The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

31 March 2010


We made a break for it today. Because Number Four Peanut is finally 'official' (he finally got his birth certificate - at the age of 3! - but that's another story) we hopped in our Beast of Burden (BoB, the van) and headed for the International Border. That's right folks, we were invading America!

I should mention here that the big draw for our outing was the duty free shop. Watch for more on this below.

The first adventure came on our side of the 49th when our fun-loving highway signage folks neglected to identify the exit we needed off the highway. That caused a slight delay by way of a detour, but never mind! The sky was blue, the temperature crept ever higher and we were shiny happy people. We speculated that in a grey cubicle somewhere, a group of people were huddled around a roadcam, laughing and high-fiving every time they caught another vehicle in their sign-free web of confusion.

Soon enough we found ourselves in line at the border crossing. Do you find yourself feeling guilty, though you couldn't be any less of an international threat if you tried? We were asked to open the side door of the van, take our sunglasses off, and answer innocuous questions - all expected of course, but I wish I'd had a chance to study. When asked what country I came from, I answered, "Canadian. Um, I mean, Canada. I'm from Canada..." and my brother-in-law went into the whole story about how we used to live in blahblahblah and have just moved to yaddayaddayadda. The customs guys asked Four if that was his mommy and daddy in the front seat, to which he helpfully replied yes, and those were dogs, and police, and bad guys and we're going to the bridge, and the truck goes vroom.... More than he was expecting to hear, I'll bet! We were rather spellbound by the sight of burly and well-equipped (with guns and water bottles - important to stay hydrated, you know) members of whatever security force is stationed at the border complete with sniffer dogs marching up and down the rows of cars. The only contraband we were carrying was some sweet-n-salty granola bars, but I fully expected those fearsome fangs to bare themselves in our direction.

However, we were released on our way, with the admonition to have ourselves a good day. I took that as an enforceable order, so I did have myself a good day.

After filling BoB with some exceedingly affordable American fuel, we allowed ourselves to be lured into the parking lot of a Tops grocery store, and let me tell you, Dear Reader, what a giddy hour we had therein! It was just a little store, along the lines of the old-style neighbourhood groceries they used to build before everything went super-sized. Prices were comparable for the most part, but oh my, the diversity! The variety! The options! We inched our way up and down the aisles, calling giddily to each other, tin or jar in hand, "Look at this! Hominy!" "Pomegranate salsa!" "37 kinds of barbecue sauce!" The selection of organic offerings was staggering, and there was a whole row of gluten-free options. Brands of cereal, tinned goods, condiments, coffee we'd never heard of. And they have different sizes of cans, too. Super huge, and nicely medium such that we don't have here. I tell you, this was very exciting for us! The celebrity endorsements were good for a giggle: Peyton Manning on cereal, Arnold Palmer with his golf clubs on something else, good ol' Paul Newman on more than salad dressing, Cheryl Burke on shoe polish, and Mario Batali on tomato sauce (shockingly at $7.00/jar!!) I'm sure store staff were rolling their eyes at each other, "Oh boy, more Canadians in aisle three, Merle" But, here's the real kicker. Brace yourselves for this. Ready? Milk was $2.00/gallon! Forget duty free liquor! We're bringing home the milk, baby!

Onward to the Fatima Shrine which was just lovely, then a state park from which we could see the Toronto skyline. Our big city looked so tiny and inconsequential from that perspective. Considering there are as many people in that one state as we have in 10 provinces and 3 territories, it's kind of endearing how small we really are.

Then, with a wave to Oma (Hello, Prince Edward County! ala You've got mail)across the lake, we put BoB in gear and headed for home. The border crossing was marred only by the information that we had to be out of the country for 24 hours before we could bring back any booze. Woe! Poor BIL needed consoling with that news.

And so, home again. We think it would be fun to live among the 'merican's for a while. I hardly ever say 'eh'... wonder if they'd find me out?


  1. My wife works at a Super Wal-Mart. Now if you want to see diversity...