Wow. I never expected to be confronted with such anger and distain as I was this last Saturday. And all the time doing something to help a little and have some fun. Here’s what happened.
On Saturday I joined some friends of the Fraser River Valley Lions Club to raise money for the Mountain Family Center (MFC). With the approval and support of City Market in Granby we set up a small table in the entry way and displayed a poster about the DROP HUNGER program. To raise money for MFC, the Lions club brought back the Refrigerator Drop which I wrote about in January (https://winterparktimes.com/community/the-refrigerator-drop-is-coming-back-to-fraser/).
As shoppers made their way into the store, we asked them if they were interested in supporting MFC by guessing when the Refrigerator would drop through the ice this spring. $5 a guess. If they weren’t interested we also asked them to consider picking up a few non-perishable food items off a list we handed out. All very relaxed for the 2 hours we were there, and I enjoyed spending a few moments with both Grand County folks and some vacationing skiers.
The effort went extremely well with many folks plopping down $5 and taking their time making rather thoughtful guesses, which included both a date and time. People also gladly took the food list and by the end of the two hours we had 2 shopping carts filled. We also enjoyed the occasional chat, laughing with an elderly couple coming into the store with matching outfits and with another couple about their odds of winning even though they lived in Florida and had no idea when the ice would break.
Then the reality of the times we live in interrupted my rather pleasant day. As a gentleman entered City Market, I asked him if he’d like to participate. He stopped, looked at the Refrigerator Drop poster and swiftly went into a rather passionate commentary about this contest being environmentally dangerous, that this effort did not promote sustainability and that it was totally unnecessary because people would just give money for a good cause. Using my most calm voice, I tried to explain the great lengths the Lion’s club took to make sure that every aspect of the Refrigerator Drop was done to ensure no harm would occur to the pond. Removal of the compressor and tubes left the refrigerator as an empty shell. Nothing was left that could be considered harmful at all. And the fire department managed the placement of the refrigerator and will also manage its removal.
My efforts to explain all of this lasted approximately 5 seconds before the gentleman interrupted me to explain how horrendous all this was. He just wanted to spew angry words and listening was not on his agenda. In the end, he thrust a $5 bill at me and said he could support the cause but not the Refrigerator Drop. I nodded politely and took his money.
As we took down our table and display, and packed up all the food for MFC, I reflected on how much my interaction with this gentleman was an accurate statement of the state of affairs in this country. Pick your side of the political debate and then shut out the other side. No facts, no gray areas, no discussion. I particularly find disturbing writers and commentators that only see their side of the argument, so predictable it’s boring. Even in this great local paper, one columnist adds to the discord and is so predictable with his/her opinion that it’s no longer informative, just boring. As Michael Turner wrote in last week’s paper, national politics should have no place in local politics as they now make it nearly impossible to have a thoughtful discussion on local issues. This gentleman sure proved his point!
While I enjoy engaging in political and topical discussions, my columns to date have been aimed at sharing Grand County’s great history and highlighting the many colorful people and organizations of Grand County. I plan to continue on this path. Hopefully you will forgive this one divergence into political commentary, but understanding history and people requires a willing to learn and listen, something this one gentleman has forgotten. Fortunately, the hundreds of visitors to City Market this last Saturday were willing to listen and give generously.
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