Personal Best: Genuine goodness still exists

Pat Black encounters kindness at various turns throughout the North Okanagan

I think people are mostly good. I know many disagree with this assessment and are forever telling us to be careful, to be suspicious and that someone will do you harm if you are not on the lookout for the bad guys.

Today I was shopping at a local nursery, and found a yucca plant that I needed to fill in my front garden and also a tall flowering bush-type plant called Rose of Sharon that would nicely fill in a space I had along my side garden.

As I headed to the cashier’s booth, a smiling older woman approached me and told me about her Rose of Sharon and how well it grew and that sometimes it was slow to blossom but when it did how brilliant it was. As we chatted about plants she noticed my yucca and said that she had lots of yucca she was getting rid of and did I want some. She gave me her name, phone and address and I said that I could pick up the yucca later that day. It was a gesture of pure kindness made to another human being willingly and gladly, and it made my day. Good people are everywhere.

How is it we hear repeatedly about all the evil and bad events that surround us but seldom get the good stories? The occasions that happen frequently in every day life. Someone smiling as we pass by and saying “Good morning” or holding open a door or lifting out my groceries from a cart I have trouble reaching. We need to notice the good deeds and pass it on to others and to trust and to appreciate when Karma sends us the gift of kindness.

I know I am always singing the praises of our Vernon library but on looking back 65 years or so on my teenage days as a page in my local library, I am so amazed at the transformation of this venerable institution. Remember the “no talking” rule and the rigid discipline of the local senior librarian. But still, the library was the place of dreams for many people who had very little to dream on.

Now, more than a repository for books, it plays an important part of the fabric of this community. And with its new program, Visioning Greater Vernon, it will play an even greater role when it attempts to harness knowledge and creativity, and to engage with the community with the goal of positive social change.

Some of the subjects to be discussed are: May 30, Transportation: How do you get around?; June 20, The Future of Water; Sept. 19, Community Building: Coming together in the age of (dis)connection; Oct. 17, Sustainable Development: Growing resilience; Nov. 21, Food: Local, sustainable, attainable.

These five themed community meetings will pull together panels made of up of diverse individuals, followed by smaller brainstorming groups and then ideas will be shared with the larger group.

If concrete ideas come out of the session, they can either go forward with the applicable service provider (IHA, RDNO, City of Vernon) or community group. Also childcare will be provided during the programming so that parents can participate in brainstorming sessions and the kids will also participate in a similar program and come into the larger group to share their thoughts as well. Truly a multi-generational gathering.

The first community meeting will be about transportation and panel members will be: Wendy Majewski (Transportation Demand management coordinator, City of Vernon), Amanda Watson (transportation engineer, City of Vernon), Pam Moore (IHA Healthy Built Environment team), Brad Clements (Okanagan Rail Trail), and Pat Black (seniors advocate). That’s me, so come on out and get your ideas on transportation listened to.

If you have any comments or questions email: or call 250- 542-7928.