ParkTales

 

Sometimes our community

can solve problems without the police

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
 
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

With daylight lasting so long I decided to walk home from the Nursing Home where my husband resides. It's a good hour's walk.

As I came into Parkdale I felt light hearted. Lot's of activity. People laughing. Smokers talking animatedly outside the many bars along my path.

High end bars, middle of the road bars, and then the one at the end of my street, the Sun Fa.

Now this bar is really the least expensive one in the neighbourhood. It is a place where end-of-the-month cheques are spent.

It is a place where low-income people communicate, share experiences, and help each other. It's a special place where the wheelchair crowd gets together.

Yes, you see these interesting wheel chair "scooters" parked outside the bar. All of them decorated with various "identification" objects.

I'm always prompted to smile with approval when I happen to pass by on their "special" day.

As I walked by tonight I remembered the day, not a special wheelchair day, a week ago, when I experienced an incident near this bar that made me feel proud of my Parkdale.

It happened as I was rushing to the streetcar stop. As I got to the end of my street two middle aged men were fighting, obviously inebriated, and one was actually trying to choke the other.

I spontaneously yelled, "Stop it! Stop it!"

Luckily, a young man in his twenties heard my cry and rushed to the two men to separate them. 

It was not too hard to separate them since they had been drinking and were unsteady on their feet. But, in spite of their condition, they were still able to do considerable damage to each other. One had a bleeding nose and cuts on his face.

As the young man was separating them he said, "Calm down!"

It looked like things were okay but then the two men were at it again.

I yelled, Do you want the police here? Is it worth it?

The young man reappeared and separated them again. This time he insisted one go one way, and the other, the opposite.

I watched and once more said for emphasis you don't need the police here!

They each went their own way, one with a bloody nose.

I thought, thank God. Then did an immediate rewrite: I should say, thank that young man who interfered. There's only one bloody nose, and not a night in jail for two and the misery that goes with it.

My Parkdale.

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