Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner September 10, 2020
Nobody felt much like exercising outdoors during those steamy weeks of July and August, but I set out early one morning for downtown.
It is, as you, know a maze of signs, arrows, barriers and street repaving. Not attractive and somewhat confusing, but, one hopes, good for some businesses, those with outdoor seating and suitable beverages.
Still, I notice at street level many plaintive signs, hand-done by business owners not in the refreshment business, asking the city to restore the normal streetscape; that they are losing business.
Definitely a time of COVID-19 blues.
I have a mission: To enter a field of enterprise completely new to me. To learn about it.
I stop to ask three cool young people crouching on the sidewalk, with friendly faces: “Where is the pot shop?’
They don’t miss a beat at this query from a white-haired woman pushing her bike, an embroidered face mask hung on her wrist.
“Just down across from No Frills,” they chime together.
Wishing my grandchildren were there to take a picture of me entering Growers Retail, or better yet, exiting with bag in hand, I walk into the newly decorated, air-cooled space. Lots of other customers are there, most of them 45 years younger than me. A vigorous staff in black T-shirts is giving advice, unlocking cabinets and making sales, everyone masked.
I stand and look. Then I hail Haley, and confess to her my ignorance of the scene, but my desire to try a hemp oil or a CBD oil, having rehearsed those terms before I left home. I would like a bit of help with insomnia.
Insomnia? It’s a COVID-19 thing.
Haley finds just the remedy, and writes out my instructions clearly: Three drops a day, see if it’s effective, increase or decrease after a week.
But there’s more. On Aylmer Street, the GO bus now has a stop, since Simcoe Street is being resurfaced. I see the Greyhound terminal is for sale.
Then I join the lineup of book lovers who are retrieving their requested books from the Peterborough Public Library. Talk about pivoting. A staff member stands at a table for two hours speaking into a walkie-talkie; we are all distanced, and we show our card as librarians act like retrievers, hauling small piles of books out for patrons.
It is an edifying scene. I am seeking a children’s story to read at a small gathering marking a 40th wedding anniversary which will have five children under the age of eight. The responsive children’s librarian, Erin, has found five which are about love between grandparents and grandchildren.
Then, further up Aylmer, I sit at an outdoor table at Black Honey for what must be the best coffee in town. I wish Lisa Dixon had a good large permanent sign on Aylmer pointing to her shop.
Then there are Dave and Sue, the cheery and skilled proprietors of Spokes and Pedals, doing business. I remind them that my trusty Norco bike was acquired and has been serviced by them for eight years.
Aylmer Street becomes, some of my women friends are wont to say, a bit more “dicey” for a couple of blocks. Rooming houses, a rundown feeling, and passersby who may be muttering to themselves. It’s all the more important for the privileged to walk those streets and be seen too.
I choose to shop at FreshCo on Brock, partly to be in touch with the “inner city,” partly because the veggies are so fresh.
I see that Bedford House has been sold. For some years, Rev. Allan Reeve and his spouse, Lynn Reeve-Smith, have been there hosting meaningful discussions among Peterborough’s disadvantaged and its middle-class people seeking to understand each other and build bridges.
Awaiting me is the cool, treed trail starting at the bottom of Aylmer and emerging at Parkhill. Once, I could cycle up the Benson hill, but no more.
Home again. And with my cannabis. Peterborough Examiner >LINK<
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