Have You Been Left to Hang Out on the Fringe?

Have You Been Left to Hang Out on the Fringe?

Susanna Leonard Hill switched to Disqus, a global comment system that was supposed to improve discussion on her blog.

Ha! The system gave me the boot, leaving me to hang out on the fringe in the blogo-sphere. I begged Susanna to let me back in. Then by some miracle, her system opened a portal, and I was allowed back into the fold.

How could a computer program leave such a bitter taste on my tongue? But it did. Now, for some bizarre reason I’m back hanging out on the fringe.

Can you even begin to imagine how the dispossessed men and women in our society feel? The faceless men and women cast aside like stray dogs. The men and women who suffer from mental illness, addicted to drugs and alcohol, the ones subjected to sexual abuse. The illiterate who can’t hold down a job. The reasons vary, but the sad truth is these men and women are the ignored.

Then last Thursday, hubby and I had the privilege of meeting some of those faceless men and women.

You see, we’d been invited to the launch party of The Warehouse Mission Band’s second CD —Backstreet Showdown.

Backstreet Showdown

So on a dreary and rainy night, hubby and I climbed three flights of stairs to get out of the rain, and we stumbled into a backstreet showdown in the heart of Cabbagetown.

I craned my neck and peered into the jam-packed hall. Balloons adorned caramel-colored brick walls. Faux, stained-glass sheets slapped windows. Not what I’d expected.

Bright lights shone down on beaming faces. Faces filled with renewed hope and purpose, and all thanks to Captain’s Ron and Linda Farr who run The Warehouse Mission.

Captain Ron Farr

Captain Linda Farr

Those men and women, brought into the fold, scurried about serving platters of delectable finger foods while a stringed trio stroked violins off in a corner.

A Talented Trio

Captain Ron, garbed in blue jeans and an indigo-colored shirt bearing the Salvation Army’s crest, was a jumble of nerves. Mid-way through reading an introduction for the Encore String Trio, he asked the principal violinist, Bill Wong, “What does PTO stand for?”

Bill cleared his throat. “It means please turn over the page.

Captain Ron Farr – The show had begun

An Eager Crowd

Then the crowd settled in, eagerly waiting for “Souls of Steel,” a steel band recently showcased on City TV’s Breakfast Television, to perform.

Souls of Steel

Andre – The Artistic Director

Andre, the artistic director, hammered steel drums, and led his merry band in renditions of “Rainforest,” “Little Sunflower,” and “Clocks” by Coldplay, rounding out the set with foot stomping calypso music.

A Serious Performer

Happy Gals Dancing Up A Storm

The cake-cutting ceremony came next.

A Beautiful Cake

My heart crumbled when Bev sliced the cake she lovingly prepared.

Cake-cutting Ceremony

While folks munched on moist, chocolate cake, Captain Ron, Greg Huber, and Krys Val strummed guitars and belted out —“Come in Outta the Rain,” “Hey Elevator!” “Salvation Riders,” and “Out on Main Street”—just four of fourteen tunes from their awesome CD —Backstreet Showdown.

The Warehouse Mission Band

After the performance, I scrambled to the back of the room, purchased the CD, and then hounded them for autographs. Then I chased “Slow Down” Howard Lackey, head of the road crew, who moves at the speed of lightning. Although he signed the CD, I wasn’t able to snap a photo. Next time, Howard. 🙂

The highlight of the evening for me came later when I had an opportunity to meet a few members of The Warehouse Mission Community. With open arms, they welcomed me into the fold. I cocked an ear and choked back tears, attentive to tragic stories.

But I’m pleased to report these lives are changed. Yes, they still live on the fringe, eking out an existence, but they’re now contributing members of Cabbagetown. They are the faces, shining brightly, on a hill up on the third floor of The Warehouse Mission.

A Cheerful Cowboy

A Hug Break

“A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matt. 5:14a


For a nominal fee, you can download a copy of The Warehouse Mission Band’s CD —Backstreet Showdown.

All proceeds help support the Literacy Program, and the Life Skills and Seniors Programs.

26 Responses

  1. Thank you Tracy for lending your voice to spread the Mission ….Blessing lives on both sides….such a wonderful gift. Well said !!!

  2. I really like the pictures you added to go along with this. That cake is beautiful. I can’t even imagine the time it took to create the roses alone.

  3. This was a wonderful post. The pictures made me want to join in the celebration, applauding all the efforts for the Warehouse Mission. You showed the connection, the working together to build and accomplish something good.

    • I was excited to hear you support such a wonderful organization. The men and women behind the scenes work tirelessly to help those in need. Thanks, Judy! 🙂

  4. What a fantastic post… all for an important cause… I enjoyed the festivities from my armchair and smiled at how we can bring joy to each other when we try. TY Tracy! 😉

    • Hi Susanna,
      Yes, it was a wonderful celebration! And I was especially excited to see the men and women in Cabbagetown making something of their lives, and all because two amazing people, Ron and Linda Farr, sacrificed well-paid jobs to serve these wonderful people. No worries about your comment system, we seem to be managing just fine. You have to admit, it was a great lead into my blog post. Good thing you have broad shoulders. 🙂

    • Hi Stacy,
      Ah, I’ve succeeded. I made you laugh and cry. Perfect. I think poor Susanna was crying at the beginning. I know how frustrated she is with her “new” commenting system. Take care, Tracy. 🙂

  5. And your blog won’t let me comment either. 🙁 I had to go in with Firefox browser, just like when I comment on Susanna’s…there must be pixies or goblins at work. 🙂
    Great post, Tracy…thank you for sharing about this ministry…there are so many special people in the world who give so much to help others.

    • Oh my, that’s what I get for teasing Susanna about her commenting system. Vivian, thanks for persisting and leaving such a wonderful comment. 🙂

  6. Hi Tracy…Just getting caught up on some reading since returning home…Beautiful article and reminds us that life in all forms is precious…Thank You for that…Your cards are wonderful too…Congratulations on seeing your work materialize…We had a wonderful holiday and it’s also good to come home…

    • Welcome home, Karen! I’m glad you’re back.
      I’ve missed your awesome comments.
      Drop me a line when you have time. 🙂