Ilze Berzins


Boy, was I ever tired when we finally found a motel! I jumped right into bed next to Mummy and refused to budge.

After a harrowing six hour journey, we had made it to L’Ange-Gardien, Quebec

Back in Ottawa, Dad had put me in the Volvo station wagon which was on the trailer behind the big U-Haul truck. I had no idea what was going on. I was all alone.

As we drove away from the U-Haul pickup place torrential rain started pounding down. The trailer began to sway back and forth and buckle up and down. Trying to get a measure of control I crawled up forward into the driver’s seat.  But I could do nothing since the wheel was locked and the ignition key was out.

This nightmarish journey seemed endless. We had left Ottawa at 5pm. Driving through Montreal 18-wheelers passed on both sides, horns blaring. Ambulances shrieked, their flashing lights glaring in the rain-drenched car windows. Cop sirens wailed. Pandemonium reigned.  We had entered a disaster zone. I feared that none of us would ever get out alive.

No one knew where they were driving. Because of the dark and the downpour the lane markings couldn’t be seen. Some cars were weaving from one guard rail to the other across four lanes of the highway. Any moment we were about to crash.

I was so scared that, if Dad had not house-trained me, I would have caused a flood in the driver’s seat.

My mind shut out the present terror and back-tracked me to the relative peace of my former life. I was back on Mount Pleasant in our sweet little cottage home. But there was  tension in the air. Shortly before leaving our home Mum and Dad had been back and forth about some folks called Moss and Beaver. I guess they’re the ones living in the little house now. I heard they have two cats. The stuff debated was way over my head but, as far as I’m concerned, the less said about Moss and Beaver and the cats the better.

Now, back to the journey.

After a good night’s sleep in L’Ange-Gardien we headed for the US border. At around eleven Dad pulled up at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection crossing at Canaan, Vermont. I could tell that both Mum and Dad were nervous.

A rookie officer ambles up to the driver’s side where Dad is sitting. Dad asks if he can get out to stretch his legs. Apparently that’s a no-no.

“Don’t get out of your vehicle,” rookie orders after taking Mum and Dad’s passports.

There follows a long, silent waiting period. No bathroom breaks, no stretching of legs allowed.

Finally back-up arrives. A senior-looking lady descends from her SUV and glances our way before disappearing into the office.

More waiting. What’s up? Are they going to search the U Haul? Has there been advance warning from Bedwetter Land or from Moss and Beaver claiming we took off with their garden hose?

Finally, rookie ushers Mum and Dad into the office. I note that rookie is wearing a real gun in his holster. Scary.

I tune in: Yadda yadda until we get to the really scary part.

Rookie to Mum:

“Have you ever been arrested?”




“Were you charged?”




“What for?”


“Assaulting a police officer.”

Whew! I can see from my perch in the back of the Volvo that rookie blanches. Mum’s cool. Dad’s rolling his eyes.


“But I was acquitted.”

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