Crossing the Border Scottish Style!
Please Not Your Canadian Accent!
Looking back into my childhood some of my fondest memories was when we would go to visit our relatives in Warren County, Michigan. Some of the normal routine of this particular road trip would be: my younger brother (Greg) asking ten minutes into the trip "Are we almost there yet?", my older brother Jim would sit quietly watching the scenery going by, while I on the other hand knew where every McDonalds was from Toronto to Michigan. I would make sure to remind my dad that a McDonalds was coming up, he would thank me for the info. I would sit in anticipation of getting a treat at McDonalds but there was times when I was deflated when my dad would keep driving passing by McDonalds. But thank goodness there was many of them along the way I knew he would eventually stop at one.
Doomed to be Pulled Over!
When we finally would arrive at the border at the "Ambassador Bridge" it seemed that we would be doomed to be pulled over if my dad was driving. We all believed that it was due to my dad putting on what he thought was his "Canadian accent"; the border officers could not understand him and thus would ask him to pull over. It got to the point that us kids would beg our dad to just speak in his normal accent (which I might add is Scottish) but my dad being stubborn was not willing to give up his "Canadian accent." When my mother drove she would address the border officers in her normal accent (which is also Scottish) and alas they would let my mother through. I think secretly this did not please my dad too much. I suppose it didn't help that my brothers and I would tease him about this fact. I remember one trip in particular when we had some oranges in the car to snack on and the border officer had told my dad that we couldn't bring the oranges into the states. Well my dad was outraged telling the border officer that the oranges came from their country that they had Florida stamped right on them. Well my dad was not about to hand over the oranges but instead chose to pull over at which point he made my brothers and I eat the oranges right then and there.
Born on Fantasy Island?
Another funny border crossing story involves my dear Uncle Pat (who is now deceased) and my dear Aunt Betty who is still here with us. My Uncle Pat had a very strong Scottish accent even though he and his family like my family had lived in Canada for 30+ years. Well him and my Aunt Betty had gone to Fantasy Island for a trip and were on their way home coming back into Canada when they got pulled over at the border. How it came about was when the border officer asked my Uncle Pat where he was born my Uncle Pat answered "Fantasy Island" this made the officer's eyes widen in surprise. The officer then repeated back to my Uncle the answer he had given just to make sure he heard right "Sir you were born on Fantasy Island?" My Uncle Pat was all flustered and corrected himself and thus the questioning continued. When the border officer asked my Uncle if he had anything to declare my Uncle responded with "A golf ball." The officer then double checked with my uncle that he wanted to declare a golf ball. Again my dear Uncle Pat tried correcting himself; he had in fact bought himself a new set of golf clubs. At this time the border officer had enough and gave my Uncle Pat the order to pull over. I guess my Uncle Pat could have taken comfort in knowing he was not the first Scotsman to be pulled over while crossing the border and I dare say he won't be the last.
Dedicated in Memory of my dear Uncle Pat