Saturday, May 19, 2012

Past Deadline: And Then this Knight Rode By...

I was sitting in my in-laws’ living room on Mother’s Day. The kids had wandered into the back yard and Groom-boy was telling us a story I had already heard, so my mind and gaze were wandering.

They have a big front window facing a busy street. In my defence, it’s easy to be distracted by people walking by. Or shiny things. Or flashing lights. (Okay…so I am easily distracted.)

On this day, however, I spied a horse. With a knight on top.

I burst out of my chair. “It’s Sir Lovesalot!” I shouted, flying from the room, possibly causing minor heart attacks of surprise. What is that strange woman babbling about now?

I ran to the back door and yelled for the kids. “Sir Lovesalot just went down the street!” I called. They immediately sprinted for the driveway while I scrambled for my shoes.

We had seen “Sir Lovesalot” on the news when he visited Ottawa last week, and Girlchild’s class had talked about him at school. His name is Vincent Gabriel Kirouac and his horse is Coeur-de-Lion (Lionheart), and he embarked upon a quest to cross Canada about six weeks ago, setting out from Riviere-du-Loup on the south shore of the St. Lawrence and heading west.

His goal? To be a medieval role model in love and honour – a modern-day knight.

By the time I got to the end of the driveway, the kids were gazing southward. Sir Lovesalot and his trusty steed had gained about a block on us, so we set out at a trot. Certain appendages did not appreciate this, but I digress.

Fortunately, Sir Lovesalot and Coeur-de-Lion stopped to talk to some people in a mini-van, so we managed to catch up.

While I petted Coeur-de-Lion’s soft nose and the kids gazed up at the knight in his shiny armour and bejewelled helmet, we chatted about his journey.

Then he noticed my sweatshirt.

“Do you work at Lee Valley Tools?” he asked.

I explained that my husband does. He pointed to the lion-head hardware on his horse’s bridle – from Lee Valley Tools, of course.

We had a lovely visit. He remarked on our beautiful town and its heritage buildings – he said he liked it so much he might return. I mentioned our Algonquin College campus and that the heritage trades students I teach study these buildings.

I took a picture of him and Coeur-de-Lion with the kids. Then he continued on his way along Drummond Street, headed for a farm on the Scotch Line where he was being put up for the night.

When we got home I did some online searching to learn a little more about Sir Lovesalot. He is described as a “knight-errant,” or a fellow who roves the land seeking adventures to show love and devotion.

Think Knights of the Round Table – Sir Lancelot, et. al. Naturally, music from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which is Required Viewing for Life in my world, started to course through my head. Happily, although Sir Lovesalot has a lovely French-Canadian accent, he did not declare that my mother is a hamster and my father smells of elderberries. Nor did he proceed on his journey by banging two coconut husks together. He has a real horse.

I learned later he spent lots of time exploring Perth and stopped to pay homage to our own Big Ben at the commemorative statue at Stewart Park.

Vincent is travelling across Canada on horseback dressed as a knight “to remind people of the values of long ago, such as devotion,” he says.

He is taking rural backroads as much as possible and is counting on the kindness of strangers to help him with rest and food along the way. When his mare shows signs of fatigue, he walks beside her. He was inspired by his faith to take this quest.

And he certainly attracts attention! In our brief encounter, several cars, cyclists and pedestrians stopped to chat.

Godspeed, Sir Lovesalot and Coeur-de-Lion. I think it’s safe to say you’re already spreading smiles across the land. Good luck on your quest!

Published in The Perth Courier, May 17/12

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