The luck of the Canadians or the resilience of the Ukrainians? Sometimes, life is overwhelmingly a matter of luck and timing.
On a perfect weather Sunday afternoon for Mother’s Day last weekend, I rode my bike from Old Town out along the Niagara Parkway trail toward Queenston. People alone and in pairs and in groups were enjoying the day, often with a guest of honour being thanked for being a mother.
Walking, cycling, sitting, taking in some fresh air on our peaceful Parkway trail, with the mighty Niagara draining the Great Lakes down in the gorge. So many lucky Canadians and visitors, everyone one of them feeling safe and secure.
Children playing catch and tag, soccer and Frisbee. The picnic tables all in use, some with table cloths and flowers.
Aromas of food, all types, from curries to barbecued cheeseburgers, and everything in between.
Too bad, but the public washrooms near McFarland House were all “Closed for the Season.” Sheesh. Thank goodness for willow trees and oak trees and creative parents with desperate kids.
And a special shout out to Walker’s Market, which was open for business, and open for relief. Doing a land office business selling fresh produce, beverages and ice cream cones.
The Tcherniauski family from Niagara Falls had it all happening on the grass near McFarland House. Dad and two kids playing on the swings, mom and a toddler at a table.
They gave me pause for thought and we talked briefly about their Ukrainian families over in Europe.
“Luckily, they are all living in other countries, and as far as we know, everyone is safe.”
They read the newspapers, watch television news and check social media trying to keep up with the latest news from Ukraine. They worry – and they help in whatever way possible.
The Tcherniauskis were organized, dressed for the sunny but cool day on the Parkway. A happy young Canadian family.
They had food in a wicker basket, sandwiches, beverages including bubbly for a toast to mom, and a bouquet of gorgeous red roses in a large vase. A glazed chocolate cake was ready, and a toddler finger had already had an advance tasting when nobody was watching.
It really was an idyllic scene, but my mind returned again to Ukraine and Kyiv.
Families huddled in underground subway stations, cold, hungry, without toilets, thirsty, hearing and feeling the thunder of war. Shattered, ruined, burned-out buildings, no place to shelter from the cold and wet. Brave children crying. Loving parents comforting.
And here we are in Canada, trying to figure out which political parties and politicians will do the best to take care of us in the future.
Our Canadian maple leaf flags fly proudly across our land and, as of last Sunday, in front of the Canadian embassy in Kyiv.
This whole world doesn’t seem fair.