I was out today on a mid-afternoon grocery run (I’m still on vacation, so I can do this sort of thing) and decided I’d fortify myself with the fine products of Tim Horton’s. I can’t look through 99-cent pomegranites without proper levels of caffeine and sugar. I’ve tried and the results aren’t pretty.
A few minutes later, armed with a large Tim’s with milk and a vanilla dip doughnut, I headed for the door. There was a woman coming towards me as I approached it. Instinct said to get the door, but I was stuck in propriety’s no-man’s land – approaching a door that opened away from me with neither room nor time to hold it properly. If I try to straight-arm it, all I wind up doing is standing in the way. I needed to get through first, make the spin and open it and hope I didn’t look too awkward in the process (I failed – it was completely awkward. I needed another three feet of head start). Still, the lady said thanks and I looked up and there, underneath a Leafs cap, was the smiling face of:
Unlike the last time, when I crossed paths with Johnny in the parking lot and decided against accosting him at his car, I was standing face to face with him in a door frame. The woman I’d opened the door for was with him. Startled, I blurted out the only thing that came to mind, which was a somewhat over-loud “HI!”
Johnny smiled. I extended a hand, said “Pleased to meet you.” He took it, smiled broadly, shook it and said, “Glad to meet you, too.” Then he went off for his coffee and I went for my groceries. I debated, just like last time, the merits of asking him to sign my grocery list, but I have a couple autographs already and I’d done the thing I hadn’t done last time, which was to actually say something and shake his hand.
Graceful? No, not really. But it was extremely cool and really made my day.
And Johnny Bower continues to be the most gracious person on the planet.
This isn’t one of the Top 11 of 2011 – I think I got this card in about 1991. But the moment is definitely my #1 hockey moment of the year.