A Beautiful Thing to See
So much optimism. Joyful. Like a burden had been lifted.
Part 1: Jonker Brotherhood
Jeff Tenhage also drove a big rig to Ottawa. His wife, Annette (Harold and Tim Jonker's sister), was in the white International with him. So were their two youngest, then eight and 11. "
At truck stops along the way, people were going indoors without face masks. Those businesses didn't say anything, he remembers. “That was a big thing at the time, still. You had to mask up to be inside."
When the Convoy stopped in Kingston for the night, it was
super cold. There was a food table there. I remember having a bowl of chili. It was really hot when it was given to me, but it was cold within one minute.
Everybody was happy. We were running into friends we used to know. I even met a cousin there. There was so much optimism. Just very joyful. Something you'd hadn't felt in a long time, like a burden had been lifted.
Ottawa the next afternoon was a massive traffic jam. Having got separated from the other company trucks, Jeff spent a couple hours pretty much stationary. "We couldn't move for a while. I remember a reporter hopping up on the side of our truck. He was from Holland and he wanted to talk."
Eventually, Jeff headed to the baseball stadium parking lot, a 10-minute drive from Parliament Hill. Known amongst the truckers as 'Coventry' due to its Coventry Road address, this spot morphed into an important supply depot. Over the next few weeks, many of the Jonker trucks spent the night at Coventry, but would park on Metcalfe or Albert Street during the day.
The next morning, Jeff was looking forward to greeting the western Convoy - the trucks everyone had been watching on social media. "That was one thing we missed out on," he remembers. "We didn't see them come in. My wife kept saying, 'We wanna go meet these people from out West.' But we didn't know where to go, you couldn't find them."
What they did witness, he says, was
a stream of people coming from Quebec over that bridge. I'd say probably eight people wide and for as long as you could see. Kilometers of people coming in. I was shocked at how much foot traffic was coming into the city.
It was beautiful to see all the provinces and people from different backgrounds being supportive of each other. Yeah, it was just a beautiful thing to see.
next installment: Why Are You Here?