A V I E W F R O M C H A R L O T T E T O W N , P R I N C E E D W A R D I S L A N D
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A couple of weeks ago I went to Boston. Now you have to know that Boston is almost my second home. Kate MacDonald, better know on the Island as Kate Reggie Alex from Souris [now of Halifax as well] had agreed to take me by plane - on her bonus points - to attend a school reunion down there. I was busy and for awhile didn't think I could fit it in, but with her persistence I decided I should do it. Anyway Kate and I haven't had that much time alone together and I thought that would be a good thing.
The plan was that I would drive to Halifax the night before and we would catch the 8:45 plane to Boston the next morning and we would be in Harvard Square for coffee with my young friend Mary Ann Winkelmes by some time before 11 o'clock. After that we'd could do the bookstores and Crate and Barrel at Harvard Square and be back to the hotel for the reception before seven o'clock. A grand plan.
There was a glitch. I had been very busy before I left ... going one direction and another. Gary Carrol had fortunately arrived home from Ottawa shortly before and he was going to look after my dog Nellie and the cats, Ruby and Rosie, but I had other things to be done. Now I do not have a passport. I am not a big traveller and had not travelled into the states since 9-11. Somewhere I do have a birth certificate and a health card, but some how or other I arrived at the airport on Friday morning without either. It was unbelievable. Kate tried to tell the man at the counter that I was well known in Charlottetown, but he just rolled his eyes. I did, too. But it was all to no avail; I was not allowed on the flight without some proof that I was a Canadian citizen. My grey hair held no weight.
I called home - it was 6:45 in the morning. My friend Gary does not like telephones and was not about to answer. On the third attend, he did, but I wasn't sure where to send him to look for anything. Even with those directions he did find my Social Insurance number [I kept calling it Social Security which didn't help anything] and he took it to my friends at the Inns of Great George Street to fax it to me. When I told my "new found friend" Dereck that I had my Social INSURANCE number coming on his fax. He again rolled his eyes and said there is no way I can allow you to go to Boston on that only: Boston would send me back and fine Air Canada. That made it clear we were NOT going to be in Cambridge for coffee with Mary Ann.
That gave us six, almost seven hours to solve my problem. I call Gary again. This time I suggest that maybe The Palace of Saint Dunstan's Basilica where I was baptised would do something. So Gary was off to The Palace. Then I thought that maybe Vital Statistics might be able to help and I called Montaque PEI where they are located. Yes, they did not mind doing business over the phone, but I would have to have someone pick it up and fax it to me - they did not go that far. Well I thought of somebody I knew in Montague, but they informed me that they had a place on Garfield Street in Charlottetown and they could look after it there. Sooooo a call to my friend Dental Don. About an hour after the 7:45 plane had left for Boston I had a bundle of faxed papers with all I needed to get into the USA of America; thanks to The Palace, Gary, Don Stewart, Vital Statistics and The Inns of Great George Street.
When after that lengthy stay at the Halifax airport where we had breakfast, mid morning Bloody Marys and lunch, we arrived at Boston and the Customs desk. The very nice man suggested, when I passed him my wad of faxed data, that next time I should travel with the originals. I smiled sweetly and told him that there would be no problem there. I have still not received my telephone bill from that morning. I am sure it will record nicely the goings on of that very special experience. By the way Kate did not bit my head off at all, and she should certainly have done so.
Written Wednesday, July 09, 2003 at 07:02 PM