On a somewhat regular basis I get an almost bubbling up of a need to get out and about. I want to go somewhere different, see new things or go back to places I’ve seen but I haven’t seen for quite some time. More often than not, a whim hits me and I find myself headed out, alone, to seize the day, just wander, my camera in tow.
Now I know many people would find this unappealing. They wouldn’t have any desire to do such a thing on their own.
I’d been thinking about Point Roberts for a while. It’s a place I used to go many years ago with a friend on a semi-regular basis, especially on beautiful weekends in August. We’d drive across the border, unload our bikes and ride a regular route past the golf course, to the lighthouse park on the ocean, then on to the marina, and farther along to that great little South Beach enclave down Crystal Beach Road. There’s a bench there with two flags painted across the back — a maple leaf and the stars and strips. Or there used to be.
We’d linger a while on a beautiful summer day under the reach of a lone Arbutus growing almost horizontally out from the cliff and we’d eat our snacks. We’d jump back on the bikes and head down the big hill to Boundary Bay, meandering along the beach and then finally head back up the ginormous hill, weaving across the road back and forth, all our effort required to not have to push our bikes up the hill, jubilant if we reached the top intact.
We’d usually stop at the end of the day for a drink at the little place with the great patio called Brewsters.
Now, perhaps the idea of a middle aged woman just wandering and not having a specific reason to be going anywhere, especially in this day and age where every minute of the day is prescribed with deadlines and activities and usefulness extraordinaire is just too strange for border guards. Maybe it was the fact that I was alone and when they peeked into my passport it showed that I’d been to Thailand and Cambodia a few years back. Maybe it was just completely random. I got handed a gold sheet that had the letters NNS written on it and was told to report inside. I got asked a few questions, the border guard typing madly as I answered. I’d love to know what he was putting in there. “Needs to dress better.” “Looks like a hippy”. “Crazy chic on a walkabout?” Whatever.
He wanted to know when I had last been to the U.S. He wanted to know what I did for a living. Good question, I thought. “Was I picking up a package?” I answered them all with appropriate humbleness all the while wondering, if I was up to no good, why couldn’t I just pick a package up in Canada? I’m so innocent in matters of criminality that I can’t even figure out how it works. Would I stand on the shoreline while someone in a boat threw me a package? Crazy! Least likely person to be up to no good. Put that in your computer.
Anyway, with my passport handed back, I wandered a bit down at the beach. It was cold. I decided to check out Brewsters. I was seated beside a couple and the wife immediately started to talk to me.
Turns out they’d been high school sweethearts in Whittier California (they’d met at a youth center and he had to dump his girlfriend at the time AND he still felt bad about that). Imagine. He still felt bad. Fifty years later. That part was the most amazing to me.
They now reside in Bellevue,Washington. They are selling the place they’ve owned in Point Roberts for 10 years. He has a heart condition and at some point had to be airlifted back to Bellingham. I learned there is such a thing called helicopter insurance in case you’re in need of a helicopter to airlift you quickly to a hospital. I wonder if they have that in Canada.
We chatted throughout lunch and she invited me back to see her garden. Of course, I took her up on the offer and got the full tour, including of the house. I learned they make garden ornaments from old china they collect and that they sell those in the summer at the Point Roberts Market, vendors totaling about five. I learned she’s a thrift store, garage sale aficionado.
Because they are selling their place – two bathrooms, three bedrooms – for $169,000 (US) she has begun putting prices on all the stuff she wants to unload in preparation for a big garage sale. And as we toured the house, I came across this beautiful little oak dresser with a swivel mirror and instantly fell in love. She has put my name on it. In the meantime, does anyone want to buy a pre-fab house in Point Roberts that’s in great shape? If not, perhaps you have $899,000 Canadian to purchase the waterfront property of their neighbors, Canadians who live in Tsawwassen, but who are selling their 10 acres on Pender Island.
It was the kind of day I love. I ventured out on my own feeling a little melancholy and in the venturing, I managed to find myself a little close-to-home adventure and that was exactly what I was hoping for.
PS: I didn’t feel like I wanted to ask them for a photo, so that’s why there isn’t one.