Mary Geauvreau walked into the general store just off Main Street in The Village of Aspen Lake one late autumn day to be greeted by Sue Marier, the new volunteer who’d been running the store for a couple of months.
“I’ve got something for you,” Sue said to Mary.
“I don’t have to pay for it?” came Mary’s reply, a smile upon her face.
No payment was required as Sue handed over a personalized poem written just for Mary. When Sue was last in The Village the two ladies had carried on quite an extensive conversation and she’d gone home with all she’d learned to inspire a poem written just for her new friend.
Mary’s heart warmed when the gift was handed over.
“It felt really good,” she says, when asked about the poem. “It made me really quite happy.”
Sue began volunteering at Aspen Lake in late summer 2019, carrying on a lifelong tradition of giving what she can of herself to her community. It’s like payback, she says, for all the blessing she’s known since coming to Canada from the United States years ago. She’s been volunteering for 42 years in various corners of the communities she’s called home, and her time at Aspen Lake is another extension of that generosity.
Running the store is nice, she says, but her truest enjoyment comes through the connections and conversations she has with residents. The poems are something she likes to do to bring a smile to the faces of others.
Peter Ramsay received one of the poems not long after Mary. He’d been relaxing in the greenhouse when Sue came and struck up a conversation. “She was just talking with me and I didn’t realize she was getting information,” Peter says through laughter. “Then she came up a few days later and said she’d like me to have this poem, and it was pretty nice that she did it.”
The gift of conversation, Sue says, is something the residents of Aspen Lake give to her and she’s happy if her poems brighten someone’s day. Her goal is to compose one for every resident in The Village, one conversation at a time.
“The community gives a lot to me,” Sue says. “I’m very grateful to be living in Canada and for the health care and all that Canada has to offer . . . and I can’t not see myself volunteering, I’ve been doing it for so long.”