Been There Fun Dat
Border stories are what all of the guests usually talk about upon arrival to the cabin. Most are uneventful but every year someone has a little flair to share. Ours was unusual because we took two cars so we could fit our kids, their chatterbox friends, a whimpering dog, and a month’s worth of belongings for a week-long retreat.
The border agents are always straight-laced with no tolerance for even the slightest irritant.
“No Mason, don’t wave your handheld U.S. flag out of the window as we pull up to the Canadian checkpoint!”
It won’t be funny when the border agents has us pull over to spend the next hour examining every nook and cranny of the vehicle; even if all that they are bound to come up with is grain in the vents from a drive-thru safari gone bad many years earlier. But that’s another story.
I prepped the girls in my car for the Q&A session about to happen with “Mr. Happy” – the border agent – soon to be peering in our windows. I explained that he’ll ask, “Citizenship?” to which my daughter’s friend in the backseat innocently asked, “How do I answer?”
Oh boy. My hands clenched the wheel a little tighter.
“Citizenship?” barked a deep voice in my left ear.
I actually hesitated to think about it. I saw the man’s nostrils flair a little before I spit it out. Then came the question about relationship to which I had to explain why I’m taking an unrelated minor across the border. After handing our passports, the dog’s paperwork and the forms to the agent showing that I had permission to bring my daughter’s friend into another country, I did the unthinkable – and got a little chatty with Mr. Happy.
He had asked who all I was traveling with so I explained that my wife and more kids were behind us. I realized he was only speaking about our car’s occupants so this opened a new series of questions. As he stacked our passports to hand back to me along with the other paperwork, I asked if I could just pull up a little to wait for our other car.
“No, but there’s a McDonald’s around the corner,” He deadpanned.
I parked at McDonalds and paused to put the passports back into their holders. And that’s when stomach lodged in my throat!
My daughter’s passport was not there!
I phoned my wife – then son – then my son’s friend. Nobody answered.
I jumped from the vehicle and headed back to the border. As nervous sweat dripped from my brow, I wondered how much attention I’d draw by charging at the car booth I was processed through. My mind didn’t care. I needed to get that passport back and the shortest distance from point A to point B was a straight line. The quickest solution was to get what I needed where I knew it was left. I had a one track mind.
Then I saw my wife coming down the four-lane, one-way, road. I jumped out into traffic like a raving lunatic to flag her down.
When she finally calmed me down, she waved my daughter’s passport in my face. Here my phone calls were heard but the border agent sternly told my wife and everyone else not to answer.
“That’s your husband calling for this,” the agent told my wife.
He handed my daughter’s passport to her and said, “He’s looking for this.”
Well, we had the best border crossing story of the summer.
Then we piled into a fishing boat to here grandpa tell us his story about the one that got away.
By Frank Rocco Satullo, your Tour Guide To Fun