My brother who is 8 years older than I, was born with a severe form of Cerebral Palsy; he was not expected to live past 14. He could not talk or walk but did seem to have forms of nonverbal communication. My parents could not manage his extensive needs while taking care of me and my four other siblings, so when I was just 1, Jack was moved into a home for handicapped children.
When I was old enough to walk to the home where he stayed, I would go as much as I could, sitting with him and trying to communicate- to make any sort of connection with him possible. He would sometimes break into a smile and on unexpected beautiful occasions, a deep hearty laugh, and I hoped that it was in response to something I had said and not just a reflex.
On one particular visit, my dad and I walked into Jack's room each holding a Tim Horton's coffee. My dad noticed Jack staring at his cup and said, "Son, what can we get you?" Jack furled his eyebrows and continued staring at the cup. My dad looked at me and said, "I believe he wants some coffee." He got a straw and held it to Jack's mouth, and Jack slowly took a sip. When my dad took the cup away, Jack started moaning. Again his eyebrows furled and he stared intently on my dad's cup again. Before we had left, Jack had polished off over half of my dad's coffee. From that point on, whenever anyone went to visit Jack, they knew not to go without a Tim Horton's for him. Ironically and appropriately, when Jack was moved to a new home years later, the view from his bedroom window was of the Tim Horton's across the street.
Jack not only lived past 14, he surpassed this prognosis by 38 years; this Halloween, he will turn 52.
I moved to the United States and only get back to Canada once or twice a year, but one of the main things I look forward to in going home is sharing a cup of coffee with my older brother. Tim Horton's has been a part of one of the most cherished parts of my life.