Murray married me before he realized I wasn’t his type.
Murray loves spontaneity, surprises. My picture is next to homebody in the dictionary. I like routines, the comfort of home. Surprises can irritate me.
In 2019, we got the driver’s license size passports, just so we could visit Canada sometime. The only time I’d ever been out of the country was in 2000, when we lived in far northern New York, in a town where you could drive across the bridge to Canada. We were moving soon, so we went to Canada for lunch. At that time, we didn’t need a passport.
So, we got the cards in 2019, and then Covid came. And we didn’t go much of anywhere for the next few years.
Last week, Murray said, “Let’s go to lunch in Windsor. Let’s just do it.”
I said, “We’ll see.”
“Yeah. We’ll se.” He sounded disappointed.
But Murray wasn’t scheduled to work that Friday. The next day after he asked me, I showed why maybe it was okay he married me after all. Even though I’m not his type. I said, “Hey, why don’t we go to Canada for lunch this Friday?”
So, Ping-Hwei took Friday off from work, and we were ready.
On Thursday night we got out our passports. We found Murray’s and Ping-Hwei’s. Not mine.
I thought, well, Murray and Ping-Hwei could still go, and that would be okay. But I was a little sad.
Then we found mine.
We were going to leave at eight Friday morning. It was only a little after eight-thirty, and we were off.
Twice as we drove along the road I said, “I smell pigs.”
Murray said, “Well, that’s all you.” He grew up in St. Louis. But he said, “Ninety percent of Ohio is farmland after all.”
Instead of listening to a book, we listened to a movie, “A Man Called Otto,” an Americanized version of “A Man Called Ove.” The movie had audio description, and Murray didn’t look at the screen of his phone while driving.
The movie was a delight, and when once I asked Murray what was happening, he said, “I don’t know. I experienced it just like you.”
Usually when we cross state lines, Murray honks. He did when we drove into Michigan. When we approached the tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ping-Hwei asked if we were in Canada. Murray said he’d honk when we got there, but then we both said, maybe he shouldn’t. We didn’t want to upset the border guards.
Murray has kind of a troubling memory of dealing with the border guards from 24 years ago, when he was in Maine for a job interview and went into Canada for the day. The guard last Friday was, as Murray said, “intense and stern,” but we made it through.
Murray looked for a sign saying we were in Canada, but didn’t see one. When he saw both the Canadian and the United States flags painted on the wall of the tunnel, he decided we were in Canada.
I wanted Canada jokes, and I was afraid Murray wouldn’t make any, so I started making them myself.
“Ping-Hwei, a Canadian car just honked at us.”
“Hear those Canadian birds tweeting at us? I wonder if they’re tweeting in both English and French.”
I couldn’t seem to stop.
“Honey, you better slow down, are you might get stopped by a Canadian policeman.”
Ping-Hwei and Murray were nice to me. Neither told me to shut up.
When we decided to have lunch in Canada, Murray looked up restaurants in Windsor, and the first one that popped up was The Back Road Café. They had an all-day breakfast menu, which is what I’d been hungry for for a long time. The restaurant was crowded—the hostess said she had just one more table for us—but it was delicious.
Sarah said, “You guys are lame.” We could have gotten a restaurant breakfast any time we wanted here, but she said we should have tried a specialty dish from another country while we were there.
The border guard on the way back into the US said, “You drove five hours just to have lunch in Canada? You’re killing me.”
What did we learn about Canada?
The drinking straw at breakfast was made of paper, not plastic. Very ecological. When we paid for our meal, Murray asked the lady for change for a five-dollar bill. We wanted to send Canadian dollar bills to people as gifts.
She told us they didn’t have dollar bills any more, or two-dollar bills, or even pennies. She said, “I’ll give you five loonies.”
We met a nice lady in a souvenir shop who talked to us about Canada and her trips to the United States. She showed us a picture of the bird with the nickname her shop was named after, “Whiskey Jack Boutique.” People were hoping to make it the Canadian national bird.
Murray said that now we know our passports worked, we can go to Toronto for a weekend.