Every evening, just before 7 p.m., Langley retiree René Doyharcabal puts on his jacket and collects the antique car horn he salvaged from one of his classic car restorations.
His wife Judy hands him his cane and picks up a battered-looking pot and a large wooden spoon, and they go join a small group of their neighbours in the 20400 block of 43A Avenue for a nightly round of noisemaking to show support for the health care workers battling COVID-19.
There are about half a dozen, with horns, and drums, and bells to ring. They take up their positions the appropriate distance from each and precisely at 7 p.m., they begin.
Another neighbour, further down the block, also takes part from his front yard.
“Some times, when people are walking by, we invite them to join in, and some do,” Doyharcabal explained.
The neighbours have been doing it for 14 months.
Karen Bolli, who whooped and cheered as she rang her bell, said good weather or bad weather, it doesn’t matter.
“We never miss a day, even when it snows,” Bolli said.
When the pandemic started, there were noisy outpourings of support across the globe, but they gradually faded out.
It was part of a movement that started in Italy and Spain to show support for first responders by making noise each night around 7 p.m.
By ringing bells, sounding horns, banging on drums and pots, or simply clapping hands, people could show appreciation for first responders and health care workers who lead the fight against the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.
The people in Brookswood have continued when others have stopped, and Ed Bolli, Karen’s husband, thinks it make sense to continue a show of support for medical staff who haven’t had a break since the pandemic started.
“It’s amazing how long they have had to keep plugging along,” Bolli commented.
“I guess like so many things, people lose interest,” Doyharcabal speculated, “maybe not lose interest, but move on to other things.”
Doyharcabal said the nightly noisemaking has brought he and his wife closer to their neighbours.
“We have lived here 19 years, and we didn’t really know anybody,” he related.
“This is the first time we’ve really got to know them.”
Now, there is a regular opportunity to chat and get to know each other.
When the weather gets really good, the neighbours are thinking about setting up a picnic with tables and chairs for their nightly get-together.
If anyone wants to drop by to join in, they are more than welcome, the neighbours say.
Just show up in the 20400 block of 43A Avenue with something to make a noise, and remember, it starts at 7 p.m. on the dot.
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