Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

I grew up in a town that is less than half an hour from the American border. (If you can identify the statue in my previous post, you'll know the name of my hometown!) Growing up, I crossed that border many times... many, many times. Here are just a few highlights of my trips across that border to the good old US of A:

1. Dates in high school - Growing up in a small town, there weren't many places for teenagers to hang out. The closest movie theatre was in Calais, Maine. We would drive thirty minutes and cross the border to go to a movie. Here's a reenactment of the conversations we had with the US border guards:

Border guard (leaning out of his booth): "Evenin' - Where y'all from?"
Us: "______________" (c'mon, I'm not giving away the answer - look at the statue)
BG: "Where ya headin'?"
Us: "Over town... for a movie."
BG: "Go ahead"
Us: "Thanks."

Now that, that is a pre-9-11 border crossing. The question could also be answered, "Over town" without the explanation of "for a movie". You can see the parking lot for the movie theatre from the border, ferheavensakes!

2. Gas 'n Milk - Upon returning to Canada, after our movie, we were always told, by our parents to get "gas 'n milk". No date would be complete if you didn't have a full tank of gas and 4 litres of milk in the trunk. In fact the first time the boyfriend I had in Grade 12 and in my first year of university, asked me out, he called me up and said, "Dad wants me to go to Calais to get gas and milk. D'you want to come with me?" Stop laughing. It's sad, but true.

3. Ben and Jerry's - during those gas 'n milk dates we discovered Ben and Jerry's ice cream in the freezer at the Irving. It has been a love affair that outlasted those high school boyfriends. I tip my hat to the country which raised such fine men who have given so much to so many.

4. My optometrist - The best optometrist in our area was in Calais, Maine. He and all the staff at his office had the best accents. We used to talk about waterskiing b/c he knew that I started skiing at 16 and his twins skied too. My eyesight is pretty bad and I was over there so often that I memorized the eye chart. To this day, I can tell you that one line is TZVECL. It is the same as the one in my new optometrist's office - and it completely throws him off that I know each line by heart. I called the Calais office recently and spoke to one of the ladies there - she still remembered me - I haven't been there in 8 years! (Of course, my dad still goes there, but still!)

5. North Conway, New Hampshire - Our family went on a shopping trip with our friends every summer to North Conway. We would check in at the Green Granite Hotel, throw our bags in the door and then hit the outlet stores. We would shop like mad, sneak in an ice cream sundae at Friendly's (OMG - I'm totally craving one of them right now), shop some more, have supper, then head back to the hotel. At the hotel, our parents would sit out on the balconies, talking and enjoying the warmth of the summer evenings. Whenever I smell warm pine trees, it reminds me of North Conway and those trips. The stories that we have of silly things that happened on those trips, ahhhh... well... there was an incident involving Cookie Mountain, a migraine, a certain parent, and a Fiorinal capsule... and then there was an incident with toilet paper... and another with a clogged toilet... one with a rain storm... and well, it was fun.

6. St. Pete's Beach, Florida - The same families that went to North Conway also found a great spot on St. Pete's Beach. This was when I was in my late teens. We would spend a week on the beach - soaking up the sun, swimming in the pool and reading books. Often heading to Disney for a day at the park. After my first year of university my mom and her two best friends took all their daughters for a week at St. Pete's. It was during that trip that we discovered the mattress from the hide-a-bed would fit on the lounge chairs, and the daughters slept on the balcony. The sound of the waves hitting the beach at night would lull you to sleep. It was also during that trip that one night we spotted a couple having a quickie down on the beach under (what they thought was) the cover of darkness. Our mothers whooped and hollered when the couple got up and walked away. Heh heh.

7. Atlanta, Georgia - Met Jodi and Hockey Mom. 'nuff said.

8. Pennsylvania - road trip with my parents and my brother. They all snored. I made a desperate plea for ear plugs. We all got along quite well after that.

9. My honeymoon - Mr. Happy and I camped through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York State, before heading back into Canada. One night we set up our tent in the rain in Lake George, NY. When we crawled into our damp sleeping bags we were horrified to see flashes of light and loud bangs. Ugh! Thunder and lightning! It took us a few minutes to figure out that what we were seeing and hearing was fireworks. We had arrived during some sort of Family Fun Week.

10. The Fourth of July - I played clarinet in a marching band from grade 6 - 8. (Don't you dare say "Dork" little Miss Flute Player.) Twice, we played the Fourth of July parades in Pembroke and Eastport, Maine. We spent the afternoons at the fairgrounds where they had "Red Snapper" hot dogs. NASTY!!!! We played a show in the evening somewhere in downtown Eastport. There was a ship in port and I had never seen so many sailors in my life!

I hope y'all are havin' a great holiday!

In knitting news: TA DAH!

River Rapids Socks

Click photo for details.
These are for my SIL who is not only an amazing person whom I love dearly, but a person with considerably larger feet than me. That explains why they look funny at the toes.


  1. Bill has always given me a hard time for saying "over town" -- perhaps its an east-and-west-coast-but-not-in-the-middle thing? And item #2 is awesome. I am laughing, but not *at* you. :)

  2. I don't know why, but this post reminds me of my late father-in-law's favorite joke: "A sign seen at a convenience store said, 'Eat. Get gas.'"

    Happy gas & milk day to you, too. We'd be having a good time if it would stop threatening to thunder or thundering-and-raining for five minutes!

  3. I'm laughing, but mostly because it's scarily familiar ;) We cross the bridge for gas'n milk at home, and go south for outlets and Target.

    Playing the flute and being in a MARCHING BAND are totally different - Dork.
    heh heh
    never heard 'overtown" before...
    never gone for gas and milk BUT I do go for: Target, Kenneth Cole jewelry, del taco chili cheese fries, in and out burgers, carni's frozen chocolate dipped bananas, did I mention Target, shoes, and Target. and shoes.
    oh yah and target.

  5. My husband lived in a border town. They used to go across to buy booze for weddings and were caught more often than not. Yet, they still tried to get away with it.

  6. All we ever had was cruising up and down Robie St and eating at McDs while watching the local kids fight with kids from (insert any town other than Truro here).

    My husband and his friends would come to my town from Tatamagouche to buy booze - the LC employees didn't know them here.

    Nice socks!

  7. I love these stories! I always wondered what it was like living so close to the border there... My aunt lives in Calais and we used to visit there as a kid- both sides of the border. I tended to like the US side better but only because we visited only graves on the Canadian side. ;)