May 20 • 12:11 PM

A frontier is a time, a way of life

February 15, 2017
"A frontier is never a place; it is a time and a way of life." --Hal Borland

That's one of several quotes that are pinned to the spongy wall-board-type-thing that sits above my desk. It's first in the lineup, and I have to say it's among my favorite reminders about the facts of life. An instant attitude adjustment every time I glance up at the board.

I'm one of the fortunate ones. I grew up in a home where new frontiers were explored on a daily basis. Whether it was a family picnic night in front of the fireplace where my dad fashioned a pull-out grill grate for some sizzling ham steaks, or the sizzling sounds of Latin guitar or island drums reverberated through the speaker system he wired in every single room of the house.

Dad's frontier was always changing, and we were gifted with the great experience of being along for the ride.

One ride I'll always remember in particular. It was the year of his 74th birthday—the 70th for my mom.

Rod and I decided it would be a great year for a motorcyle trip up into the Bruce Peninsula. We'd already been to Tobermorey by car, and found the drive easy, comfortable and familiar. Zip along I-69 and across the Blue Water Bridge, and the rest of the route is a series of two lane country roads, much like the ones I travel to work every day. Speed limits 50 or more, light traffic with plenty of passing opportunities should it be necessary.

I had my beloved Harley Davidson Sportster then. Rod his trusty vintage Honda. We chose the 4th of July weekend. We both had a little extra time off of work, and since Canada doesn't celebrate the U.S. Independence Day, we knew there wouldn't be big crowds to deal with.

We made reservations at a little hotel right on the Georgian Bay, and were ready to roll when the date drew near.

I mentioned the great adventure to my folks, thinking maybe they'd try to talk me out of such a long motorcycle trip out of fear and worry for my safety.

Instead, in true Minolli fashion, they asked if they could join us.

My dad had his 1992 Road King—a super luxury deluxe Harley that he bought as a retirement present to himself some ten years earlier. My mom was quite comfortable on the back, so it wasn't uncommon to see them out and about on the bike on weekends.

Never would I have dreamed that I'd be taking an over-the-border, day long motorcycle ride up into the Bruce Peninsula with my 70-something-year-old parents; though I shouldn't have been surprised. I was delighted at the prospect.

We left early in the morning from the humble Cochrane Road abode. It was chilly for a 4th of July weekend—full leather gear and gloves were required. Rod and I bungeed our bags to the backs of our bikes—the folks traveled light with everything they needed in my dad's saddle bags.

We headed out on I-69, crossed the mighty Blue Water Bridge and stopped on the other side. We were exhilarated.

After an amazing, relaxing weekend in Tobermorey, we packed up and hit the road back to Berlin Twp. Once home safely, we did what we often did during such times: opened a bottle of champagne and toasted to yet another grand adventure. I didn't know then that my dad would have less than a decade left in this life. No matter...he grabbed every single minute of what he was given before passing away on February 21, 2011.

He always demonstrated that "a frontier is never a place; it is a time and a way of life," and for that I am so very grateful.

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Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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