Parnell: Take pride in where you live, be it Winfield or Rutland

Lake Country reporter starting to understand the area....finally

I had an interesting call from a loyal Lake Country Calendar reader last week that opened my eyes to the District of Lake Country and how people feel about where they live in the community.

I, for one, live in Kelowna. Rutland to be specific. And I take pride in living in the heart of the area of Kelowna people most make fun of. People who live in big houses near the lake or in mansions on one hillside or another, literally and figuratively look down on us peons in Rutland. They may never make eye contact with us, but we don’t care. Because Rutland folks are real. We roll up our sleeves and work for our money, live in multi-family, multi-ethnic neighborhoods and we smile and nod at each other as we pass, knowing what those other folks don’t: That Rutland rocks, thank you very much.

But back to the phone call, which somehow found its way through to my desk a week ago Monday.

“Is this the Calendar?” the voice on the other end of the line asked.

Why yes it was, I was happy to report. You see, we have been writing, editing and publishing the Lake Country Calendar out of the Kelowna Capital News offices now for several years. We are the only media in the Central Okanagan with a person dedicated to Lake Country (pat on the back here).

But back to the phone call, which started out a little testily.

“I’m reading about construction in Lake Country and about Lake Country this and Lake Country that, but I live in Winfield,” said the caller.

Now it was first thing Monday morning and only a couple sips into my coffee so I had my back up immediately.

“Uhh, no sir, you live in Lake Country,” was my reply. “You guys voted to change the name 20 years ago. I didn’t make the change. I’m just reporting the facts.”

Now I admit I didn’t know much about Lake Country before taking up the reins of the Lake Country Calendar when its last full time reporter decided to fly his remote controlled aircraft off to greener pastures.

But since then I’ve written about private docks for well-to-do longtime Lake Countryites and about former administrators stirring the pot and about model aircraft dive bombing egg-laying chickens, to name a few things. Until now I had always grouped all of you fine folks together as Lake Country. Sure, I mentioned the areas of Oyama or Carr’s Landing or Okanagan Centre to point out geographic locations, but it was all Lake Country to me. Heck I don’t make the news, I thought.

“I didn’t want to change the name and most people I know didn’t either,” said the caller. “This is the District of Lake Country but I live in Winfield and that construction is taking place in Winfield.”

As my coffee cup began to empty I realized that the caller was right. Much like the way I take pride in how I can leave my empties out overnight in Rutland and the next morning they are gone, folks in Lake Country take pride in where they live, be it Winfield, Oyama, Carr’s Landing or Okanagan Centre.

I never did get the caller’s name but by the end of our conversation he had won me over. I had learned something about Lake Coun…I mean Winfield. I had learned that people do love where they live and take pride in the different areas of the community I am writing about.

So I thanked the gentleman and vowed to better represent the different wards of Lake Country in my writing. For you are all unique and have your own stories and issues and pride. Kind of like Rutland.