Monday 6 February 2017

Time Heals

That first right-of-passage, a mammoth trip between high school and university, was something four of us planned. Two dropped out early, opting university was important immediately, while two of us decided it could wait. What’s one more year in the lifetime of a 19 or 20-year-old? About six weeks into the trip, the little tiffs and arguments had escalated to the point of no return and a final blowout prompted Murray to head to Vancouver by plane and I made the long trip home in a car with virtually no brakes.

      The 1965 Rambler American, the Red Rocket, lasted a few years after my return, providing me transportation to university. I worked in the electrical industry so had customers able to supply me with needed parts – parts like steel plates welded in where the rear shocks came up through the floor of the trunk. The brakes never did work properly they were beyond all knowledge and technology available to man. The Red Rocket took its rightful place in the wrecker’s yard.

      The old adage “Time Heals All Wounds” does not specify how much time. In our case it took 7 years, but we were young with pretty well our whole lives ahead of us so time was on our side. We have remained lifelong friends ever since.

      Fate brought us together – in cars of all things. I was working near Steeles and Jane and living in North York. Murray was living in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood. I suppose we were both on our way home in the evening rush. Fortunately that rush (hour) was not even close to what it is today or this could never have happened. The traffic light at Jane and Steeles turned red and I was first in line. I casually looked to my right and saw a face that I recognized in the car that stopped beside me. It was Murray. He looked at me with the same recognition. Both our faces lit up and we shouted and motioned to cross through the intersection and stop on the other side. It truly was crossing from one era to another.

      There was no animosity, no anger, no bad vibrations at all, only good. It was difficult conducting a conversation with traffic whizzing by but we managed to make plans to meet as soon as possible. Although it took close to another year to really gel, our relationship had been resurrected and that became a moment that will forever occupy a spot as one of the best moments in my life.

      Murray and I have both seemed to benefit from the experiences of our trip and have conducted ourselves through life with some degree of decorum and grace. Neither one of us are rich or famous but we have never run afoul of the law or been in any serious trouble and we are both relatively healthy and things have turned out pretty well – so I suppose we are both rich indeed.

      Our road trip was the beginning for me; the beginning of a lifetime of travel to remarkable destinations. It provided me with the realization that travel would become my Holy Grail, my ultimate quest in a never ending pursuit of happiness and the best life that I could afford. Mark Twain said it best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness…” That alone is a valuable reward.