Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Tim Hortons


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If you’re looking to have breakfast in Wiarton on a Sunday morning around 9:00 AM…forget it. Nothing is open. The streets are empty. Wiarton Willie’s hometown is still asleep. So we made our way to the Timmy’s on main street for a Breakfast Sandwich.

The parking lot was full with cars, trucks, motorcycles and camper-trailers. The drive-thru line-up was bumper to bumper all the way to the street. In one corner of the parking lot, a group of seniors sat in a circle, lawn chairs beside their RVs, enjoying an outdoor brunch.

Obviously we weren’t the only ones needing our morning coffee. That was confirmed when we couldn’t get to the door – people were lined up outside waiting to get in…a usual occurrence with small-town Timmys’ that occupy prime highway real estate. When you’re the only game in town – what else can a traveler expect? Who’s complaining, though?

But, it wasn’t the lineup that surprised…more the people in it.

One in particular, a young guy, tall, lean with a shaved head drew our immediate attention. He was bare foot, naked from the waist up and from the waist down he was constantly pulling up his belt-less, too big for his thin, wasted body, jeans. His Joe Boxer underwear was in full view. You could say he was doing his best Marky Mark impersonation, but he just didn’t have the build to go with it. A cigarette dangled from his lips. And he sneered as he took great pleasure in all the stares he was getting. He was tattooed front and back with large faux Hell’s Angels eagles, skulls, daggers and whatnot. He was cocky bordering on belligerent until an OPP officer walked in. The cop just wanted coffee but he saw that he needed to straighten this young man out.

A conversation ensued; actually it was a mild confrontation, or a quiet lesson in decorum and the finer points of fashion.

Those in line began to smile. The boy left. At first he paced up and down outside looking in the window at his girlfriend. Then pulling up his pants one more time he went and sat in his car.

The officer looked straight ahead. There was just the slightest hint of a smile on his face.

Sunday morning entertainment at Timmy’s – no cover – no minimum.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

July 24, 2011 at 5:21 PM


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I was told, by those that know, that one of the most spectacular advents of spring is the Tundra Swan migration. For some of these great birds, this annual passage brings them, for a few short days, to Grand Bend Ontario to feed, rest and build up enough strength, for the next leg of their journey.

Last year N. made the trip south, returning with many pictures and much enthusiasm about what she saw. And so it was that I joined her and her Bruce Birding Club friends as they made their ritual journey down Highway 21 to the soggy farm fields where Tundra Swans were resting before relentlessly flying northward, as their brains are hard-wired to do.

It was a bright, blue, crisp, clear, sunny March morning when we headed out in an eight-car convoy. Flat farms fields still held ground frost. The warmth of the rising sun soon took care of that. The walkie-talkie crackled with the chatter of drive-by bird sightings. Although no sooner were we informed of the, “Red-Tailed Hawk sitting on the hydro pole on the right,” than we were past it and rubber necking to get a view before we sped out of sight. This continued all the way down. Birders are an ever-vigilant breed. They never stop looking even when they’re driving.

After a couple of refueling and relieving Tim Horton pit stops we arrived at our first destination. We parked along the shoulder of a secondary road in front of Grand Bend’s sewage lagoons. The Birders called them cells. Birdsong greeted us as we stepped out of our cars.

Overhead a “V” of Tundra Swans, white against the brilliant blue sky, flew past. Their ‘honking’ was nothing like that of geese. It was softer, more musical–at least to me.

“What are we looking for here,” said someone behind me. “Anything with wings,” replied one of the veteran birders with a chuckle. We climbed over the chain-locked gate and headed in. On the wet and muddy trail the colourful underbelly of a dead turtle distracted me for a moment. It didn’t have wings so I moved on.

Eventually after sightings of different ducks, song sparrows, killdeer and others that I can’t remember, we left the odorous ponds in search of swans.

Obviously these birds are creatures of habit because they were right where they were supposed to be…basking in the waterlogged farm fields on either side of the highway.

There were thousands of them…some taking off in small groups while others arrived…a sea of white sitting on the mud…strutting on the mud…all of them jostling to secure a little space for themselves, while they constantly chatted with each other, raising their voices, flooding the surrounding area with a cacophony that eventually sounded quite pleasant. The sight of it all was really worth the trip.

But how long can you stand at the side of the road looking at swans? Eager for a closer view, our line of vehicles took a back road to get behind the fields. To say we got lost may not be entirely correct. But, we ended up on a dirt track beside a canal. It was wide enough for a single line of vehicles. And it was a dead end.

Imagine eight cars in a row with no room to turn around. We managed nonetheless. And we laughed about it.

It is true that birds have an innate sense of direction…I can’t always say the same for Birders.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

March 18, 2010 at 9:30 PM


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“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer…”

Ah yes, Richard, Duke of Glouster pontificating on how good things are…or can be…or at least appear to be. And in our realm of reality, as we look forward to summer…what is it that we have to wax poetic about?

Folks up here have just about had it with winter. I’ve heard many long time residents complain that it has gone on long enough. Those that take a break down south and return are dismayed to see nothing has changed. Winter hasn’t gone anywhere.

It is cold now. Some grass is showing. Ice is back in the river. And even though spring is just around the corner, the word is – enough!

What else? Well! Tim Hortons (after much controversy) is here and thriving. Walmart (after much controversy) arrived this winter. Is it hurting local business? One look down Port Elgin’s main street will have you wondering where all the cars are…they’re in Walmart’s gigantic parking lot. Are main street merchants suffering? Some say yes. Some say I told you so.

Still, Council forges on allowing monster Drug Store chains (with much controversy) to keep building bigger. How many drug stores does a population of approximately 12,000 people really need?

The Port Elgin library opens its doors with bright, new bigger space…and debt. Fund raising is tough these days.

There’s one hell of a debate at Council, in the newspapers, on-line, in editorials, and letters to the editor about the need (or not) for a new swimming pool. Everyone has an opinion and an idea of what and where it should be. Everyone, though, takes pause with the nine million plus price tag. There’s an insightful letter to the editor about it at Read it if you live in Saugeen Shores and be amazed at what is going on and what we seem to have gotten ourselves into.

There’s not much one can do about any of this…except tough it out. Things always look better in the warm sunshine.