One crazy last day


It was bound to happen—one last crazy day in a crazy holiday. We had been fleeing Arizona because our Canadian government urged all Canadians to come home, “while we can.” That sounded ominous. Our last week in Arizona was spent mainly talking about the pandemic and what to do about it.

From Sioux Falls South Dakota, the land of the free in the west we headed for home. Much to our surprise after travelling all the way from Arizona and finding it very difficult to find a restaurant other than take-out restaurants or drive-through restaurants, both of which are a bit inconvenient for travellers, we found out that anything goes in South Dakota. Last night we ate in a restaurant where there were no rules. No social distancing and the attitude was do what you want. After all we were in the land of the free? But were we in the land of the dumb? Were we dumb? We were dying (I hope not literally) to eat in a restaurant so we did it.

We cleaned our table, menu, and did not touch anyone or anything we did not know was “clean.” We had been told no standard items would be brought to the table that had not been cleaned specifically for us at our table. That sounded good. Was it? We ate a great meal.

In the morning we paid particular attention to the weather forecast as we had heard about a storm coming in from the west. We had just come from Colorado where they were expecting a blizzard. Don’t they always travel west? Like to where we were and where we were headed? Friends phoned us while we were traveling and they were in Colorado caught in that blizzard and it did not seem like fun.

Well we soldiered on. First I-29, normally a busy highway was eerily empty. Only a few lonely (crazy?) souls were on the road. Were we stupid? That made driving easier. But we had a variety of weird driving conditions on this last day. We drove through fog, snow, rain, freezing rain, blowing snow, and snow packed roads. It changed between those conditions about every mile or so. Fro about 6 hours we drove with constant stress. It never stopped being tricky, but never got dangerous so we thought. There were a few vehicles that had slid into the ditch or meridian. We drove carefully but steadily.

We also kept worrying about what would happen at the border. Canada just announced today that the border was closed to all except Canadian and American citizens and only for essential travel. We considered ourselves “essential” of course. Would the border authorities agree? We had also been advised that if we showed signs of the coronavirus we would not be admitted to Canada. On the entire trip from Arizona we worried that we might develop symptoms. Of course we did not want to get sick. After all we were in the high-risk category of old people with underlying conditions. What would they do if they detected symptoms? We would actually already be in Canada when we reported to the customs authorities at the border. If Canada turned us back would we be able to drive back into the United States?  Likely they would not be keen to have us back. Would we have to camp at the border? Thankfully none of that happened. The Customs official hardly looked at us and believed us when we said we had no symptoms.

We were instructed at the border we would have to “self-isolate” for 14 days. When we got home we were lucky to have some angels of mercy. My wonderful sister Barb and brother-in-law Harv had purchased some essential supplies for us and delivered delicious home made soup. She even added Street Smart candies because she knows how much I like them. Wow! Good friend Garry Giesbrecht delivered tasty stew and offered to pick up essentials. And not just liquor either. Another good friend Cyndi Friesen also offered to get stuff. We were very lucky.

There was one inconvenience. Our television service could not be reconnected for some bizarre reason, even though we had phoned ahead a couple of days and been told it would be all ready when we arrived. Now we found out they could not send a techie guy to fix it either. Technical people were not allowed in our home. This was a serious annoyance as we began a 14-day quarantine. And there was nothing we could do about it. But we soon realized it was not elegant to schlem about it. After all we were safe and sound and at home. Around the world people have been suffering seriously from the coronavirus and its consequences. We just had to buck up and stop complaining.

Friends and relatives phoned or emailed or texted us to see how we were doing. Life was good. Very good. Yet we think about those who don’t have it so good and wish them all the best in these difficult circumstances.

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