Last Saturday was our fourth Free Hugs session for 2017, and it also marked a number of firsts! Our usual procedure is to arrive at the Homecoming Memorial, doff extraneous gear, coats, etc, retrieve our Free Hugs posters from their tube, then Marcia assumes her (most glorious) hugging position while Mike makes a few images. That done we wait for the first huggers to arrive. The intervening time has ranged up to several minutes, but in our last few sessions we’ve broken records for the time it takes for our first hugger. At our last session we had someone stop within seconds of getting ready, and we joked that the only way to beat that would be for someone to show up before we were ready. Well, it happened! Not only did we have our first hugger arrive before Mike had a chance to make any photographs, we had someone waiting in the wings so to speak as well! After that surprise we joked that the only way to beat that record would be for people to be there waiting for us before we arrived!!
We started out with sunshine, and we had our full complement of people stopping by for hugs, waves, car honks, bicycle bells, air hugs and cross the street hugs. We even had a cyclist stop and pull in for hugs, which is always appreciated. However, after a bit the clouds built up over the north and it wasn’t long before they burst themselves open upon us. We laminated our current posters so they can get a little damp, but when it became clear it was going to be serious, we had to pack up. It’s always hard to leave.
We decamped to a local shoppe for tea and in doing so it reminded us of that classic children’s rhyme. You know the one:
Because it was sunny,
the hugging peeps were out.
There was singing, and hugging,
and dancing all about!!
Then down came the rain
and drove the huggers out.
They retired for coffee
to wait the rainstorm out…
Out came the sun,
and dried up all the rain…
And there was singing, and hugging,
and dancing once again!!
The sun did come back out after a bit and we returned to our stations. We were glad we did too, because we shared some of our most heartfelt hugs of the day after our return. Every hug is unique and special, but there are some people who really need to share a hug. Our second ‘first’ of the day came from the carriage driver who discharged her guests down the road a bit so they could come back and share hugs with us! What a treat!
Many thanks for everyone who shared our place and space for a Saturday afternoon! In the 8 years we’ve been doing this we’ve hugged people from 53 countries that we know about; we’ve hugged ambassadors from 17 countries so far this year!
Remember, if you can’t hug the ones you love, hug the ones you’re with!
P.S. Remember what we said at the top about breaking our ‘first hugs’ records? Before we left we were approached by a group of young people whom we’ve hugged before, and they asked us where we’ve been (the weather hasn’t been overly cooperative of late). We were amazed and honoured that they look for us whenever they’re in the neighbourhood of a Saturday afternoon! We’re awed (and a little bit terrified) by the idea, but we have regulars!! Wow.