I don’t tend to order online much except for Christmas shopping. The item I sought was a woodland-themed crib mobile for our new granddaughter. When I proceeded to Amazon’s checkout, there was a hefty duty charge and fee for shipping to Canada. About $60! There was no way I was going to pay those additional costs, so I arranged to have it shipped to a Detroit warehouse with post office boxes.
It’s my hubby—Guy— who usually makes the cross-border trip to retrieve the parcels at a cost of $6 Canadian per package or $5 American. But since this shipment included something I had ordered, I thought it only fair that I accompany Guy.
It started out with us crossing via the Ambassador bridge, not the tunnel connecting Windsor with Detroit. Now, I tend to have a fear of heights. Standing on the ladder is enough to give me vertigo.
Plus, the bridge looked like it was in great need of repairs, with rusty guardrails.
“Why are we taking the bridge? The warehouse is close to the tunnel.”
“They moved. It’s not too far from the bridge now.”
“I’d rather take the tunnel. I figure if there was a bad accident and the tunnel sprung a leak, well, I could always swim to the shore.”
Mind you it was freezing temperatures currently. My anxiety about driving high up the bridge was kicking into gear. I peered into the distance. I saw a boat beneath us.
I did not like how construction had shut down the traffic to a narrow one lane in each direction.
“Hey babe, are there any statistics on how many accidents occur on bridges annually? I don’t like this traffic at all! I wonder if any cars have gone off the bridge?”
“Rita, just remember on the way down, open your car window all the way so you can escape. Because once we’re in the water, our windows won’t work.”
I survived our bridge crossing and then we came to an impasse at the border. Only three toll booths were open. Traffic was at a standstill. A red helicopter flew low over us. Border guards paced back and forth bearing wands with mirrors attached to look under the stopped cars and trucks.
“This is a little unnerving. If I had data here in Michigan, I’d check on my phone to see if they’re searching for a fugitive or something. They’re up to something.”
We passed the time watching the cute dog with the crazy ears in the car in front of us. That dog was on high alert, checking out any movement of the guards or cars around him. Border guards were now accompanied by dogs, sniffing frantically.
“What the heck is going on, Guy?”
Finally, we reached the toll booth. We explained we were on our way to pick up parcels. The guard wanted to know why Guy had a NEXUS card (for low-risk, pre-approved travellers) yet I did not. Guy explained he was an engineer that attended business for work in Michigan whereas I was a nurse that worked in Windsor. We were allowed to pass.
Guy headed out . . . a little too quickly, in my opinion, being under the watchful eye of the guards and all. Then he said, “Shoot! I was supposed to turn back there. I forgot where I was going for a minute. I’ve only been to the new place once before.”
“It’s okay. Just turn around at the next off-ramp.”
We drove a short distance on the freeway before we saw the off-ramp. Uh-oh! It was blocked off by a police car with flashing lights.
I was puzzled and asked Guy, “What now?”
“Maybe the police are expecting trouble. They would block off the ramp in case someone bolts at the border and just blows through customs.”
“They must be looking for a very bad guy. I’d find this more exciting if it was a bit more removed from me!”
We drove further along the highway. Guy admitted he had no idea of where he was at and of how to reach our destination. This is admirable for a man to confess, but it did not instill confidence in me. But today was Guy’s birthday. I cut him slack.
I spoke up. “I don’t care about the roaming charges for my phone anymore. Roger’s sent a text saying it’s just $7/day. We need a map.”
I pulled up the Maps app on my phone. Guy turned off the freeway. We both knew we were going in the wrong direction.
Guy made a turn onto a desolate side street. “I think if we head this way, we’ll get back there.”
I instructed him, “Pull over and you can check the map. Wait! Don’t pull over here!”
The more we drove, the more dilapidated the houses and buildings appeared. We were in an area of overgrown grass and weeds and few houses. Two cars were parked headlights-to-headlights. Four men hovered around the vehicles.
“I’m pretty sure there’s a drug deal going on there. Keep driving!”
He was soon able to pull over. After consulting the map on my phone, he planned out his route.
We progressed back towards the bridge—
and then we encountered yet another roadblock. Police cars were blocking us off every time we tried to cross a certain road. Each time we advanced one block further in an attempt to cross an intersection, a police car with flashing lights blocked our path.
Then, we realized the reason behind the blocked-off roads. There were marching soldiers and bands! It was a Remembrance Day parade.
Guy mentioned that perhaps routine anti-terrorism measures were in place today.
We were nearer to our destination. It was still a rough part of town.
“Oh, yes, I remember this now. This is the place. No parking lot and not much room to park on the street. But, we’re here!”
And then I saw it. An unexpected moment of beauty in a barren area. We were across the road from a small apartment complex. And just within the gates was a horse that looked like it formerly was at home on a carousel.
Flowers, wilted but still full of colour, were piled atop the saddle and onto the mane of the horse. And this was in November!
After seeing so much dreariness, the horse was a very welcome sight. It made me happy. I felt like I just had to take a photo. And that I did, despite the menacing large dog in the driveway and a miserable man standing nearby. This moment had to be captured!
Guy and I picked up our packages. Well, sort of . . . one of Guy’s packages couldn’t be found. But, Guy is an easy-going person. He simply said that he would pick it up next time. I got the parcel containing my crib mobile. And a package—a mug—my daughter had ordered last December was found. Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service states any parcel not picked up within six months must be returned to the sender. That didn’t take place, fortunately. Guy shook the box. It wasn’t broken. The mug was intact!
It was a great day full of adventure and highlighted by a horse with no name.