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Niagara Falls
Thursday, July 11, 2024
Ross’s Ramblings: In NOTL, it was just like ridin’ a bike
Ross Robinson doesn’t think this sign is welcoming. ROSS ROBINSON

It was a perfect weather day, the Sunday of the July 4 weekend here in NOTL. Such perfect weather that nobody showed up for my afternoon Free Walking Tour.

I telephoned two friends of mine, inviting them to ride bikes along the Niagara Parkway to Queenston and back.

No hurry, just a pleasant ride, including a stop for an ice cream cone at the very authentic Walker’s Market along the way.

Their responses were, “I haven’t ridden a bike for over 30 years,” and “I haven’t ridden a bike in over 20 years,” respectively.

I told them to come along: “You’ll be fine, It will be just like riding a bike.”

This was too daring for them, so I left alone for a wonderful ride on a perfect day, in a perfect part of our world.

My first stop was Walker’s Market. A picture perfect country market, third generation now, with lots of fresh produce, bright young employees, and crisply manicured lawns. The Walker family has it figured out.

Owner Jim Walker was proudly and smilingly out front greeting guests, and informed me that his son Jimmy had hurt his back the previous weekend, hefting big bags of corn.

Therefore, no freshly boiled corn on the cob for sale. Or is it cob on the corn? There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Some say the corn is on the cob, and others say the cob is on the corn. This debate will rage on for years to come.

As ever their washrooms were spotlessly clean, and ice cream cones and sandwiches are generous, and still very fairly priced. Hurrah!

Walker’s Market is so wonderfully dependable! Such a fabulous value.

Along the Parkway trail I pedalled, exchanging nods and waves and greetings with riders who were visiting the area, from the Greater Toronto Arena and many other parts of the world. Everyone smiling. We are so fortunate to live in Niagara.

Before Queenston, I stopped at a farm that had a big, sloppily painted sign in front: “Pick your own peaches.”

Sounded good, so up the driveway I went on my bike.

At the entrance, a hand lettered sign confronted me. The “Farm Rules” were listed: “No bags and food. Stay picking in signed area only. No loitering. Pick only if purchasing. Wash fruits before eating. No chasing or climbing. We reserve rights to refuse or revoke access.”

The warmth of the welcome was underwhelming.

Not one to be easily daunted, I read the next sign. “Price: $5 admission fee. Age four and over. $4 per lb.” (I asked the lad how many peaches were in a pound, and was told “three or four.” Yikes! That’s expensive.) Maximum 45 minutes picking time. Check out at weigh station. Cash/debit only.”

The sign was so cold, and so hard to decipher, because several lines had been crossed out with gray duct tape.

The cashier cashed out four guests while I watched, and never once smiled.

Isn’t our world a curious place? So much depends on attitudes.

Back in to downtown NOTL I rode, and stopping in front of the Court House to do some serious people watching. Fascinating!

I have become a serious and observant printed T-shirt aficionado.

A middle-aged man walked by, unshaven, with a bad haircut. His T-shirt read, “If you met my family, you’d understand.”

A couple of minutes later, an older gent walked slowly by, using a cane. His T-shirt read, “I promised myself I would never be a grumpy old man. But here I am, NAILING IT.”

I am certain the summer of 2024 is going to be a classic, one for the memory books.

So many problems in the world, political, financial, and just plain not good.

But here we are, on a parking-lot-like crowded main street.

Can’t we ask the motorcycle riders not to rev up their bikes as they pass the cenotaph, and as they cross the Queen/King intersection? So obnoxious, and such an unwanted component of our town.

Let’s enjoy our special wee corner, our Niagara, and count our blessings.

Reach out and help someone you don’t know. It costs nothing, and you will feel good,

Be kind, share a smile.

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