Me: “Excuse me sir, could you take a picture of me?”
Louie: “Sure.”(Takes picture of me standing in terminal.)
Me: “Thanks. It's for a blog that I write.”
That was how the exchange between me, fellow passenger Louie and his wife, Penny, began two Fridays ago at a terminal in Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT.
I was there for a 9 am flight to Detroit that would connect with another one taking me to my ultimate destination, London, Ontario Canada. The purpose of the trip was to attend my cousin Scott’s wedding the next day and, due to prior commitments the week of the wedding, I was traveling north of the boarder separately from the rest of my family ho had gone up two days earlier by car.
After snapping of a picture or two on my digital camera to post in this very blog, I gave Louie and Penny both business cards with the blog URL and showed them photos on my phone of how I lost weight by dropping meat, eating better and exercising regularly. I mentioned that I was watching how much processed foods I ate and they started nodding in accord. They were both in their mid to late 60’s (sorry, they didn’t want their pictures taken) and mentioned how they had both reduced the amount of meat they ate on a daily basis, increased their fruit and vegetable intake and mostly avoided processed foods too. Penny and Louie told me that they both felt overall better and had reduced health problems as a result.
It never ceases to amaze me how increasingly relevant healthier eating is becoming to people in this country. You can find people from both younger and older generations taking this topic more and more seriously. I just love that.
Both flights went off without a hitch. I gobbled up the complimentary peanuts and chugged down a Coke on the flight into Detroit. The flight from Detroit to London, Ontario was so empty that almost every passenger had their own row. Getting through customs was an adventure though.
Upon entering the customs gate after touching down in Ontario, all the passengers were told to go over to a side table and fill out a copy of the customs form that our flight crew was supposed to give us on the plane. Thanks Detroit flight crew.
Being a guy traveling alone on a one way ticket to a foreign country made my customs experience even more memorable.
“Sir, I am going to ask you to take a seat on the bench through those double doors over there”, said the twenty-something customs official. “Sure”, I replied, expecting this treatment ahead of time because my father pointed out that due to my above traveling circumstances I would probably be a prime candidate for a brief detainment.
“Is it possible to get my passport stamped?”, I eagerly asked.
“Sure, after we ask you a few questions.”
And with that I went through the double doors and sat down on the bench, occupying myself with watching Gary Oldman and Christian Bale trying to talk some sense into a half deformed Aaron Eckhart on my iPod Touch.
After a few minutes the young customs officer and his older customs companion escorted me into the next room where they had me set my messenger bag down on a counter next to a computer where they were searching through a database to see if I was one of America’s most wanted. The room was dead quiet and empty except for the three of us and after a minute or two the older customs officer seemed to get bored and left. I wondered if this was the most excitement they usually had around here. Were the London, Ontario customs officers the Maytag repairmen of their professional field?
Young Customs Officer couldn’t find anything for a criminal record (I guess the time I slipped an Andes Candy into my pocket at the local drugstore when I was three did not count. Maybe it was because my mother caught me shoving it into my tiny mouth as soon as we stepped out of the store.) and so he proceeded to ask me the same questions over and over again to see if my answers were consistent.
“I am up here for a wedding, officer.”
“My cousin Scott’s wedding, officer.”
“I have no other luggage because I do not want to give Delta anymore of my money then they are morally entitled to, officer.
“My parents brought it up with them when they drove up here earlier in the week, officer.”
“Yes, officer, I am attending a wedding up here tomorrow.”
“My cousin Scott’s wedding officer.”
“It is a one way ticket because I am riding back with my parents on Monday, officer.”
“Yes, only until Monday, officer.”
“My cousin Scott’s wedding, officer.”
“Yes I do like chocolate chip cookies, officer.” (Okay, he really didn’t ask this one.)
And then we finished with a nice search of my messenger bag. Just when young custom’s officer thought he was finished I pointed out yet another pocket for him to explore with his rubber glove encased hands. Being a friendly Canadian customs officer he was thankful for my cooperation.
With no criminal record, unswerving answers to his questioning and nothing suspicious turning up in my bag search he sent me on my way. It was only after I stepped out onto the curb outside that I realized he didn’t make good on stamping my passport like he promised. Darn you crafty Canadian customs officer—it was all a clever charade to avoid stamping my passport!
After a few minutes my mother picked me up from the airport and it was only about a short 10 – 15 drive to my Uncle Peter and Aunt Marlene’s place where we were staying. When we got there they had already set up the giant rented tent in their beautifully landscaped backyard for the following day’s ceremony. We just had to set up some more tables and chairs for that night’s rehearsal dinner.
There were also some munchies on hand that were prepared and laid out for us and other guests that evening. Mmmm…fresh veggies!