Good fun helping Goodfellows

Caitlin Caldwell stopped by to visit Bruce in front of the St. Clair Street, LCBO Friday, winning a pair of tickets to see "the McCartney Years" at the Cultural Centre in the process.
Caitlin Caldwell stopped by to visit Bruce in front of the St. Clair Street, LCBO Friday, winning a pair of tickets to see “The McCartney Years” at the Cultural Centre in the process.

I love helping out with the Chatham Goodfellows. Talk about a great way to ensure you’re in the Christmas spirit.

I spent part of Friday morning outside the LCBO on St. Clair Street as Bruce Van Corcoran, my Dutch name. You see, Mark Kloostra organizes the Street Sales, and there are tons of people of Dutch decent helping out. It’s just easy to Dutch-ify folks such as myself.

Mark sent me to the liquor store. I’ve only met him a few times, but I wondered if he’d been talking to Tim Mifflin, 2014’s Mr. Goodfellow, and a fellow Scotch aficionado. Tim knows I like to be near fine spirits.

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The liquor store on a Friday is typically busy. But I was surprised how business gets going first thing. Then again, Christmas was only two weeks away, so people were certainly stocking up – shopping cart style.

And they were in a giving mood. When dealing with the Goodfellows, how can you not be? These folks collect toys, food and funds to purchase toys and food so people less fortunate will have items to put under the Christmas tree, and food to eat on Christmas Day.

Great cause.

The Goodfellows blanketed retail outlets in Chatham and area Friday and Saturday, for the Street Sales portion of their campaign. We folks in red aprons were everywhere. Unfortunately for me, the liquor store in the morning is generally not the first shopping point for most people, so many patrons had already given to the cause at the bank, Wal-Mart, the Superstore, or other locations.

The best feel-good moment for me came from a woman who did not donate a dime at the liquor store. She said she had already supported Goodfellows and followed up with, “Thank you for doing what you do.”

I realize that comment was intended for Goodfellows in general, but when you volunteer for a charity, to hear such appreciation is pretty sweet.

She made my day.

Most everyone I came across during my time outside the LCBO was very friendly. That’s what Chatham-Kent is like. And that’s why one man stopped to chat with me. He recognized me from my photo in the paper each week. He moved here recently from Ottawa and said he is amazed at how friendly the people of C-K are.

I know what he means. I spent time in Toronto, where it seems most people are allergic to , or terrified of, eye contact. The sidewalk is much more intriguing than the people on the street.

Talk about unfriendly. Then again, too many of these folks don’t even know their own neighbours.

Thankfully, that’s not how we operate here. That mindset is what makes efforts such as those of the Goodfellows, pay off. People care.

As Christmas approaches, so many items that go under our trees this year will be related to technology. A phone here, a Bluetooth speaker there, a laptop somewhere else, or a video game, or accessories to any and all of the above will be giftwrapped and opened to joyful smiles Dec. 25.

Addicted to tech

We love our technology. And we’re addicted to it. I’m as guilty as the next person. When I was growing up, we had two English TV channels to choose from in northern Quebec, the CBC and CTV feeds from northeastern Ontario. And CTV actually joined the game after I was born.

Think of the progress. Hundreds of channels. Yet cable is considered ancient these days. Ditto for satellite TV, it seems too (although I get my Internet from one and television from the other). Streaming is the way to get your video entertainment. Netflix, Crave, AppleTV, DroidTV, YouTube – you name it. And you can get it on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, gaming console, DVD player (or is that Blu-Ray?).

And then there’s communication. I was born in the days of rotary dial telephones. Touch-tone phones were cool hanging from the walls in many a kitchen. Then came the cordless phone and cellular telephones – the bag phones and then the one that looked like a walkie-talkie.

Now we have VOIP phones (thanks, Canquest!), and smartphones galore. Teens are walking around today with more power in one pocket than what NASA used to land man on the moon.

Pretty darned cool.

What happens when one of the technological cogs gets jammed, however?

Not cool.

When the information flow is stopped up, we don’t know how to deal.

Think of your kids when your Internet at home is down.

Or me at the office when our e-mail goes down (think angry Samuel L. Jackson-like vocabulary).

Yes, technology today is incredible. But when it’s down, the expletives come out.



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