Wednesday, August 18, 2004

On the Road Again...

Yep. We're off again. Wife, son and I are off to the good ole' U.S. of A. We'll be gone for up to 10 days and will visit Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Delaware, New Jersey and New York. And a good time will be had by all.

I love the States. My experiences there have been uniformly positive, with the exception of some border incidents, years ago, with overzealous border officials. Ironically, the treatment at border points appears to have improved, in my experience anyway, since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

About six years ago, my brother and I decided to leave our wives and kids at home and take a trip to Nashville. Why Not?

We left London, Ontario, in my car and crossed the border at Windsor/Detroit. The border official was about to wave us on, after asking the usual questions, but noticed a large envelope on the back seat of my Audi.

"What's that?" he asked.

I turned around to see what he was pointing at and realized that the envelope in question contained a number of original songs that my brother and I had written over a period of years and that we had just rehearsed several days earlier. I informed the agent accordingly and prepared to drive off on our adventure.

"Pull over." the agent said.

Why? Well, it appears that we were somehow a possible threat to the livelihood of U.S. songwriters. Should a record company executive or a famous singer storm my car and force us to take a huge amount of cash for the rights to our songs, well then, gee, Willie Nelson might go broke and not be able to pay his taxes. Didn't Willie owe a bunch of back taxes around that time? Hell, I'd give my songs away for free if someone was foolish enough to record them. I do a lot of things well, but writing songs isn't one of them.

The customs agents proceeded to tear my car apart, in search of who-knows-what. Whatever it was they were looking for, they didn't find it. After an hour or so, we were told that we could go.

We went. The envelope remained on my back seat, untouched and unopened, until we returned to Canada several days later. I guess no-one in Nashville had ever heard of us. No-one mobbed my car, demanding first chance to record our music.


Life is so unfair.

I'll be blogging again when I get back. Will anyone miss me?


  1. Enjoyed your border experience in Windsor. I had a similar set back returning from the "Motor City" carrying a case of American margerine. Apparently the statutes stated I was transporting contraband. The way the officer reacted, you would think it had come direct from Colombia. He threatened to order me to return to the U.S. and take the cooking oil back to where I had purchased it. I said look, why don't you take it from me and do whatever you feel is correct. He refused because he claimed he had no place to store it.

    It was then I came up with the great idea of giving it to the next driver who was returning to the states. The poor driver practically ran me over trying a speedy getaway from my generosity. By now, a simple misunderstanding was growing into a international incident. The border guard was shouting at me to stop interfering with the bridge traffic.

    Suddenly a black driver agreed to take the contraband off my hands, as long as I would let him pay me what I had paid for it. He even gave me the difference in the currency. The custom's guy didn't know whether to poop or go blind. I bet he's told this story many times. I know I have.

    If you should get far enough south to return to your old stamping grounds in Nashville, look up my beautiful
    niece, Joni Wilson who is a professional singer and tell her that old uncle Willy says hello.

  2. You've got to watch out for that black-market margerine!