All I noticed were the skinny legs with a long Mexican poncho to the knees and a John Kennedy hairdo walking towards our beach towel on English Bay. I looked at my sister and grimaced “you can have this one”. We were in Vancouver, on a forced summer holiday to settle my father’s estate.
Blatantly, the young man asked if we would look after his camera while he went in for a swim, and proceeded to place it on the towel. Then, without waiting for a reply, he waded in the water and started to show off his diving and swimming skills. Returning after the performance he introduced himself as “Tim” a high school teacher from Toronto and inquired where we were staying. Against my better judgement, my sister pointed to the street across the road where we rented a room at a humble B&B.
Early the next morning the front door rang and to my surprise I found Tim at the door, asking if he could come in for a cup of coffee. Annoyed I looked at my sister — did you “have” to give him our address?”
I was designated to the kitchen to make coffee and Tim followed — “to keep me company” he said. While watching me, he nonchalantly asked if I could cook. I was a bit taken aback – was this guy for real?
“How is this question relevant?” I told him that I was familiar with a kitchen, seeing that I had to walk through one every time I use the side door at my house. Then, obnoxiously, he proceeded to ask me if I liked children and would I enjoy volunteering to look after orphaned ones in Africa. Children? Orphaned in Africa? Where was this coming from? Was he losing it? Even though I was entering teachers’ college in Toronto that fall — I had never really thought about children. My main concern in life, at that point, was colouring my hair blonde and spending a half hour every morning fixing it — just right. I told him he would never see me working with “CARE”.
After talking and finishing his coffee in the living room he lit up a cigarette, nearly choking on it. I said goodbye at the door and watched him as he made a run for the chain link at the end of the driveway and tried to jump over — he became entangled and fell. I rolled my eyes, washed my hands of him and closed the door.
A week after arriving home to Sault St. Marie my mother answered the doorbell. “Do you know someone called Tim, he says he met you in Vancouver and hitchhiked all the way to the Sault.”
He asked to stay the night and next morning luckily he found a ride on a transport truck to Toronto — but the damage was done. He impressed my mother by promising to find me a rental near his place for my upcoming school term and the fact that he was already a qualified high school teacher was a plus. The additional information he provided, that the Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel in Sault Ste. Marie was named after one of his family’s descendants, the first bishop of Algoma — was icing on the cake.
Little did I know then that my fate was already sealed. His best friend in New York received a postcard from Vancouver the same week — stating — “Today I met the girl I am going to marry!” signed “Tim.”
The wedding was held at the Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel.