After fifty five years together my husband and I have decided to part company so I have been looking for a new home. My intention is to stay in Oliver, which I feel is just the right fit for me, in fact living in Oliver feels like slipping into a comfy old robe and slippers. I drive into our little town and immediately feel a sigh of relief, I am home and this is where I love to be.
Oliver is not much to look at on the Main Street, so many closed storefronts is really disheartening, but nowhere have I felt a sense of community and belonging as I feel in my little Okanagan town. I felt this when we moved here almost thirty years ago and I still feel this way.
I guess the town repays you for what you put into it and I have always enjoyed volunteering in community projects, this is where you find the heart and soul of the town. Here are the people who care about where they live and now have time to give back for the years they enjoyed here.
Nowhere is community felt more than in an emergency when everyone comes together to help in whichever way they can. Almost every week there is some sort of fundraising event to assist someone with a major health problem, someone who has lost everything in a fire or some group or other wishing to assist local people in need.
This great sense of community came together again recently at the two wine events held last weekend. My shift at the FOG started at the very early time of 8.15, the frost was still on the grass and frost fans were chopping the air with their noisy blades when I left the house. Dressed in many layers of clothing and clutching my Timmy’s cup with my mittened hands, I met my coworkers for the job of checking in the various wineries and giving them their location for the day.
Come noon and I moved over to one of the tents where I was to sell the dollar tokens for the rest of the afternoon. There were three such tents with a two person team in each tent. Once the doors opened we never stopped selling tickets and the line up never seemed to get any shorter. My workmate used the credit/debit machine while I handled the cash sales. Apart from our initial greeting of each other and introducing ourselves, I honestly don’t think we managed any further conversation for the rest of the day.
The weather managed to be sunny and it was obvious that everyone was there to have a good time. The decorations were festive, the costumes of the grape stomping teams were hilarious and the sound of laughter was a constant roar. The staff had worked hard to bring the event together again and the huge volume of volunteers made the day possible.
I left the event at 3.30 feeling tired and achey, I was anxious to get home and put up my feet with a cup of my favourite coffee. As I left the grounds the event was still in full swing and people were still coming in through the gates, however my work was done and I drove home with the satisfaction of a job well done and once again thanking my lucky stars for living in this little part of the world.
Leaving my husband is extremely hard, we have spent some wonderful times together but things have changed, he has found a new love and it is time for me to start over. However, I know that I will never feel too alone, this is my home, these are my people and this is my new life.
I will survive.