by Deron Johnston
It was almost time, and the sun was shining (a rarity for sure), so I decided to walk down to Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills to watch the annual Easter Egg Hunt put on by the Oxford Mills Community Association (more accurately, Jim and Nora DeVette, who do all of the work and buy all of the goodies).
As I approached Maplewood Hall on the sidewalk, there was a family of three walking towards me. They seemed to be enjoying the sunshine as well, walking at a leisurely pace. I didn’t recognize them and assumed that they were visiting the area, either for the day, or staying with friends locally. As is my way, I gave them a smile and said “Hi” as I walked past them.
A few paces later, it dawned on me that the daughter among them was probably about ten years old and might enjoy some free chocolate and a little egg hunt fun. So, I thought: “it won’t hurt”, and I turned around and asked the family if they wanted to join us in the park for the egg hunt. I said that we’d love to have them, and they didn’t need to live here to be part of the festivities. They were a little hesitant at first, so I assured them that there was always plenty of chocolate for everyone.
The father commented that his daughter liked chocolate and asked her if she’d like to have a little fun. I told them that the hunt didn’t last very long, so if they had plans, it would only set them back a few minutes. I found out that they simply went out for a drive that afternoon and lived in nearby Kars. They eventually agreed and walked up to the park with me. The father thanked me for my kindness and, after a few brief moments to get their bearings, they began hunting with the others who were crawling like ants over almost every inch of the park.
After about fifteen minutes, the hunt was over, with all of the kids also getting a chocolate Easter Bunny to go with their eggs. Armed with sufficient chocolate for their needs, the family once again thanked me and, after some polite conversation about the two buildings in the park, they walked away, happily chatting about their little unexpected adventure. I turned my attention back to the last remaining people heading for their cars, happy kids in tow.
Three nights later, on a Tuesday, I sat in the audience of a special music night at Geronimo Coffee House. They host a bi-weekly music night that includes a delicious meal and four musicians performing in a half circle. I was excited about this particular night, because I was really looking forward to hearing one of the performers, guitarist Keith Glass, formerly of Prairie Oyster, a well-known Canadian Country/Rock/Roots band. I knew that Keith was going to be one of the performers in the lineup at the upcoming Kemptville Live Music Festival.
There were two sets of music that night, where each of the four artists got to perform, with Keith being the featured artist and therefore playing the entire third and final set solo. His talent and versatility were on display, and it was easy to see why he would be playing at Kemptville Live. After the music was finished, the musicians began packing up their equipment. I decided to take advantage of the small informal environment of the show and walked over to compliment Keith on the show.
Little did I know that he was already, somehow, aware of me. When I walked over, he looked up at me and said “You live in Oxford Mills, right?” I was a bit gob-smacked, thinking frantically of when I could’ve possibly met him before. After a few seconds, I confirmed that I did indeed live there. He said “Do you remember that family that you invited over for the Easter Egg Hunt in the park?”. It slowly dawned on me, as he pressed on “That was me, my wife and my daughter. I want to thank you again for your kindness that day. We really enjoyed it and it made our day. We just went out for a drive that afternoon not knowing where we were going and we ended up in Oxford Mills with a great memory.” “Thanks again for that”. He put his hand on my shoulder and firmly shook my hand. Despite several confused looks on the faces of the people around us, I wasn’t confused at all. I was reminded immediately that treating others with kindness and respect is always the right thing to do and “it won’t hurt”.