Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Michael continues his email of yesterday, proving that if you think you've seen everything there is to experience in Canada, that there will be new challenges:
"I had another wonderful night and will spend as planned my time with Tom. This morning we talk about the various options of my journey ahead. One option is to go to St. Sault Marie and then to ride my bicycle through the USA because it is flatter and there are more populated areas. In addition, the roads are better to ride your bicycle on and it is, therefore, safer.
Another option that is proposed is to buy a car... Yes, strange as it sounds, the reason behind this is that I can travel to the main cities and once there ride my bicycle to raise awareness. The large open areas of Canada I simply skip. At the moment, I cannot generate enough attention for the cause, so this could be a serious option.
Tom takes me to an acquaintance of his who deals in and repairs cars. Francis is a likable man who shows us an old Honda that once belonged to him. The car isn't new anymore, but technically is, except for a leak in the power steering, in good working order. Tom talks on my behalf and asks what he seeks to get for the car. "How much do you offer", Francis asks me. I doubt, because I realize that when I buy the car I won't be riding my bicycle the whole way. This is a very difficult decision to make, so I notice. Francis says, "You know what, you can have the car. If you want it, just take it!" "What?..."
Tom indicates that he will take care of the necessary paperwork and the required inspection. This is unbelievable. Though he car is old, it appears to be a nice car. It is in good running and mechanical condition, has a leather interior, AC, automatic transmission, etc. – clearly, it is not a lemon. I decide to think things over and thank Francis for his great offer.
Next we go to see Tim, the youngest son of Tom and Coby. Tim is a nice guy who first has to show me his brass boat. It is a beautiful, fast boat, used in fishing tournaments around here. You race to the best places and when you do not catch anything, you race to other ones. Racing with a boat is therefore part of the fishing competition. It is very popular and very spectacular.
I can use the internet here and, after asking permission, skype with my family at home. I also sent pictures for the website. All in all, one hour. When I stand up, I suddenly see mud all over the floor. I forgot to pull off my shoes when I entered the house. Bummer... I feel so ashamed of myself. Tim doesn't seem to care and forbids me cleaning it up.
Time flies and we go home, so I thought. Tom takes me to a cemetery to see the grave of Ed, his oldest son. I am impressed because I can feel a bond with him and see how the loss of Ed has touched everyone in the family. Ed's grave is in a nice area at the end of a small cemetery on top of a hill. Tom recounts that Ed, whose grave has a view on the house, always liked the house very much. I appreciate it very much that Tom wants to share this with me. Very special, but obviously I rather wished for a different outcome for them.
During the evening I get a phone call from Tim's wife. "I just got home from the manicure... I needed three hours to clean the floor..." For a moment I am in shock, but then I realize that Tim got his wife to scare the wits out to me. Hmmm, he will get it tomorrow, I say to myself...
Before I knew it, the evening was gone. I haven't figured out what to do – car or no car? It's a special opportunity and it also saves me money. However, I wish to ride my bicycle... Time for a good night's rest to mull things over!"
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Albert Dijkstra