Column: Excavating the desk

Among the finds in this year's annual tidy-up is an a story about Cloverdale neighbours working together.

It’s a ritual observed in offices and workstations across the land at this time of year.

It’s the annual excavating-of-the-desk ceremony. Well, to be honest, it’s really more of a chore, isn’t it? Or a well-intentioned, woefully optimistic stab at establishing order.

But if not now, when?

It helps to regard the task as a trip through time, to a better place.

Sadly, to the casual observer, the before and after scenes are virtually indistinguishable, at least at my desk.

The same to-do list pile of story ideas that haven’t quite outlasted their shelf life is still there, only smaller. Tidier. And holding the same promise of some day grabbing important, dutiful headlines. (Think zoning amendments and city reports.)

And then there’s the nuggets that had great story potential, but just never got written and continue to inspire.

Among the finds this year?

Two letters from Sheron Mahon, a resident of Cloverdale’s Rosewood Park subdivision, thoughtfully brought to my attention this summer by one of her grateful neighbours.

The first letter, addressed to Rosewood Park residents, explains how Mahon, a 22-year resident of the neighbourhood, has taken it upon herself to address the long-standing neglect of the signature garden at the 60 Avenue entrance.

With some help, Mahon spearheaded a garbage clean-up and weed removal from the site – 35 recycling bags full. “We discovered a fire hydrant, water main access and the brick wall that had all disappeared,” she wrote, adding it was her vision to bring the entrance back to the “showpiece it was when the subdivision was created.”

Emboldened by a $200 from a realtor who sold the adjacent property, she offered to volunteer her time to do the planting, maintenance and upkeep and said she welcomed any help or input from other residents.

Mahon’s subsequent letter is addressed to the “Rosewood Park Community” – suggesting the exercise has brought the neighbourhood closer in addition to resolving an eyesore.

“First of all a big THANK YOU!!! for all your support on our community entrance beautification project,” she begins. “What started as a project to clean up one corner inspired the community to touch up and renew them all to a level that we can all be proud of.”

It seems once her neighbours heard about her plan, they responded in force – showing up armed with shovels, paint, vehicles and power tools.

“A little like the old community barn raisings we used to see on the prairies,” she said, thanking everyone for their support, and singling out a few individuals for their contributions, along with city waste removal crews who eventually hauled away 85 bags of yard waste from the two corners of 60 Avenue when all was said and done.

“Hopefully every time we drive into our subdivision we will be reminded how big a difference a community can make when they come together,” she concluded.

Sheron Mahon and neighbours, thank you for setting an example for us all in 2012.

I’m delighted to be able to finally share your story with our readers. I feel certain you’ll understand when I say, “Better late than never?”

– Jennifer Lang, editor

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