Thursday, 6 November 2014

The End of An Era - The Balloon Floats Away

A recent photo of Marj outside of the store
The news came as a shock to some, and the confirmation of rumor to others. The end of an era in Cardinal - Cardinal's very own party girl Marj Kempffer announced her retirement October 1st.  

When I first heard the news, I wasn't even considering covering the story - I was pretty sure that it was someone's big idea to stir up some noise in Cardinal, but it wasn't long before a Facebook post confirmed the news.  It came with a cheerful message, "Don't be sad -- we're not!" complete with two smiley faces that you just know would have been brightly coloured balloons had they been available to translate to the page. 

Marj was among the first people I met upon moving to Cardinal over 9 years ago. It seemed like everything that was going on in Cardinal, someone was telling me to go see Marj - Cardinal in Bloom, the Children's Christmas Party, the Festival Committee (at one time), South Grenville's Prom, the ECBA - for a long time at least one of our kids referred to her as the Sunflower lady! It seemed that Marj was everywhere and I was pretty sure there were a whole lot more projects that hadn't come into my radar yet. 

Visiting "General Dollar and Party Sense" as it was called back then, was always a treat - it put me in mind of days gone by where storekeepers remembered everybody's name, greeted everyone big or small with enthusiasm, and always seemed to help you find what you were looking for -- even if you weren't sure what it was you wanted in the first place. A rare quality in today's hustle and bustle, texting-twitters and hurry-it-up move-it-along-please mentality.  

Marj and one of her lovely assistants - Angela
From the first balloon we'd picked up on a whim for a birthday celebration, to a baby shower celebration for our first grandson earlier this year. Marj has been there, with balloons, sage advice, and cheer, not just for our family,  but for many in our community -- so many special days and celebrations have begun with a visit from Marj. There's a certain kind of magic in transforming an empty hall into a special memory - Let there be balloons!

While our hearts are weighing heavier at the thought of losing her, our lives are all the richer for having known her. 

Marj in Full Bloom for Cardinal's Labourfest Parade in 2010
Best of luck on your future adventures Marj! You have left a lasting impression on this village ~ I know I'm not alone in hoping you come back to visit us often! Safe travels for you and your teddybear. 

Marj and Chris
Marj's last day of operation at the store is set for Friday, November 7th. 
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