Attendance Report – It doesn’t look good.

It is a common notion that if you want something to improve, get better, become more than it can be, or just different you just need to whine, complain, bitch, but not actually do anything. After all, surely your contribution to the whole thing is to make enough noise so that some silly fool will actually do it? Am I right? It looks like I am and for once, I am not happy to be right.

St. Thomas has 36,000 people living here, up from 33,000 in 2001. According to Wikipedia, St. Thomas has a lot of things going for it. Two beautiful parks, a rich history, but it also notes that economy has been dominated by automotive manufacturing, something we are all aware of. I am surprised that it doesn’t mention that St. Thomas is the capital of the world for comfortable sofas and recliners.

What? You didn’t know that? Why else would people call for St. Thomas to improve and yet be unable to get off their collective plump behinds and actually do something about it. The Bryten Rockz concert that was held August 14th was an all day musical treat, it was also free. Did you attend? Yes? Well I am glad because you are in the minority. I don’t understand why a free event, on a day when it isn’t raining, for a very important cause, wasn’t better supported. What? You didn’t like the bands playing? There was something on television you wanted to watch? You needed to go shopping? It was for an excellent cause and it was FREE!! Perhaps you don’t understand the word free. Perhaps its my foreign (and yet alluring) accent you can’t understand. Just don’t complain that there is nothing to do in St. Thomas.

Let me put it another way. I am far from a perfect person. I tend to be anti social, prefer the company of books or computers to people, have a myriad of issues ranging from ADD to depression, to not wanting to really meet new people or make friends or be with people. I was at the Bryten Rockz concert though. I thought it important enough that I show my support. In my own screwed up way, I thought that the cause was more important than all the reasons I could come up with not to go. My wife, who is sweet and kind beyond words, didn’t expect me to go. How could she, we have been married for 12 years and she understands that when it comes to this kind of thing, its right up there with fun fair rides on my list of things to avoid.

I have only lived here for 12 years. I came from a city in the UK that is the size of London. I came here, a much smaller city, countryside everywhere , most people had a different accent, I didn’t recognize most of the cars even. It took me a while to get used to the idea that people here are friendly. In the UK, you could often stand in a shop for a few minutes before someone could be bothered to serve you. Here, I have had people apologize for not having what I am looking for and suggest somewhere that might.

There are shops that I visit that the people behind the counter recognize me, back in the UK, that only ever happened with barmen (and barmaids).  St. Thomas is a truly friendly place, people always seem to make an effort, smile and just be pleasant. Of course there is the odd exception, usually me, but other than that, this is a brilliant place to live and raise a family.

My parents moved here two years ago to be closer to the grandchildren (I bet they regret that now!) and because they liked St. Thomas as much. I have a friend who lives in Mississippi who has a home here for the same reason. People like St. Thomas, and St. Thomas deserves to be better supported. I am not asking you to do anything that might cost you money. I truly understand how money is tight right now and probably going to get a lot tighter. Closures affect everyone and I know how it feels to be laid off, but if something is free, why not take advantage of it?

Back when I was young, free and single, I would spend my Thursday nights in a bar listening to a pub band for two hours. I would get drunk, smile, sing along, and be glad that you could hear the music and have a good time without having to pay for a ticket. Live music is so important and yet, it seems that free live music isn’t that important on a Saturday when perhaps back to school shopping is needed, or Saturday is your day off and you need to relax. For an hour, you could have helped a great cause, listened to some great music and been a part of something bigger.

I know some people have real reasons, a loved one in hospital, a job, not in town, but surely there must be more of you who are willing to do this for St. Thomas. Free is my favourite price and it should be for you too. How about you and I make a little deal? I’ll try my hardest to attend everything that is advertised or talked about in The St. Thomas Blog if you do too? Will you try and do that for me please? I am sure a lot of you will be attending the Iron Horse festival on the weekend. I will be as well and hopefully making it for the Friday and Saturday night concerts.

I appreciate everyone who does make an effort, I truly do, and I apologize if I seem to be blaming everyone, I am not. I don’t blame anyone, I just ask that folk take a moment and readjust their way of thinking so perhaps the next time there is an event that is free, they might make an appearance. St. Thomas used to be the Railway Capital of Canada, but less and less tracks running through town, we are perhaps better known for Jumbo’s untimely demise. It would be nice to live in St. Thomas, the city where people care 25% more than anywhere else.

Goodnight, thank you for reading, it’s time for my medication and my teddy bear.

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