I am back from my smuggling operations in Canada and WITHOUT having to write this from "Gitmo"! The entire trip was a success and a beautiful day to drive and visit our wonderful friends who border the Northern United States.
I wasn't sure how the day was going to go as I did NOT start out in my "happy" place...I was tired from a very long week of work and a bit on the crabby MS side. I had made a copy of the song "O' Canada" on the wrong type of CD (my loverly Honda won't play data disks...who knew?!?) and could not blare the music at the US/Canadian border as planned...this was truly a big bummer. So NBF and I just had to sing the song instead. Unfortunately (or perhaps with GREAT fortune), we only know the first stanza of the song, so it was repeated like a broken record...LOL
When we approached the "gate to paradise" (Canada), we were greeted by a very nice Canadian Customs border agent (you should be proud of your peeps, Andrea)...he asked what our business was and how long the likes of two US citizens planned on being in his sacred country?
"Just going shopping and having dinner today," I replied in my most courteous and friendly "Stater" manner. "We'll be heading back to the States this evening." I figured if I was REALLY clear about our limited time we would be spending in this man's fine homeland, he would not become suspicious of the seriousness of our maple syrup smuggling operations. Besides, I was pretty sure the Canadian people would sleep better knowing we would only be spending a few, short hours on their turf.
The Customs Agent smiled and glanced toward the back seat of "Luna" (my sleek and silver Honda). He then spoke again. A fog rolled into my brain...I could not understand what he was asking me.
I somewhat nervously looked at NBF riding shotgun in my car and raised my eyebrows, as if to say without words, "What the heck did he just say?" Because NBF and I work together on a daily basis, she knew this facial sign. She tilted her head slightly, smirked, and shrugged her shoulders. She had no idea what this man of serious intent had spoken either.
It was in this moment my comfortable life as a Washington State employee flashed before me...visions of tin cups, bread and water, and sharing a Federal detention cell with Martha Stewart passed before me. The Canadian government was on to me...someone had warned them in advance two middle-aged, casually dressed US citizens were about to attempt entry into their country and try to make off with a gallon of maple syrup and a few "other" items not sold in the highly regulated and very anal United States of America. We were surely busted. A tiny bead of perspiration began to glimmer on my forehead.
I turned back to the Canadian Customs Agent and, in my nicest and most apologetic way stated, "I'm sorry. WHAT did you just ask me?"
The agent repeated his question slowly, as if speaking to a hearing impaired or mildly retarded US citizen. "Do you have any gifts you are taking into the country?"
My eyes darted again at NBF who, by this time, was trying to contain a full-belly laugh without making any noise. She was shaking her head, "No".
"Oh gosh no," I replied. "I'm not the gift-giving type."
The serious Canadian Customs Agent smiled, appearing to attempt to maintain the authority of his job, and simply waved us through...I'm sure he was contemplating whether we might need an "escort" for our own safety (being mentally handicapped and all) or if we would ever find our way BACK to the border later in the day.
We drove forward just out of earshot of the Agent and I turned to NBF, who was laughing out loud at this point. I inquired, "Did YOU understand what he was asking me?" I was fairly certain she did not.
"All I could hear him say was something about 'gifts'," NBF laughed. "I didn't hear what he was saying to you."
I felt embarrassed at this point and a bit dejected. So in my best effort to save face (and my pride) I decided the only approach was to sarcastically announce the interaction was not MY fault...it wasn't my fault because, "I don't speak Canadian!"
We giggled all the way to Vancouver...LOL...