Two events stand out from the time I spent at Picnic, neither of which made the news. The first, which actually happened later, is the type of even less likely to make the news, but was indicative of the aftermath of what was a very active "cheque day" here in the North End (I also wonder if cheque day played a role in the incident on Garfield). For those of you scratching your heads as to what cheque could possibly cause an entire neighbourhood to change dynamic, it's the same one you quite possibly got, the Child Tax Benefit (I think that's it's real name - I always think of it by its colloquial name, Baby Bonus Cheque). Unfortunately, when this cheque comes out in the North End, in particular in summer, the place actually resembles the place that suburbanites think exists all the time. Cheques that are intended to cover the extra costs associated with raising children all too frequently end up being spent on alcohol and other intoxicants. This is certainly not to say that this is the case with all North End families, however, like any stereotype, the roots stem from actual events, and a few bad apples definitely spoil the bunch.
Since this cheque day fell on a Friday, in summer, it was was bound to be more
So back to my original story - there was an incident at Picnic involving a knife and a fight of some sort, which is a shame because it's a family event. I wasn't witness to the fight but I would be surprised if the participants didn't still have some of the effects from some imbibing from Friday night. The other story, which I'm extremely surprised doesn't seem to have hit the news at all, was a dramatic river rescue. Okay, I've never seen another river rescue so I don't know if it was any more or less dramatic than usual but it seems that it should get the dramatic adjective.
Just around 830 Saturday morning, while we were setting things up for the Picnic, there was shouting coming from the direction of the Redwood Bridge. As we all know, shouting in these parts is fairly par for the course, so we didn't think too much of it. A few minutes later, sirens could be heard, ending at the bridge. Thinking that perhaps there was a fight or maybe someone threatening to jump, we continued about our business. Next thing we knew, a guy came running down the river path with the police in hot pursuit. Then they passed him. Confused as to what the situation was, we headed down to the river bank. That's when we could see the head and waving arms and the guy we thought was being chased shouting to the river victim that help was on the way, to just hang on.
The police were nothing short of spectacular in their efforts to rescue the man, I was particularly impressed by the way they didn't hesitate to commandeer the rowboat attached to the docked MS River Rouge (man do my posts tie together nicely!) and attempt to row to save the man. As a spoiler (but a happy one), the man was rescued, so I can then comment on some of the amusing scenes that unfolded with the boys in blue. The officers that jumped in the rowboat looked nothing short of comical in their attempt to coordinate how exactly to row a boat and two of the officers who scrambled along the riverbank lost (and found) items off their belts and I couldn't help but think of those pesky taser cartridges. Another onlooker said that an officer fell in the water trying to get in the rowboat but I must've missed that.
So as the officers tried to row out to the man, who I was told by another man on scene who had run down the river path as well (and I believe was the person to call 911) that he had been in the water from at least Burrows, so didn't end up in the drink by the Redwood bridge after all. It was absolutely incredible how quickly the current moved and how far the man drifted in such a short amount of time. Ultimately he was rescued (or at least certainly seemed to be - it was too far out at that point to see exactly what was going on) by a what looked like a police motorboat.
It strikes me as so odd that this didn't hit the news, not even as a blip; so here on my humble little blog I will give the shout out to the police officers involved for a job very well done, and despite my amusement at their attempt to row a boat (I'm thinking that the motorboat would have eventually had to "rescue" them as well, that's one heck of a strong current) they were nothing short of heroic in their attempts to save the life of a man who ended up in the river. I suppose we will all just have to guess at the rest of the details, like how and where he ended up in there in the first place.