The name “Ottawa” is derived from an Algonquian homonym meaning
“gather for trade”. Gather, we did, and our trading was of stories, photos and best wishes. Four
days of revelry.
Through the exceptional efforts of Krista and many others, we gather first in Brittania Park for a
meet and greet. We meet so many people, some who have come to see us (good to see Maria
and so many friends of Jim and Krista), and others who happen upon us from the neighbouring
trail system. I am encouraged by the honesty and instant intimacy of so many people I talk to,
including one young woman who, like I was early on, is currently hiding her PD from the world. I
give my perspective, my encouragement and contact info, and hope she connects.
We have a truly wonderful street party on the lawn of Jim’s neighbour [not to be confused with
Jim Nabors (tv’s Gomer Pyle) who is deceased and, if he has a lawn, it would be unsuitable for
parties]. 40-45 neighbours attend, and two things become apparent: they love Jim and Krista,
and this social clan is ready to have a party at any opportunity. This was a good one. Again, I
come away from this impacted by a very powerful conversation about health and life and
attitude add happiness. And the very next day I get to see these on display at Boxing4Life,
where we witness determined people with and without PD beating the snot out of defenceless
punching bags and rubber mannequins. We see a mix of persistence, encouragement, fortitude,
and shameless brutality – just the sort of people that we like.
Speaking about people we like, we connect with friends (including Greg, Nikki and Heather, who
I learned to adore on a ride in Toronto last year, and haven’t seen since), to take in the beauty
and accessibility of Gatineau Park. Jim and I rode this route once before last year, and it is
gratifying to see how 2 months of cycling has a profound impact in our abilities, as this route –
once daunting – is now manageable.
Similar to how friends met us at City limits and escorted us into Ottawa, friends now escort us
out, and we venture 126 km to gather at the home of Jim’s father Jerry just outside Athens
Ontario to enjoy a fish fry. We eat like kings, including bass that Jerry caught, prepared, and
cooked. 10-15 of Jim’s intensely proud family gather tuto eat, meet and support, adding to the
warmth of a day that is already hot.
Into these busy days we mix in a little golf, drone attacks, RV prep, major bike repairs, dog
playing, video making, route planning, shirt selling, friends visiting, cafe brunching and life.
Getting back on our bikes should be relaxing, comparatively.