by Glynis M. Belec
After we both graduated we lost touch for a while and life happened. Oddly enough we found out later that our children were born in the same year. We also found out that neither of us pursued a career in nursing.
Fast forward 30 years...Fran still has perfect hair and a killer sense of humour. Even though my sweet friend moved to Florida, our friendship has been rekindled and we communicate regularly. She was more than overjoyed when I shared how I had fallen in love with that same Jesus Friend she had introduced me to so many years prior.
So when I called her out of the blue that day in 2008 to tell her I had just been diagnosed with cancer, she donned her wings and became my long distance angel. Whenever I needed a lift or a word, she would be there coaching and encouraging; praying and prophesying. I look back now and understand how much I depended on her to see me through.
When I got the email last week from Fran's hubby that her ride fell through and she needed to be picked up from Buffalo airport and taken to Woodstock, Ontario, I quickly made some last minute arrangements and plugged in my GPS. Any excuse to spend some quality time with my Florida bud. Just because I had never crossed the border alone in my life before, nor driven such a distance was no reason I couldn't do it now.
My GPS was ready to set sail and it looked like a straight through trip. All went well. I headed for the Queenston Bridge. The road there was amazingly empty. I had noticed the sign earlier that said there would be 30-90 minute wait. Poppycock, I thought. There were no vehicles around. How could the wait be that long? As I neared the bridge, I saw why there were no vehicles on the road. All 500 were waiting at the border [or so it seemed!] I grinned and looked at my watch, feeling thankful that I had an hour to spare. Now I knew why there were no cars on the road. Other clever drivers had opted for another route!
|One hour and twenty minutes wait at the border!|
As I waited, I planned my approach as to how I would handle crossing the border. Surely if I was chatty and cheerful, that would brighten the poor border guard's day and make him or her feel at ease. One hour and fifteen minutes later I pulled my car up to the little border booth. I smiled and said
'Hello. How are you?"
"Give me your passport and take off your sunglasses!" was the monotone response.
I did as I was told, still smiling. The guard stared at me and then asked me questions about where I was going, how long would I be, if I was taking food or liquor into the US. I told him about the cheese in my Tupperware container that I gobbled down before I got to the border and the four bottles of water in my bag and the crackers. I think I saw him raise his eyebrows.
"Do you have more than a $1000 dollars?"
"I wish," I answered still grinning.
He gave me that just answer the questions and don't be a smart Alec, look. I started to catch on. He stared at me again. My smile diminished when I realized he did not want to be cheered up.
"Open your trunk."
"I'm glad I vacuumed my car yesterday." I tried smiling again.
Mr. Border Guard did not look impressed. I think I saw him shake his head as he gave me back my passport and sent me on my way. I was glad to be on the road again.
As I travelled merrily along I was rehashing my behaviour at the border and then I remembered one of the questions Mr. Border Guard asked. The one about money. I shivered as I remembered that not only did I not have $1000 on my person, I also did not have any US money of any description on me. Sweat trickled down my brow as I saw the sign for toll booth coming up. I was in the middle of nowhere so I knew I couldn't get money changed. I saw the sign for the last turn-off before the toll booth. I quickly took it. I had no idea where I was, only that it was a bit of a creepy looking area with dilapidated buildings ominously looming all around. I pulled into a parking lot of a run-down abandoned gas station to reprogram my GPS. My over-active imagination told me to lock my doors. Soon I set sail on a route without toll booths.
All I can say, was I didn't have a clue where I was. Obviously I was being led along the scenic route. I saw a house on fire, a traffic jam, a lake, down town somewhere. Poor Franny was greatly relieved to see me - half an hour later than I had originally said.
We hugged and chucked my Florida Angel's luggage into the back seat.
The return trip was another adventure that I perhaps will share another day. [Who knew there was a Woodstock in New Brunswick!]
Fran still has perfect hair, perfect manners and still loves Jesus. There is just something special about a true friendship.
You know...the part about how true friendship isn't about being inseparable. It's about being separated and nothing changes!