Decided to take a trip north as the job had ended, and with the way the world is going needed some time to pray. St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Canada, has worked miracles for me in the past so decided it was time for a visit. It had been 8 years, though St. Joseph and I remain closely in touch.
The trip up 87 North, or the Northway to locals, was perfect. Sun was shining and High Peaks of the Adirondacks were dusted with snow. This drive is the most beautiful in our Country and for 13 years working for the NYS Department of Corrections I was able to enjoy this scenery as I drove to prison site visits.
What a wonderful trip down memory lane.
While I had reviewed an enormous amount of websites regarding entry into Canada apparently I did not review the correct ones. A quite testy border patrol agent did not look kindly on this 65 year old with Florida plates saying she was living in Brooklyn and wanting to go to St. Joseph’s Oratory to pray. He firmly told me I needed a PCR Covid Test available 10 miles down the road for $150., and to complete an online application for entry into Canada.
Once denied entry I returned to the US Border Patrol and spoke with a very kind, young American agent who calmly reviewed options with me. Sitting in the Walgreen’s parking lot down the road I completed the very involved Canadian questionnaire, and found I was accepted for entry. Next step was the COVID test which besides $150. could take 3 hours for results. Having drove 7 hours and paid for the night’s lodging decided to take my chances with the next step.
The staff at the Cornerstone Drug and Gift in Rouses Point, New York, could not have been more helpful to this old bag who lacks computer skills. After successfully entering the computer data with one gal, another placed me in a tent and had me q tip my nose in a circular fashion five times in each nostril. While the website stated it takes 2-3 hours to get results I had my negative results in 30 minutes and was on my way.
At the Canadian border I met another border patrol agent and found he was familiar with my case. I even got the impression he wished I went home. Showing him my negative paper copy test results and email authorization allowing Canadian entry did not seem to impress him. I was told to park and enter the border patrol building for further screening.
Following directions I went into the building and found 4 others waiting. I asked the agent at the window what I did wrong and he grunted for me to sit down. Once seated I asked the other folks how long this could take and why we were detained. None seemed to know, however, one young man said he was detained the last time for over an hour. Apparently, he came to Canada often.
When I heard this I asked the grunting officer at the window if I could get a book from my car. He allowed this. Upon return to the building with book in hand, my name was called. Wait time was about 10 minutes.
A female officer questioned me regarding my Florida license plates and why I was living in Brooklyn. Next question was, “When did I leave my job?” Then questions regarding my daughter..where she was, her work, and the dates of the Sundance Film Festival. I found myself revealing the event went virtual, the vaccination rate of Utah citizens, and how and why she was on the west coast after the festival had ended.
Then there was the question if I was a nun because I was staying in housing on the grounds of St. Joseph Oratory. Finally, the older female border patrol agent overhearing all this intervened and guess she believed what I was saying to be true as passage into Canada was allowed. Still quite shaken I took the receipt with the numbers to open the auto gate for entrance into Canada. WHEW!
The Canadian National Anthem
God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada.