Our kids were young. We had not had a holiday in several years
trying to save our pennies. And here we were on our holiday to
Gimli, Manitoba. We booked a nice cottage near Lake Winnipeg.
But a memorable moment during this vacation was at a small
truck stop along the way. We all needed to get out of the car
and stretch our legs. The greasy spoon styled truck stop would
be quite alright. The kids wanted burgers and we settled for some coffee. However the booths were all full and the only place left was the area of bar stools at the front. They were
pretty much unoccupied considering a young man with jeans
and a black leather jacket sat there alone -slouched over his
coffee. I ended up next to this biker with the Hells Angel crest
and my wife next to me and the kids next to her.
I watched the biker slowly put one finger and then the next
into his coffee. The rest of the folks in the restaurant were
too busy to notice, caught up in news and politics and road reports.
As I always have enjoyed a conversation I quietly asked the
biker if he was going to drink the coffee. The biker turned to me and with a grin - said that his hands were numb from hours on his Harley and he simply needed to warm up. When he spoke it
almost seemed as though all the conversation around us had
stopped. He talked about his bike and his family down east.
He actually seemed pleased that someone, anyone would want
to have a conversation. My wife and daughters watched us enjoy this conversation.
As we got into our car and headed one direction, the biker got onto his Harley, gave us a wave and headed down the highway.
It gave me pause to think that just maybe we judge quickly
and need to adjust our thinking - insofar as everyone but everyone has a place and purpose on this planet, and that our brothers all deserve a moment of kindness and dignity lest we
start living in walled castles of our minds.
As it turned out,our holiday was spectacular. Lake Winnipeg is
a big and beautiful place and Gimli has a quality all of its own,
with the feeling that not only the statues of the Vikings but that
their very spirit...still lives here.