By Steven O. Martin
July 30, 2014
Sometimes it seems as if Jonesville is the nexus of the universe.
In my job at the Welcome Center located there, I have greeted visitors from many different states and quite a few countries, from Maine to Florida to California, from England to Norway to South Africa to New Zealand.
The travelers who interest me the most, however, are the Canadians. Canadians are, it seems to me, some of the nicest people in the world, and they seem happy about everything. The only thing I have found that Canadians don’t much care for are some of their fellow citizens from the province of Quebec, but the Québécois I have encountered, with their beautiful French-infused English, have all been affable and gregarious.
A few weeks ago there was a middle-aged couple from Ontario, the most populous province of Canada, who stopped by the Welcome Center to get directions to Florida. How someone goes on a long trip without a map or GPS or something other than the notion of just heading generally south — although, from Canada, everything is “south” — baffles me, but nevertheless, there we all were. Not two minutes after I had advised that couple of the best route, in walks yet another couple from Ontario. The second couple had been in Florida, and unfortunately they were having brake problems with their RV. A quick phone call to Parrish Tire just down the street provided them with much appreciated nearby assistance. The two couples had to have crossed paths in the parking lot, but Canada is a pretty big country — larger than the U.S. — so I really doubt that they knew each other.
So here in Jonesville we had Canadians from the same province, one couple going to Florida while the other couple was returning from Florida. What that tells me is that there are a whole lot of travelers from the Great White North passing through here.
While I am sure that some spend the night — we are, after all, about halfway between the far north and the far south, so it makes sense that some avail themselves of our many first-class lodging facilities — most, I suspect, are gone by daylight and never realize all the things we have to offer in this area besides a soft pillow and continental breakfast.
How do we get them to stay and sample us?
Well, there are subtle ways and there are hit-’em-in-the-head ways. Let’s go with the latter.
What we need at exit #82 on I-77 is a Tim Hortons.
What is Tim Hortons?
Let’s say, for example, you’re tooling along through the wilds of New Mexico. You’re tired, you’re thirsty, you’re a bit homesick…
All of a sudden, there’s a signpost up ahead.
No, you haven’t crossed over into the Twilight Zone.
It’s a HOT NOW Krispy Kreme Doughnuts sign. You know you have to stop. You know you will linger for a good long while. You know you’re going to feel right at home. You might even look around and see what else New Mexico has to offer.
Tim Hortons is a donut and coffee shop that was born and raised in Canada, and of their roughly 4,300 restaurants, over 3,400 are located in their homeland. In Canada, there are more Tim Hortons than there are McDonalds. All the Canadians I have talked to know Tim Hortons. You might say that the Tim Hortons shops are part of their national identity, a Canadian cultural icon.
Imagine all those Canadian cars’ brake lights coming on the minute they see a Tim Hortons sign. A taste of home, a place to relax. Wow, they must be saying, this must be a really neat place. Let’s stop and see what else they have.
Simple, huh? Well, maybe so, but there are other things we can do to entice the Canadians to stay a spell. Y’all are familiar with the line “Y’all spoken here” aren’t you? In Canada, they don’t say “y’all,” even in southern Canada.
But they do say “eh” a lot, possibly more than we say “y’all.” How “eh” is defined exactly I can’t say, but they all know what it means, so it doesn’t matter. A billboard with “Eh Spoken Here” would attract Canadians by the millions.
So how do we afford to do all this? Oh my, what an easy answer. What we do is set up collection points around the area and ask everybody to donate their pennies. Not just any pennies, mind you.
Canadian pennies. How many Canadian pennies turn up in our change? Bunches. And what do we do with them? Why, pass them on to the next person and hope they don’t notice. This donation scheme solves a problem and at the same time presents us with a great opportunity: it relieves us of the moral obligation to not pass on illegal tender, and eventually, in a few years, we can build a community-owned Tim Hortons and erect a really cool billboard and make tons of dollars (Canadian or U.S dollars, let’s not be too picky).
One tiny problem, though. A couple of years ago the Canadian government decided that pennies were costing too much to mint, so they are no longer producing them. In other words, if we want to put our two (Canadian) cents in, we are going to have to act quickly.
Is it doughnut or donut? Krispy Kreme uses the “doughnut” spelling; Tim Hortons and Dunkin’ spell it “donut”. Actually, either is correct, but internationally “donut” is considered the American spelling of “doughnut”. At least one source attributes the simpler donut spelling to a company marketing a doughnut making machine — “donut” was considered easier for prospective foreign customers to pronounce. Around the world, of course, doughnuts are known by many
different names. In Scotland, for example, doughnuts can also be called “doughnoughts,” referring to the “zero”, or “nought,” shape.
For all you English teachers out there, why is it not “Tim Horton’s,” with the possessive apostrophe? This is Canada remember, with the French-speaking province of Quebec, where there are language sign laws. In order to be in compliance with the law, and to have uniform signs throughout the country, the apostrophe was removed.
Just who was Tim Horton? Horton played hockey in the National Hockey League from 1949 until his tragic death in a car crash in 1974. He opened his first store in 1964.
Are you a fan of donut holes? Then you will love Tim Hortons, which boasts over 35 varieties, called Timbits. By comparison, Krispy Kreme has only four. So if you want to fill up on holes, go see Tim. (The nearest U.S. location is in West Virginia, by the way)
Steve O. Martin is a Surry County resident.