Part 1- Stepping out on a Ledge

I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason.

A first time visit to Calgary wouldn’t have been complete without a get-together with Jean, who headed out West years ago. My friend planned a whole agenda of touristy things to experience, including the Calgary Tower. As we ascended the high speed elevator, signs appeared stating we were higher than a giraffe, a whale measuring end to end, and then higher than the pyramids! After just 62 seconds, the elevator door opened to a panoramic view of the city, the Rocky Mountains, foothills and prairies too.

But, what beckoned me was the glass floor jutting out 4’ from the wall. I get vertigo easily but hey, how many times would I be here? I had to do it. I stepped out on the ledge…and looked down at the traffic on 9th Avenue SW and Central St. N. And at the itty-bitty cars and people way, way down below!! A definitely thrilling experience. Jean chose the safety of the ledge of the glass floor, saying she didn’t want anyone to look up her dress! I nodded knowingly.

After seeing more of Calgary and an early fantastic dinner at The Cactus Club, Jean insisted on walking me back to my hotel. I was pretty sure I knew my way back but didn’t correct Jean when I thought she overshot by two blocks. As we ventured down an unfamiliar street, I saw a sign on a building:” We see the Humanity behind Homelessness. The” Jean told me the huge building was a renowned homeless shelter.  I was intrigued because I volunteer at a shelter back home. Jean said, “ See? You were meant to pass this way!” She mentioned homeless people congregate around the Drop In and people tended to avoid that area.

As soon as I reached the hotel, I phoned my sister, Lisa, to tell her I found a homeless shelter nearby. Now, Lisa knows me well. She said,” You want to go there, don’t you? We’ll go together when I get back to the hotel.”

As I’d eaten an early supper, I ventured out to a convenience store for a snack for later that night. I passed a rough looking homeless man standing in traffic asking for money. I skipped cutting through a park to get to the store when I saw several homeless men sleeping there on the ground. I was alone and I admit it, I felt uneasy. I made my purchase- some fruit and Wasabi coconut chips!- and pocketed several toonies and loonies in my pocket in case I was approached by one of the homeless men.

As I crossed the street, the same homeless man who was in traffic earlier crossed towards me. I was prepared to give him money if asked. Instead, he gave me a missing-tooth smile and we both said hello. And, he kept on walking. I find homeless people are usually friendly towards me. I must make them feel at ease somehow.

I returned to my hotel room and waited to hear from Lisa. I figured the shelter would be finished serving dinner- it was approaching 8 pm- and was unsure what on earth I was going to say to the people running the place. But, I knew, I just knew I had to step out on that ledge- and go and check it out!

8 thoughts on “Part 1- Stepping out on a Ledge

  1. I’m so happy you enjoyed our visit Rita. Meaningful happenings that day for sure. I’ll remember it always. As I told you I’m intrigued by those poor souls too. I can only hope some day I can make a difference like you. You are obviously braver I am as you took the journey out on the glass and so much more. Love you my friend. May all your dreams come true!!!!


  2. Thoroughly enjoy reading your posts Rita… I’m always so pleased when there is a new one . They are heartwarming and very well written ! Thank you !!


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