the opportunity to be a good neighbour. While I’m kind of wishing Bowen had a few rat-predator species to go with its rats, I’m thankful to be part of such a great neighbourhood.