Here it is… my first guest blogger (my husband!)
It was when my one year old son started waking early that I decided to start a new father/son tradition… the weekend Tim’s adventure. It was a simple way to enjoy my new boy and a cup of coffee. He needed a place to run off some energy – at 7am what place was better than Tim’s?
Now, The Boy, even at one year old, was not exactly shy. Using his new-found powers of balance and step he introduced himself to the local populous. Soon he became aware of that the same characters were coming in at the same time every weekend. He would grab his milk, leave his dad and sit with his new friends… especially Al. Al would produce something for him to play with, a golf ball, some coins, or even a lottery scratch ticket. Months passed and his new crowd of friends increased, all the while dad was left sitting off on his own. Age or station made no difference, his friends ranged from retired air men, to a retired train conductor to a home care provider… but it was to Al that he would go first and stay with the longest.
After a while The Boy would bring a few cars. I can’t recall ever seeing so many older men get so excited over a toy car. They would build garages with napkins, make tissue into snow for the toy plow or make roads with coins, which they later donated to my increasingly smart son’s college fund. Even a few of Tim’s finest regularly make a donation to the cause.
It took eight months for dad to be invited to sit at a table with the new friends. Still, The Boy would work the room, bringing his sippy cup of milk and his toys as he moved from group to group.
It was the bond between The Boy and Al that grew most. Al has become a grandfather to him, buying him gifts, teaching him new tricks and even coming over for dinner, where he sat with The Boy on the floor for an hour only to have every single toy brought to him so the two of them could play. As a family we drove an hour and a half so The Boy could visit Al in the hospital after cancer surgery. Being in pain did not matter as much as sitting up and having his little boy sit on the bed and share his hospital muffin with him, which he thankfully ate (a blessing since we later learned it was one of the few things Al would eat).
To my son Tim Hortons is not just a coffee shop, it is where his family reunion takes place every weekend. This is Al and The Boy “cheersing.” It makes me smile because I know that on the next cheers Isaac hit Al’s coffee hard enough to spill it all over him.