Sunday, May 24, 2009

You put your left foot in Canada, and then your right foot is out of America, shake it all about!

Barry: this is for you! *laugh*

This morning I found something I'd written on how the summer my son, my two brothers, and I tried to get into Canada, and could not - because we didn't have the correct credentials, which is either a passport, or birth certificate with license. We're told by the really nice woman in Blaine Washington (right near the border of Canada and America) that we could get IN to Canada with what we had (our driver's licenses), but we would not be able to get back into America. Wow. That was a bit surprising! Indeed, the American side of customs sported a very very long line, reaching farther back than we could see.

So, we were directed to a park called "The Peach Arch Park," which the Tourism Woman said was "half in America and half in Canada." Ohh! So, we park, get out, and start walking about. It's beautiful; this park is, with flowers growing everywhere, green green grass (much of the grass in Portland and parts of Washington was very dry and brown for they're having their "dry" season). There were the customs buildings (with the cars entering exiting exiting entering) on the American and Canadian sides, and we gawked at those a while. Then, we walked, looking for signs that we were approaching "the Canadian side" of the park.

We crossed over to the Common's Area, which had a large white monument in the middle, and the Canadian and American flags flying together overhead, in the sky, waving waving. We then started towards the monument, towards Canada.

I turned to look behind me to the American Flag that was created by red, white, and blue flowers, in our stars and stripes, and in front of me, the Canadian Flag in red and white flowers, with their maple leaf (and we first walked to admire the American Flag, before turning to the monument). There was in front of us, the large white monument called the "Peace Arch," which divided America and Canada, and as we got inside the monument, we saw the inscription on the U.S. side of the Peace Arch that reads "Children of a common mother", and the on the Canadian side reads, "Brethren dwelling together in unity.” Inside the archway, there's an iron gate that's connected on either side of the border with an inscription above it that reads, "May these gates never be closed," signifying that both countries would have agree for the border to be closed. I smiled at that, and Tommy snapped some photos.

I will note that before I reached the monument, while admiring the American flag in colors, and looking forward to admiring the Canadian flag in colors, and then turning to take in the entire commons area, I, we, saw many different nationalities, most of them making a point to walk through the monument, instead of around it. It made me feel as if I were a part of something much larger than myself, something historic, even though nothing special was happening; I felt it all the same. I felt as if I were very American right then, and had an awareness of myself that I couldn't quite define.

We walked through the monument and to the Canadian flag, and I said, "We're in Canada!" and my son said, "No we aren't, mom, not really," and he laughed. I said, "Yes we are, we're in Canada!" and Tommy said, "Yeah!" and snapped photos. Johnny just laughed.

We made our way back through the monument, to the commons area in America, and walked across the road, back to Peach Arch Park. We decided to find Canada in the Park, so we made our way to the Canadian side of Peace Arch Park, and I said, "we're walking in the Canadian side of the park!" and my son said, "Sure we are!" in a false high voice, making good natured fun at his mom. I answered, "Okay, so it's faux Canada, psuedo-Canada, but it's still Canada!" He laughed, my brothers laughed, and Tommy snapped photos. Johnny pointed out an electrical maintenance box, which had a Canadian "address" on it, and I pointed at it, like a five year old, and said, "Nya nya nya, we ARE in Canada! Because this is owned by the Canadians! They wouldn't take the electricity and pay for it if it were American! HA!" Daniel just laughed and shook his head, said, "Okay, Mom..." Tommy found a sign on a building and snapped photos, and we all laughed, reading aloud, "Parking for Italians Only."

We walked along a street, and the signs had changed to kilometers, and of course, I said, "See, KM instead of Miles! We are definitely in Canada!" and then Tommy started singing the Canadian national anthem (hey, how'd he know it?), and I joined in (I knew it?). Finally, Tommy and Daniel went exploring, and Johnny and I walked along the Canadian street again, or I should say, I dragged him along, "So I could walk along in Canada one more time..." We saw a Canadian police search a car, and then it's trunk and I wanted to snap a photo, but felt too intrusive and rude doing this, so of course, my brother Johnny grabbed my disposable camera and snapped one. I pretended I didn't know him, and then laughed and grabbed my camera back.

The four of us met up and walked back to America, and then Tommy pointed to a marker that read it was the International Border Marker, and of course I said, "Nya nya Told you So, nya, we are right on the border of Canada and America, seeeee, told you seee!" And Daniel said, "Okay, mom, we're in Canada." I laughed, and knew that really it wasn't the same as actually going into Canada and walking about, but it was all I had. We took photos, just like tourists, of each of us in front of the marker, and then made our way back to the rental car.

I said, "I've been to Canada," and then I said, "Well, sort of anyway," then sighed. We all agreed it was beautiful, though, and quite the experience. I kept thinking about the man we passed, while walking that quaint little street, with the quaint little houses, and how I said, "Oh, this is Canada, I'm in Canada," like a fool tourist and the man, overhearing me, smiling at me, and I waved at him, and he waved back, and I wondered how many times he'd seen some silly person like me saying "Oh, I'm in Canada, that sign is Canadian, that house is Canadian, this street is Canadian, oh and look, a Canadian dog chasing a Canadian cat up a Canadian tree, and there's THE PROOF! -right THERE---a Canadian car license plate! NYA!" because, "If the Government says it's true, then it must be! ha!" My son and brothers, shaking their heads, then laughing. And I, shaking my head and laughing, too, because sometimes you just have to believe and you are there.


Brian Mongold said...

Hi Kat, just wanted to drop by and say let you know that I think the book is absolutely fantastic. I'm still in the process of moving, so things are chaotic having one new house to work on and a rental to clean, but I have been finding some time amongst the chaos to read your outstanding novel.

Hope things are good.


Jessica said...

LOL How fun! It's the same with Mexico. We cruise right in but to get back into America we have to wait and get checked. I guess that's a good thing, for us. :-)

kimmirich said...



Sandra Leigh said...

Okay, young lady. The next time you're prancing around in the park, two hours away from my house, you'd better let me know.

My husband always grins when he sees that "Children of a Common Mother" inscription. I gather that to English eyes, the term common doesn't have quite the same meaning that it does for us. ;>)

Angie Ledbetter said...

My kinda road trip. (You'd make a great ambassador.) hehe

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I love prancing in the park......actually, I love prancing anywhere!!
Thank you for jumping over to my blog from darling Barry's....isn't he awesome? So you wrote the book Barry is reading? Oh, I'm so excited to meet you!! I have been telling my hubby that I'm going to pick up that book and now it's a must o course :)
Beautiful writing here at your place....such talent you have!!
I am an avid reader and love to live my life with wild abandon in His mercy and His love. I believe that is what God intends for us all....
Oh yes, "The Daily Puppy". Today he looks like one on my own rescue pups. They, that one and mine, are mostly Catahoula Cur. Mine is a big sweetheart and I'm posting a picture of him tomorrow. Please click on "The Daily Puppy" when you have a moment or two any time if you will. It is generating a little money to help us build a spay and neuter clinic and a No-Kill shelter in my hometown of Newnan, Georgia. Volunteering there is one of my many passions.
I will definately be back to your beautiful blog often.
Wishing you a holiday filled with love, joy and laughter and......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Deb Shucka said...

I hope you get to really go to Canada someday. It's a gorgeous place.

I love how you managed to turn that whole deal into a grand adventure - in spite of the men in your life. :)

Small Footprints said...

Growing up in Seattle, I crossed into Canada at that exact same spot many times ... and it never ceased to impress me. Thank you for taking me across it once again!

BTW ... I just returned to the mountains after a lovely trip to the Pacific NW. I hope I haven't missed your book signing at Malaprops? Let me know, okay?

Take Care!

Small Footprints

Barry said...

Not only did you visit Canada (sort of) but you wrote home about it!

I'm impressed, and entertained!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hey Kat....great story!

Sarah Lulu said...

G'day .... greetings from Australia ..I saw your comment on a blog ..

If you want to join the Friday photo Shoot-Out ..just do! You are most welcome.

You can go on my blog and click just above the coffee cup or go straight to here and leave a comment to be included on the list.

Have fun!

Debbie said...

I've been missing your stories on here! You are a prize my friend.

colbymarshall said...

Haha I love it. We're here, we're there, we're here, we're there. FUN!

Glynis said...

Great fun! So, you've been to Canada have you? ;0