We were coming home from a trip to Prince Edward County on a little road called Crookston Road. It is a quiet road, and I was enjoying the peace thinking about all of the traffic that was to come on this first long week-end in May. As we were driving I saw a horse, so I slowed down so that Elly could see. The horse was with it's rider at the side of the road. Again I did not think much of it because we live in a rural area and there are lots of people who ride their horses at the side of the roads. As we got closer I saw a long dress, again I did not think too much of it because we have several Amish families that have settled in our area, and I thought that maybe one of the girls was out with her horse. As we got closer I saw a knight. WHAT! It was a knight and his horse at the side of the road. I looked at my mom (who had come for our drive) and she looked at me. We had matching mother / daughter expressions, a mixture of shock and mirth. "Do you want me to stop and ask if we can take his picture?" I asked. "No, no" was Mom's reply. Then we went a little further "Well actually, yes. When are we ever in our lives going to see a knight at the side of the road again?"
I turned the car around and parked a safe distance so as not to spook the horse. The young man had the most lovely and gentle smile. That was what really struck me. He looked biblical. We found out that he had been riding the Trans Canada Trail and planned to travel across Canada. Being the subtle person that I am I blurted out "Why are you doing that?" He looked me in the eye and in the most gentle lovely voice told me "I want to spread the word that chivalry is not dead. Did you see me on the CBC?". I had not. This quest of his made not a single lick of sense to me. He then asked if we knew where he could find the Amish. He had asked farmers with horses further up if he could stay with them, but they had seemed uncomfortable, so he had moved on. We gave him directions to a few of the Amish farms, took some pictures, and then hopped in the car and left.
The general consensus was that he had made our day. We then got into a discussion about what in God's name would make a person decide to travel dressed as a knight through Canada. My opinion, mental illness. It was obvious wasn't it? What kind of a sane person drops their life to travel around Canada dressed as a knight? That was the only logical conclusion. Mom gave me that look, that look that I am so accustomed to receiving when I rush to judgement about others. "I don't know about that, he had a lovely face. He looked biblical to me." was Mom's reply. "Mom, who does that?" That look again, "People in the 60's did things like that all the time. He really did make my day!"
I came home unpacked the car. Got dinner ready. Got Rowan and Christopher off to soccer (Riley is sick, but still wanted to go). I then sat down to investigate this further. I began by typing in "CBC Knight across Canada". Up popped a TV broadcast about a 23 year old man named "Vincent Gabriel Kirouac". I then saw articles from Ottawa newspapers. What I have pieced together is that he is doing this to remind people of values of long ago, such as devotion. He is Catholic. He began his quest in Riviere-du-Loup a town on the South shore of the St. Lawrence River. He wants to commit acts of kindness and to help people and show them by example. He wants to change the world.
It's funny, when I saw that his middle name was "Gabriel" I questioned my earlier thoughts of seriously mentally ill. Maybe he's on a walkabout but calling it a quest. Maybe he's running away from real life. Wasn't that what my trip to Prince Edward County was on Tuesday and again today? My life seemed too much to deal with, so I ran away. It was just for a few hours, and I did not dress up like a knight, but I ran away to clear my head and forget about the problems that were still waiting for me when I got home. It gave me the strength to deal with it. By running away I had fed my soul. By running away I cleared my head so that I could actually think. Maybe this young man does not know where his life is headed. Maybe he needs to clear his head so that he can really think. He's really not hurting anyone. He spoke to his horse like it was a beloved dog. He had a kind and gentle face. Who am I to decide why he's doing this. If he is seriously mentally ill, again, who's he hurting by doing this. He really did make my day.
When I tucked Elly into bed tonight she looked at me with those huge blue eyes and a little smile. "Tank you for a nice day Mommy. I really liked dat horse. I really liked dat king."
Vincent Gabriel Kirouac you and Coer-de-lion (his horse Lion Heart) really did make my day. When I got home I wished that I had offered you some food. Maybe your quest to spread the word about times of old is not that crazy. Maybe we all just need to accept and support each other a little more!
If you would like to see the CBC news report go to
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