In the late 90s and early 2000s, I was pretty obsessed with The Tea Party, a now-defunct Canadian band heavily influenced by blues, prog rock, and various flavors of world music. They last toured the States in 1997, when I happened to catch them opening for Jimmie’s Chicken Shack at the Barrymore in Madison. I was blown away – literally, in fact, because the bass was so intense that I had to go stand in the lobby. It’s pretty accurate to say that for the next 3-4 years, I listened to their music almost exclusively. I met the band in Paris in 2000 and followed them “on the list” for a couple of European dates while studying in London. When I got back from London, I found myself in a Tea Party-free wasteland, and so made several whirlwind trips up to Canada to go to shows and meet up with fans from the Sister Awake listserv.
It was on one of those trips that I first encountered Timbits.
I had driven from Rockford to Sarnia, arriving just in time for the show, then met up with a bunch of SAers and continued on in the Red Car Caravan to London, where I spent the night at Lynda’s. I was sick, and was up half the night coughing my lungs out, but somehow Lynda and her parents (who I just met that night) put up with me. In the morning, a bunch of us made a trip to Tim’s – as ubiquitous in Canada as Starbucks is in most major metro areas here – and the native Canadians had a good time watching me figure out my money.
It’s such a funny and random memory – but as a result, I associate Tim Horton’s with these road trips to Canada and with the fun Canadians I met each time I crossed the border. Other than this nostalgia, however, I can’t think of a single thing that differentiates Timbits from, say, the donut holes from Dunkin Donuts, other than that Timbits come in a more interesting array of flavors. This morning we picked up a box of 10 for road trip snacking – two Dutchies (raisin and apple), two chocolate, two honey cruller (less overwhelmingly sweet than the honey dip), and four sour cream (rich and flavorful) – and a couple of iced coffees. Good stuff, and enough sweets to bring on a rush of nostalgia – or maybe that was just a sugar high.