Day 14: Friday, Sept. 16: So this guy comes striding at me across the floor of a Tim Hortons, fixing me with his eyes and moving with such purpose I think he’s either going to shake my hand or punch me in the face.
Fortunately he shakes hands, vigorously, saying, “Welcome to Ontario. Where you from?” Ah, he’s noticed the Virginia plates on our motorcycles.
Linda and I had stopped for lunch in Harriston, Ontario, on our way to Niagara Falls after leaving Kincardine and Boiler Beach that morning. As usual, we grabbed a table with a good view of the parking lot.
The gentleman and his wife had come in on a yellow Honda Gold Wing, parked a few spaces away from Terra Nova and Linda’s Vespa. Linda’s at the counter for more tea.
He’s a bit older than I am, in jeans and a blue T-shirt, and I give him a brief mission recap. He’s impressed with the distance we’ve traveled.
“Listen, I have to go,” he says, “but I’m going to put a couple of souvenirs on your bike, okay?”
“Thank you, that’s very kind of you,” I say, envisioning some religious tracts folded carefully under the Yamaha’s windscreen. Even so, that’ll be fine with me. We shake hands again and he wishes us safe travel.
He turns to go and I see BLUE KNIGHTS across the back of his T-shirt. So he’s a Canadian police officer, most likely retired.
Linda and I finish eating and walk out to the bikes. I start looking for a piece of paper but instead see something rolled and wedged in the handle of Terra Nova’s tankbag.
“Hey, look at this,” I say to Linda. It’s two shoulder patches from the OPP, the Ontario Provincial Police. One for each of us.
I put them in a plastic bag and into an inside pocket of the tankbag and carry them home.
Weeks later, I’m still not sure what to do with them but I think I’ll have them framed so I can hang them on a wall at home. They’re more than souvenirs — they’re echoes of a brief conversation and a good memory from the road.