≡ Menu

Finding community

Back in September of last year, after selling our house in Victoria, my husband and I flew to Windsor for a one-week whirlwind house-buying adventure in our soon-to-be new city.

During the days that followed the accepted offer on what was to become our next home, we were tasked with several responsibilities which included arranging for home insurance. After a couple of false starts I was able to find a local agent who was associated with our existing insurance provider, and we headed over to his office to make the necessary arrangements.

In the midst of the application process, the agent started having trouble with his computer program, and after a few minutes of irritation on his part, he suggested that since he had all the information he needed from us, rather than sit there and wait for him to sort it out we should go out for a coffee and return to his office in an hour or so.

Not yet knowing the city and its eating places, we assumed we’d end up at one of the ubiquitous Tim Hortons that dotted the landscape like the Starbucks that popped up on every corner back home in Victoria. Before we found a Tim’s, however, one of us spotted a diner close to the insurance agent’s office and we decided to give it a try.

You know how sometimes the little decisions end up being the most significant?

Stumbling across that diner was an act of serendipity.

We were both pretty hungry and somewhat frustrated – we hadn’t eaten much (if anything) that day, which, combined with feeling as though we’d been chasing our tails all over town for the past few days, was quickly bringing us to a point of snapping crankiness.

As soon as we walked into that diner, however, things headed in a different direction.

The owner brought coffee to our table, and almost immediately my husband and she seemed to recognize each other as kindred spirits and started up a joky banter as if they’d known each other all their lives. The hour passed quickly as we enjoyed her wonderful coffee, delicious food, and sass, all served up in a warm and relaxing atmosphere.

It felt as though, in the midst of a strange new city, we’d found a home.

After we moved to Windsor, it was a couple of months before we made it back to the diner, but as soon as we walked in that front door we remembered why we loved it so much. In the weeks that followed a new Sunday brunch tradition began to emerge, and we’ve been cherishing this small slice of togetherness, chatting leisurely over breakfast, and getting to know the owner of the diner (who seems to be becoming a friend).

Today, shortly before we left and as things were slowing down prior to closing, someone at the next table brought out their guitar and started quietly playing “Mr. Bojangles,” upon which an impromptu singalong broke out among the people at his table. How weird and wonderful is that?! I couldn’t stop smiling, and my husband joined in with the group as they finished that song, then sang another, then another. At some point someone added spoons, then a harmonica, to the makeshift orchestra, and though the singing was at times off-key, the spirit of community was in perfect harmony.

We’ve moved across the country, but we’re home.

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.