Day 32 – 39.3 km (total – 628.2 km)
Our family moved around a lot growing up – the nature of my parent’s work. One of the more difficult moves was from Winnipeg to Toronto. I was going into grade 10 but had missed that first year of high school, which in Ontario starts in grade 9. That summer was a tough go on my social life. Another family who worked for the same organization as my parents lived 5 houses down the street and had a son my age as well. Our mothers conspired, as I needed some friends and Dave needed some new friends – the crowd he was hanging out with wasn’t a positive influence! So one July afternoon, there was a knock on the door and my mother called me up from the basement. By all accounts, we’d both be considered the same – two boys in their teens looking for direction. But we couldn’t have been more different, so I thought. He had cut off jean shorts and purple doc martens… ohh, and the most atrocious Vanilla Ice hair I had ever seen. Who was this skateboarding punk at my front door? Our mothers introduced us and we were obligated to utter a “hello”, but they carried the conversation from there. It was awkward and embarrassing.
My mother was relentless, telling me I should call Dave and do something with him. I could only ward her off for so long – nagging mothers seem to get their way more often than not (love ya mom)! Anyway, on a sunny July afternoon, I called Dave and asked him if he wanted to go for a bike ride. He agreed, so I rode over and we headed down into Sunnybrook Park. As we started riding, I asked quietly, “So do you like sports?” His answer was short, simple and to the point… “Nope, not really”. For the next 45 minutes, we rode in silence. Not another word was uttered… the only sound exchanged was the changing of gears on our bikes. We didn’t talk the rest of the summer.
That was the start of a friendship that has spanned the last 20 years. Not just a friendship – a bona fide best friend. One that has included canoe trips, great hikes, building quinzhees and yes, more bike rides. I don’t know who I’d be if it weren’t for my friendship with Dave. It’s amazing what can come from a simple bike ride in the park!