Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Welcome to Windsor

When people ask me where I'm from I usually respond "I don't know.  My dad was in the air force."  (always go for the laugh)  Truth is we didn't move that much, and my teenage years were spent in Belleville, Ontario.  It's the closest thing I have to a home town.

Just over 21 years ago I was transferred to Windsor.  People can say what they like about Windsor, and usually do, but I've had time to reflect on my adopted home town.  Actually, it's fair to say it's the town that adopted me.

When I arrived ahead of the family and set about finding a home for us all my co-workers couldn't have been more welcoming.  They went out of their way to make sure I had a good meal while I lived in a hotel for a month or two, often in their homes but also recommending decent local restaurants.  Some of them stayed on speed dial after my wife and kids finally joined me in Windsor.  Claire knew she could call any of them to get an opinion or advice on the local scene.  Many of them are close friends even to this day, two plus decades later.

My son's Grade 6 teacher not only met him at the door on his first day of school, but also brought his wife for dinner in my restaurant just so she could meet and welcome me.  Before a few months had passed I had met the movers and shakers, the influential and the notable who today are still my doctor, dentist, friends and associates and who introduced me to key contacts in parliament, city hall, the media, Queen's Park and the local business community.  

We shared that Windsor hospitality when a new young manager got transferred from Toronto and Claire made sure that he was never lacking a home-cooked meal; the standing invitation was his to decline.  Besides, I had asked him to take the job knowing it meant moving to a new community where he had only one friend; me.  When a sales manager from the GTA took a remote job representing Windsor, the first meal he had on the first day of his new job in our town was in our home (it was also the last - he had eyes for my daughter).

That's the Windsor I know.  Good people.  I can't imagine otherwise.  And I've never experienced it anything like it anywhere else.

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