October 23, 2013

Language barrier can be a challenge

On a nice fall day last week, I journeyed north to Canada to attend the burial of a dear friend. The red, orange and yellow leaves, lit by the sunshine, made for a beautiful drive.

I have always loved the Canadian back roads. My father used to take us kids for rides on the winding ones, give the car some speed and go over the knolls, “cahoos” as he called them, causing us to raise off the seat. We loved it, almost like a roller-coaster ride at the fair.

I checked my directions ahead of time. I remembered going to the same little cemetery with my friend to pay respects to her parents. We used to drive through the Mooers border crossing, proceed to the intersection of Covey Hill Road, turn left and drive for a distance. I thought the church was on Covey Hill.

Her family said that wasn’t quite right, that I should drive to the intersection in Hemmingford, turn left onto Route 202 and drive until I see the church and graveyard.

When I turned onto 202, I passed road signs printed in French. My French is limited to “Nord” and “Sud,” learned when I used to drive family to the Montreal airport. It looked like the signs had an arrow, pointing to the right, so I took it to mean they applied to a side road.

I had been driving for about 3 miles, enjoying the stone walls and French-Canadian architecture, when suddenly I noticed a very large power shovel completely blocking the road, clearing a ditch. Stopping my truck, I sat in the middle of the road for a minute, trying to figure out if he was going to move and let me pass. That didn’t happen.

So, I made a three-point turn around on a somewhat narrow road with a very large Toyota Tundra and headed back to Hemmingford. When I got to the side road near the signs, I figured I’d hang a left and go down the road, thinking I’d be beyond the road work and proceed to the cemetery.

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