I was pleased as punch to read the statement from the National Capital Commission regarding this past weekend’s shut-down of an Ottawa lemonade stand operated by two young sisters who wanted to raise the money to go to summer camp. Essentially, the NCC admitted that the situation could have been handled more appropriately, and are now on record as supportive of this and similar activities:
We want to animate our shorelines and our green spaces in the capital so it does make for a more vibrant and lively capital so this is something we want to encourage going forward. – NCC spokesman Nicholas Galletti
It still galls me, however, that a busybody tipped off an NCC Junior Conservation Officer into visiting the Andrews sisters’ lemonade stand in the first place.
What kind of person does that?
And, tangentially related to the above, the kind of neighbour who calls By-Law to have my sister’s minivan ticketed for being parked on the street outside of our parents’ home for more than three hours. When her van is parked there, I can guarantee she’s in the house with my nephew, one of my parents’ four grandchildren, visiting and spending time with family. I do the same, and park my SUV or my five-passenger putt-putt. We’ve lived on this suburban street since 1983. So whoever called, guess what: you’re basically a dick and you’ve done it all wrong. I hope we never meet in person.
I read stories like those I’ve linked to above, and I shudder. I wonder sometimes how it is that Western Civilization has achieved viability in the 21st century by encouraging its citizens to have children, yet at the same time actively disallowing the children to, well, behave like children.
There’s an insularity in suburbia that’s troubling. I’m not the first to say it, and I certainly won’t be the last. Children can’t gather unless it’s planned in advance. Forget about sending even a young adolescent out on foot to pick something up at the gas station convenience store. I’ve got a neighbour, a real yenta, who refused to tell me which direction my then-kindergarten-aged disabled son ran off in when he got out of the house while I was in the bathroom. Fortunately, he ran out of steam around the corner at another neighbour’s house, and when I caught up with him he was chatting away with her about what she was watching on TV; but the police still paid my home a visit and I got a referral to the local CAS.
I can go on, and I am sure everyone will be just as happy if I don’t. So I’ll wrap this up by stating that I am incredibly grateful for people like Nicholas Galletti who get it. And if I happen to come across a lemonade stand run by a child anywhere in the city, you can be absolutely sure I am going to support it. (Psst, girls, I’ll give you $10 if you fill my thermos.)
The statement, as posted earlier today on Twitter: