We are regulars now

Jacob and I have been enjoying a morning coffee break at Tim Horton’s almost every morning since last fall when school started up. Over these past months we have begun to recognize, and be recognized by, the other regulars who show up every morning.

After so many years of feeling almost invisible or only being known as those Canadians in our travels, I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing it is to now have this deep understanding that we are home.

Moving back here and making Cochrane our hometown again has been an interesting experience. I know Old Cochrane, I was raised as part of that community, my family has called the town home for generations. It’s always been a place I can come to and see neighbours, old friends, family, and other members of the community.

In the 10 years that we were gone, Cochrane boomed in size. The town has grown, there are so many new people, and an abundance of stores have opened their doors here. It has been an interesting experience this past year – showing the kids the Old Cochrane that I know and love so much, and exploring together the New Cochrane that exists now, one that I also hold a lot of fondness for.

Even now when we come into town we always see at least one person we know. The town has maintained a lot of it’s old, small town feel, and we have such a large web of community here. There is always that comfort of being home and in a familiar place. Yet, there is so many new things to explore – new restaurants to try, stores to visit, and people to meet.

The people here are still refreshingly friendly, there are smiles and casual greetings often exchanged on the street. People hold the doors open for each other.

It is home.

We have become regulars. The people at Tim’s know Jacob’s coffee order every morning. The other regulars all know where “our table” is, and we all comment if someone has switched up the seating arrangement. I love watching the groups of people who meet there every morning. There are groups of friends – most of them older – sitting, sharing coffee, laughing, and enjoying a beautiful start to the day. We are now a part of that community.

My happiness moment was sitting at Tim Horton’s realizing that we had this deep sense of belonging in this place we call home. Then I eavesdropped on this table of older men (perhaps late 70s or early 80s) and found they were laughing and sharing stories of running around their yards.  I have no idea what the context was – but watching them doubled over at the table in laughter while they told their tales made my whole day.


Our hometown

When we moved back home last spring I made a very conscious decision that I wanted Cochrane to be our hometown. That’s part of the reason why I arranged for the kids to go to school there, and it’s why we do as much of our shopping and visiting in town as possible.

I have always loved Cochrane, many of my early childhood memories are of events in and around town. I was part of the Cochrane Pony Club for many years, my parents (conveniently) had their law office next door to Mackays for a while, my Grandma lived at the Big Hill Lodge after living out in the country full time became too difficult. I remember parades and rodeos, but mostly I know it’s a place where I can go and always see someone I know.  After years of living away, being where I know people is a big deal. In fact, when we came back I told the kids that every time we went into town we would see some relative. At first they didn’t believe me, but soon they saw that I was in fact telling the truth. I hope it reminds them to behave when they’re out and about without me.

Since coming back, I have joined several Cochrane community groups on Facebook. Something I have noticed over the past couple of days is the fact that many people are raving about random acts of kindness happening in our town. People are leaving Christmas goodies at the doorsteps of those who have beautiful lights on their house as a way to say thank you for sharing the beauty. People are buying each other coffee at Tim Horton’s. One lady bought a tree from Save On and found a pay it forward gift card attached to her tree. There are families who are organizing full Christmas celebrations (gifts and food) to be provided for other families who are having a difficult year.  I love that not only are these beautiful, heartfelt, loving acts being performed, but that people are taking the time to publicly give thanks and acknowledge these wonderful deeds.

How great would the world be if we were all like this all the time? This loving kindness being showered around my hometown is my happiness moment for the day.

photo snagged from tripadvisor.ca 

Cochrane Ranche Park: Men of Vision statue