Photo: The Crosswalk Carrot at work on the brand new crosswalk
By Jude Major
Life as the Crosswalk Carrot every Sunday morning in Musquodoboit Harbour is not always fun.
“Hey you, what the &%#&**) ya trying to do! Get the #@*(%#9 out the way!”
Yes, that’s what I hear at least once every Sunday from some guy in a truck infuriated by having to stop for pedestrians—especially by someone dressed up as a bright orange carrot with an umbrella hat wielding a stop sign.
But most of the time, shepherding people back and forth from the Sunday morning Farmers Market to Dobbit’s and Nora’s is fun. There are always jokes and friendly waves, and the curious child who wants to know why I’m wearing an orange sleeping bag in the hot sun.
Friends always make sure that I have a hot chocolate sometime in the middle of my shift. My dog Margo, lying in the grass in the shade always gets treats and snacks. And my thanks to Ashlea, the Market manager, who makes sure that Margo’s water bowl is topped up.
I got the idea of volunteering as a crossing guard in a discussion with my friends at Dobbit Bakehouse. With the Farmers Market happening across the street every Sunday during the summer, wouldn’t it be safer for all the people going back and forth?
Once I started off, it was immediately obvious that people needed the help. People are generous with their thanks and their appreciation for the service. And people tell me that knowing there’ll be help getting across the often busy highway makes them more likely to come to the Market. I even had an officer from the local RCMP detachment walk up and tell me I was “doing a great job.”
But you can’t keep everyone happy all the time. MLA Kevin Murphy complained to a Market board member because I didn’t have a permit from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Development.
So now I’m waiting for my permit to come through, but I’ll be back soon. Even if there was a marked crosswalk from the Railway Station to the municipal parking lot, there would still be a need for the Carrot. Traffic is heavy on Sunday mornings, and too many drivers (especially those with visions of Martinique dancing in their heads) will not stop voluntarily for pedestrians.
So next time you’re driving through the Harbour on a Sunday morning, toot the horn, give a way to the Carrot, and don’t begrudge the short time people need to cross the road.