Vignettes from our neighbourhood of Marcil & Monkland

The student grocer who treats us like grandparents

Irwin and I went out for our semi-weekly stroll to our Fruiterie on the corner of Monkland and Marcil where we stock up on fruits and veggies, cheeses, eggs, nuts, and basically everything we need to make delicious meals, which are mostly vegetarian.

Our new normal is that the son of the owner, Farshad Nasirian, comes out to take our handwritten list, goes in with our Interac card, fulfills our needs and desires, and returns with the receipt and our groceries placed in bags we have brought. He always says hello to Rufus but Rufus never returns the courtesy. We never have to enter the store nor do we have to wait in line as our neighbours do. Farshad is so soliticious and kind. We count on him to keep us safe!

One day we arrived and he wasn’t there and we were afraid to ask why. The following day we found out. He had been writing his final exam in Engineering at Concordia and now is about to graduate. We congratulated him and told him how much we appreciate his care and concern during these difficult times!

Marcil Ave. 7pm ritual unites us all

This pandemic has changed us in so many ways and one small way is that we realize how precious our relationships are with our friends and neighbours. At 7pm every evening, we go out on our porch with Rufus and Irwin plays his tenor recorder while I drum on a pot with chopsticks and slowly every house along our street sends out their inhabitants to bang on drums and pots to thank our healthcare workers for their heroic deeds!

Children as young as three and seniors as old as well… us…. participate in this neighbourly show of solidarity. Last night a police car drove along our street and flashed its lights to thank us and encourage us! That small show of love brought tears to my eyes!

Whatever we are doing a few minutes before 7pm, we remember this ritual and step out to join our neighbours for this special event. After ten minutes, we wave to one another. Irwin says “Bravo!” while other neighbours yell “À demain!” as we look forward to the next evening when we can come together again as one.

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