I have to confess that post-election, I have been afraid of what is happening in my neighbouring country – rallies and rhetoric, protests, and a president-elect who seems more prepared for battle than for harbouring peace. Doubts about the safety of travelling in the States at this time have crossed our minds.
“Keep your political opinions to yourself!” my husband cautioned.
No worries, I’m not about to spout off to people who carry guns for their own personal protection. (The worse thing I carry is an inhaler, in case of an asthma attack; and panty liners, in case of …well, leaks.)
“And don’t mention that there are Muslims in our family!”
Check that! In other words, keep to myself, don’t get personal with anyone and we’ll be alright. Oh boy – for an outgoing, generally loquacious person, I might turn out to be my own worst enemy.
As we drive toward the border I read news stories about Canadians being turned back at customs, about phones being confiscated, and citizens being questioned about their political viewpoints. My stomach is in a knot. Will it be discovered that my family group texts the Obama, Biden memes? Could that be the fatal flaw that will end our trip before it begins?
Of course, nothing happens at customs, other than a friendly: “Enjoy yourselves”, and I soon realize that most of our travel will be on major highways where we’ll encounter only fellow motorists.
As I relax, I notice that each state has its own particular charm, and all provide Welcome Centers with easily accessible parking (even for big rigs) and clean and friendly facilities.
When we stop at our first restaurant for lunch, I discover that tea in America comes iced and either ‘sweet’ or unsweet, and if you want hot tea with milk and sugar, you have to say so. And once you order a beverage, it’s not only bottomless, it comes with an offer of one for the road. How above and beyond the call of service is that?
As we travel further, and wander into more food places, I am called “Honey” and “Sweetie” and find myself returning such terms of endearment.
How, I think to myself, can you be angry with anyone who addresses you so sweetly?
At each of our RV stops, we encounter beauty, and fellow voyagers, some with stories like our own. No one mentions politics, and while one says she’ll pray for me, religion has not been brought up.
Until, we meet up with my brother. He and his wife are staunch Trump supporters. I am proud to say, I hold my tongue appropriately.
I am willing to admit at this point that all that we see on television is only a small part of the whole, and that fear, not philosophical differences is the real enemy.
Next: Dining highlights.