Residents agree: Cochrane is a town where angels dwell

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 13, 2010

I’m writing this week’s column on Thanksgiving Day, and you, my coffee companions, are major reasons why I’m thankful, especially in view of the many beautiful responses I received to last week’s column on why I love Cochrane.

I’ll share a few of those responses with you in just a moment, but first some unfinished business. Last week I praised our town’s mural mosaic, “Trust,” which hangs in the Cochrane RancheHouse, our town hall. I failed to mention, however, that it can also be viewed online at

Now back to why you love Cochrane. The first e-mail is from a northwest Calgary song writer and professional Santa Claus who has become a familiar white-bearded face around town:

WHAT A GREAT IDEA for a column. I love all those special things, too. As a three-to-four-times-a-week visitor, Cochrane has become so much more than a trip to MacKay’s Ice Cream.

First, on the drive out from Calgary I’m rewarded with the panorama of snowcapped Rocky Mountains. It’s like God says, “Here comes Leo; let’s put on a show for him.”

I smile as I remember my first real introduction seven years ago by Victoria, a teacher at Cochrane’s Holy Spirit School. She said, “Leo, you would make a great mentor and there is someone I’d like you to meet. You will love Patti and the town of Cochrane.” She was right. I became a mentor and a fan of Cochrane.

Cochrane is a great place to go for music and songwriter’s jam sessions, too. I like to come out with my wife to dance on the weekends that Sandra Sutter and her band, Quicksilver, are playing at the Stagecoach Saloon. She has a fan base that draws people to your town.

Cochrane is such a quiet change from the crazy pace of Calgary. It is filled with wonderful people and colourful characters that you write about every week in your column.

I could go on with more, but I have to get ready to visit Cochrane once again. Keep up the great columns.

—Leo Peters, Calgary

A COCHRANE-area counsellor sent the following note:

TODAY WAS a perfect example of why I love Cochrane. As a single mom in this town, I get to actually experience a village joyfully helping to raise my six-year-old daughter, Belle.

Today was her Thanksgiving Liturgy at school. I found myself with car trouble over at Extra Foods, only minutes before my little one's special event. I got to the school just in time. Know why?

The manager at Extra Foods noticed me whisking in there, and asked me if he could help me in any way. I paused. “I need to get to my little one's school,” I said, “and my car is in your lot and not running.”

He called over a lovely woman, Linda, who did not hesitate when he asked her to take me to the school. She wished me a Happy Thanksgiving, and I was so grateful, I got out of the car and couldn’t even speak.

This town is about family. Our identity as a farming community, one that will come together and "rebuild the barn" for you if ever the need is there, is flavored with a plethora of culture, talent, old school chivalry and music.

Did I say I love Cochrane? My family and I love it so much that we designed the “I Love” website for our community to speak to each other about current music, arts, business services, information, and anything else relating to our town. (Note: is scheduled to come on line early November.)

—Lisa C. Chapman, Cochrane

I’LL GIVE THE FINAL word to a longtime Cochrane coffee companion who loves people, pets and poetry:

DID I EVER ENJOY this particular one about why we love Cochrane. The reasons you give are my reasons, too, plus one other. When I arrived in Cochrane 15 years ago as a total stranger, a failed marriage behind me and two children, a dog and a cat in tow, I had the great pleasure of dealing with an angel. She worked at the Royal Bank and her name was Terry. Although I have not seen or even heard from her since, I will never forget her. Amidst my uncertainty and challenges, Terry helped me rebuild my life simply by firmly expressing her belief in me and my abilities. Cochrane, Alberta – where angels dwell.

—Marlis McDouall, Cochrane

THANKS, ALL OF YOU who wrote to say why you love Cochrane. I absolutely agree: at heart, it’s all about people. This is indeed a place where angels dwell.

© 2010 Warren Harbeck

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