Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Tim Hortons Story That Won't Make the Commercials

My first Champagne Books release will be Bad Ice, a romance with a hockey theme. So I thought I'd offer you a little story about our first sojourn into the world of Hockey Tournaments.

We gathered in the blue light of pre-dawn at – you guessed it – Tim Horton's. Parents cradled mugs of coffee and consulted maps while the boys and girls gathered around a Formica table with their inevitable stash of hot chocolate and sticky doughnuts.

After everyone agreed on a route to the tournament, we ushered the kids out to the parking lot. "Everyone who has to pee, pee now. Anyone who doesn't, pee anyway."

"Who's going to follow us?" Mr. Todd was my former Grade Seven teacher, now on his second marriage. He beckoned his son toward his gigantic four-by-four with its chrome roll bars and license plate that said, "Da Bears." His taste in vehicles hadn't changed since I was the same age as his youngest son.

His boy stopped short of the open door. "Hang on a sec, Dad." He doubled over and puked on the concrete.

"Eww!" My son sidestepped the mess and climbed into our ancient Escort wagon.

"You okay?" Mr. Todd bent down and peered at his son through the dim light.

"Yeah, no problem. Let's ride!"

We rode at the tail end of the convoy – not a wise decision since we didn't have a cell phone and had no idea where we were going. We had to make sure we didn't lose sight of our guides. A thin sheen of salty, dirty water coated the roads and our wipers worked overtime.

An hour into the trip, Mark said, "Shoot!" (It was a stronger word, but I don't know if it's allowed on this blog.)


"We're out of washer fluid."

"So we stop and refill it."

"We can't. We'll lose them." Mark squinted at the windshield. "We'd better do something quick or I'll be driving by Braille."

We tried waving but no one seemed to notice. I unbuckled my seatbelt and climbed to the back seat and reached for the jug of windshield washer fluid.

Scrambling to the front, I grabbed an empty cardboard Timmy's coffee cup. "Good thing you ordered a large double-double." I poured washer fluid into the cup and rolled down the window as we came to a stop sign. Cold air blasted inside.

As I flung the liquid at the windshield, Mark flipped on the wipers. It worked! For about thirty seconds. Every time we came to a reduced speed zone or a stop sign, we fired another cupful of fluid on the windshield.

As we pulled into Lakefield Arena, the last drops of blue gold trickled from the cardboard cup, which had become rather tattered from the hard grip of my frozen fingers.

In some bizarre way, Tim Horton's saved the day.

--Sandra Cormier
Sandra's first novel The Space Between is now available in paperback.
Her second novel Bad Ice will be released by Champagne Books in July '08.


Anonymous said...

Good lord this brings back memories! I remember riding shotgun with a trucker and he had to resort to coffee for his windshield as well. Nicely described.