I’ve long had a fascination with borders (No, not the bookstore…Well, actually I did have a fascination with them,but now they are closed).   No, the borders I am referring to are the kind that divide countries.  Rachel thinks my fascination with them is a little strange and maybe it is.  But I was relieved to read an article in the New York Times last week that made me realize I am not the only one.   I remember traveling with my grandparents once and staying in the village of Calais, Maine on the border with New Brunswick.  At the time there was just a small checkpoint and a stone-wall separating Calais from its Canadian counterpart, St. Stephen.  I was 14-years-old and thought it would be fun to explore on foot one evening, until I accidentally walked over the partly unmarked border and found myself surrounded by Mounties questioning me on where I was going and why.

I didn’t cross the border into Canada again for probably another 20 years when I drove across at Windsor, Ontario.  It’s always struck me as quaint that all they have is a tiny sign marking the border, yet I’m not sure what I expect, a continuous 3-piece orchestra announcing the location?  I’m always nervous for some reason whenever I cross into Canada (maybe it was the experience with the Mounties), so much so that I sometimes bobble the most basic questions.

“What’s your name, sir?”


“hmmmm, why don’t you pull over there and go into immigration for some more questions.”

SIGH.  I’ve been to Canada 7 or 8 times over the past 5 years and on probably half the occasions I stutter or stumble over some simple question and find myself dragged into customs. For awhile I knew the immigration staff by the name (just kidding).  When Rachel and I were visiting an Amish settlement near Rexford, Montana last year it turns out the cabin we were staying in was only 4 miles from the British Columbia border crossing of Roosville.  Was I crazy for just wanting to drive those miles to look at it?  Maybe…so we didn’t, but I am kicking myself for not now.

I long to travel someday south of the border to Mexico.  Below is a State Department file  photo of the border at Tijuana, with the US on the left and Mexico on the right.  What a dramatic difference! I just think it would be so neat.   But I’ll try not to fumble my name if I ever cross there.   Have any of our readers crossed over into Mexico?  What was the experience like?   I’ll post tomorrow about why borders came to mind today!