Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pop, Ma and Halifax by Margaret Ullrich, part 12, Weeding

We didn't just take Pop and Ma to Folklorama.
A dozen years ago we took them to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I really miss the pre 9/11 days.
No passports.
As Obama saw in the Byward Market, Canada and the U. S. are good neighbors.
The 9/11 terrorists were in the States, with all their papers in order.
All the new border security measures wouldn't have made any difference.
Oh, well...

Paul and I had decided to drive down to New York, pick up my folks, 
drive along the coast, see the Tall Ships while they were in the Maritimes, 
visit a few tourist sights, then drive home.
Simple, right?
With two dogs and my folks... are you kidding?

Our drive from Winnipeg to New York was pleasant.
Our drive from New York to Dartmouth was a little off.
A friend in Halifax had advised us to make reservations because of the Tall Ships.
So we were all set to stay in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
A cheaper motel, but we had to cross a toll bridge to go to Halifax.

We'd had a late start leaving my parents' house.
Ma had Paul pack a few gallons of bottled water for our trip.
Pop had gotten sick during their trip to Trevi.
The guide had told them to not drink the fountain's water.
Pop had to sample the water.
Not good.

When Paul saw how much space the water was taking he had a talk with Ma.
There weren't any Trevi-like fountains on the way or in the Maritimes.
My parents had drunk Canadian water before without any ill effects.
Paul unpacked the water.

Pop, Paul and I took turns driving.
I don't know why, but every time Pop took the wheel, it poured.
For our first night we stopped at a motel in Bangor, Maine.
If we'd had any idea of how the trip would be, we would've stayed.

From Bangor, Maine, to the Canadian border we took the quicker route. 
We ended up mostly driving through the logging area. 
I said, "It'll get better when we get on the main highway." 
Paul pointed out that we were on the main highway. 
It was like the scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
No, we didn't get stuck under a loggers' truck.  
Let's put it this way.  We've had better drives. 
So much for shortcuts.

In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, we unpacked in our shared room at the motel.
There were two restaurants in walking distance.
An Italian and a Chinese.
Pop didn't like Chinese restaurants.
They didn't serve bread.
So, Paul went out to pick up pizza for dinner in our room.
We watched a bit of TV, then went to sleep.

The next morning we went for our free Continental breakfast.
We overheard the desk clerk say she couldn't understand why anybody 
would come to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
She told us Peggy's Cove has just a half hour daily without fog.
The travel brochures never mention fun facts like that.

Saying a couple of prayers - well, we did mention God - we drove to Peggy's Cove.
After all the rain we'd had and the clerk, we weren't expecting much.
Somebody took pity on us.
When we got to Peggy's Cove we had clear weather.

We didn't see any Tall Ships.
We did see lots of friendly Japanese tourists.
This surprised Ma, since she didn't think any tourists came to Canada.
Well, New Yorkers never think people go anywhere but New York for a vacation.

When the fog started to roll in, we went back to our van.
We drove around a bit, then headed back to the motel.
Ma couldn't face another pizza.
The Chinese restaurant was across the street from the motel. 
Ma said, "We are going to eat there." 
So, we went and ordered a dinner for four.
Paul ate about half of the food.

The next morning, heading to breakfast, we again overheard the same 
desk clerk griping about how awful Halifax was.
I really hope that girl managed to move away.
Or at least go into another line of work.

After breakfast we headed back to New York.
Once we crossed the border, Ma started pointing out places to stay.
Augusta... Portland... Bangor.
Pop wanted to get home.
Feeling guilty about the Chinese dinner, we kept driving.

By 7:00 pm we were in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The CAA book said that there was one motel that would accept dogs. 
But the book had made a mistake.
The motel wouldn't accept dogs.
So, we kept driving.

About 9:00 pm we calculated that we'd be in New York by 2:00 am.
By then we were getting punchy from the driving.
Paul and I hi-fived, shouted, "We can do it!" and cackled.
I think the cackle unnerved Pop.
He agreed we should go to a motel.

In Massachusettes Paul found a motel.
From the car we watched as he pantomimed to the clerk about our two small dogs.
The guy agreed to let us stay in a smokers' room.

After Paul booked our room, we went to the McDonald's across the street for dinner. 
We hadn't eaten since noon, and we were famished.
Pop and Paul went for the food.
Ma and I walked the dogs.
For some reason Ma and I thought the key was locked in the car.
We went and pantomimed to Paul through the glass door.
We put on a dandy little show.
No, Paul had not forgotten the key.

Back to the motel...
Pop, Paul and I grabbed the suitcases and the two dog kennels.
Ma held the leashes with our two dogs.
We entered the elevator.
When we got to our floor, Pop, Paul and I walked out, but the dogs wouldn't budge. 
The doors closed, locking Ma and the dogs in the elevator. 
The three of us just stood in the hallway.
The elevator went back to the main floor.  
I collapsed on the floor, laughing hysterically. 
After their ride, Ma and the dogs returned to our floor. 
The dogs had had enough of the elevator and agreed to join us.
The smokers' room stunk and had hundreds of burn holes in the carpet.
We watched a bit of TV, then went to sleep.

The next day's drive went better.
Finally we got back to my parents' house.

My brother George heard about the Chinese restaurant.
Smirking, he asked, "So, how'd you like the food, Pop."
"Let's put it this way.  I ate."
George smiled.  "No bread on the table, right?"

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