She said her name is Easter, like the Easter Bunny.
Like every good Canadian, I pulled into the Tim Horton’s drive thru on a Wednesday morning for my coffee. There in the middle of the drive thru lane, stood an elderly lady hunched over, looking up and down the road carrying what looked like a heavy bag with bus tags on it. I waited for a bit seeing if she would carry on, unable to drive around her while there was a line up forming behind me. She would shuffle a couple of slow paces then stop and look around then shuffle a few more, still blocking the way. I jumped out, Ma’am are you okay? Is there anything I can help you with? I asked. Well I’m heading to the bus station, she said but I don’t know which way to go. I pointed her in the right direction, helped her over the curb and on her way, she went.
I got my coffee filled with worry that I’d sent her the wrong way remembering that just the day before I had seen a for sale sign on the abandoned bus station that I park beside everyday on my way to yoga.
I pulled over and called the bus station to confirm their location- quite a walk for an older lady who had trouble getting up over the curb, walking at a snail’s pace. I caught up with her asking if I could give her a drive having convinced myself that she wouldn’t attack me or steal my vehicle or wallet (yes, the thought occurred to me).
She accepted my invitation, thanking me with every word possible. She sat beside me with her salt and pepper hair with blunt bangs and her velvet blazer, beaded bracelets and black New Balance sneakers. I’m travelling to Vancouver she said, I’ve been travelling since June making my way to Newfoundland and travelling the East Coast and now I’m heading home. I’ve been travelling alone, I prefer it that way, I can come and go as I please. I’ve gone the whole way on the ground by bus and train. You know, this is a beautiful country filled with trees and mountains and water. The world will always need water. But the most beautiful part of this country is the people, people like you. I always feel secure travelling in Canada, she said. I mean I don’t go down Skid Row, I know those places exist but that’s not what I’m studying.
I listened to her in amazement, wondering what she was studying. She’s gone across the country, stopping where she pleased, talking with whom she chose and carrying on when the feeling struck. Like the Littlest Hobo. Except she isn’t a German Shepard. She’s an old lady, without any defenses except for her faith in people and open heart.
As she slowly stepped out of my truck to sit on the bench at the bus station, I said, Well I wish you great luck on your next adventures and she pumped her fist in the air knowing her travels would continue to be awesome.
I asked, What’s your name? She said her name is Easter, like the Easter Bunny. They started calling me Easter 50 years ago, because I’m always so happy, I guess the name stuck.
Thank you, she said, maybe you’ll get an extra chocolate next year.