From bagpipers to clowns, from firetrucks to dancers and pups, there was so much to see at this year’s Panago Parade on Duncan Day, July 9. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

From bagpipers to clowns, from firetrucks to dancers and pups, there was so much to see at this year’s Panago Parade on Duncan Day, July 9. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: Social interaction can be much like the weather: unpredictable

OK, OK, it happened. It’s kind of like bringing your umbrella. When you do, it won’t rain. When you don’t, it’s going to pour. When I wrote my last column the weather wasn’t all that fantastic and then around the time that piece was actually printed, all of a sudden summer arrived. I mean it makes me look like a bit of a fool, but you’re welcome.


Well, I’d written the above several days ago and, things have turned again. And then again. So whatever weather is outside while you’re reading this, it’s probably the opposite of what we expected. Sorry about that.

Anyway, hello! My youngest niece finally was able to come for a visit the other week now that her soccer season is finally over. (Just to brag, her team won the provincials in her age group too, so that’s two provincial championships this year for my sister’s kids if you’re counting, as my nephew’s team won his age group in hockey this winter.)

This particular niece just turned 13 and still very much likes the things of childhood, but can still hang with the big kids if you catch my drift. It’s a win-win to have her at my house because not only does she like to play with my children, she can also quite capably babysit them.

My niece happened to arrive in time for the Duncan Day parade, something she’s been to multiple times over the years. We got downtown early to people watch. Well, really to stake out a spot near the office so we would have the washroom handy if we needed it (we didn’t) but we got to watch a hilarious traffic controller work her tail off to keep people from evading the barriers and driving on the closed parade route.

“You can’t drive here! Sir! Nope! No sir. You need to turn around. No. There is a parade. A parade! Sir! You need to turn around. TURN AROUND!”

Or “Yes sir. The road is closed. You can go this way or that way. I don’t know sir. Go that way and then figure it out.”

(That comment was the one before she radioed her partner saying she was going to need a beer after work.)

I’m not sure if we are now living in a society in which people coming out of the pandemic are genuinely confused and forget basic traffic rules and social customs or if they sincerely just think they’re more important than any rules, but people sure did have problems with the road closures.

All this woman was trying to do was keep the road clear and safe and drivers just weren’t having it. The woman never broke though. She was polite but firm and got the job done despite the dozens of drivers in their vehicles trying to make it hard for her. Kudos to her. And please, let’s be kind to traffic control workers. It’s a thankless job out there.

My family had also wandered around town before the parade to get a sense of what was going to be happening downtown after the parade and we spotted a woman who looked just like my mother. Like it was uncanny from her stature to gestures and even the type of clothing and shoes. My entire family of four plus my niece — who lives around the corner from my mom, her Grammy, on the mainland — all stared this unsuspecting woman from afar wondering “could it be?”

We kept one eye on her as we wandered around looking in shop windows and whatnot and eventually as we all wandered down Craig Street, she caught up to us. She was about to pass us and I just couldn’t resist. I said to her: “Gosh you look just like my mom, their Grammy”, while pointing to the kids.

Without missing a beat she turned to the children and said “Hi! I’m Grammy!” Then we all laughed and went on our separate ways. It was such a fun encounter and one that the poor woman we were sort of almost, albeit innocently stalking, could have scoffed at, but she didn’t. She played along and it got everyone a smile and a laugh and I think those types of brief interactions are the reason it’s good to be out and about as members of the community again.

There’s just no substitute for social interaction; It’s kind of like the weather: most of us can’t really predict with any great certainty if it’s going to be good or bad, but if it does go well, it sure can make you feel great.

ColumnistComedy and Humour