2013.03.13 Gaspé! We almost went to Canada

Written by David Green.

Funny I should dig up an old column about a mini-vacation 20 years ago since that’s the reason I’m running an old column. I dared leave town last weekend and now I’m still catching up.

 By DAVID GREEN

With a reporter on the staff once again, my wife decided I could spare one working day out of seven. She quickly set forth planning a mini-vacation, confirming motel reservations before something came along to change my mind.

I don’t know the details of this, but it had something to do with a trial membership in a motor club which offered greatly reduced rates for lodging. We had the list of eligible hotels and motels; all we had to do was choose where to go. What came to mind was an old family proverb: Passez l’eau sud. I interpret this as “Pass water south.”

All of our water is passed into Bean Crick which meanders down toward Archbold and provides the residents there the substance of their drinking pleasure. Archbold wasn’t on the lodging list, so we turned our attention further south to the confluence of the Bean, the Auglaize and the Maumee: the muddy riverbank which is Defiance.

Four-year-old Maddy dialed the phone number while Colleen read the numbers. A voice answered on the other end. Colleen asked if this was the Defiance Inn. For some reason the man said it was. She asked about reserving a room. “Hey Charley, she wants a room,” the guy said to someone else. There was a degree of confusion vibrating through the lines.

“Is this Defiance, Ohio?” she asked.

“You’re a long way from Ohio, honey,” he said, explaining he was from a fire department on the Gaspé Peninsula in eastern Quebec.

Note: For anyone interested in passing water east, where the St. Lawrence conflues with the Atlantic, the area code is 418, not 419.

A good time was had by all most of the time. The motel room was fine. The pool was lots of fun. The hot tub was relaxing. The movies on the cable channel were entertaining. There was no polka music. (When Colleen called Wednesday and Thursday, both times she was asked to speak louder because of the polka music.)

We were a little concerned when we drove into the motel parking lot and spotted a van from the Cincinnati Zoo. But actually, nothing bizarre happened at the motel. We went immediately to the pool and my only complaint is that I didn’t bring my shirt with the stains on the front. I could have bleached those out in no time in that pool water.

After a swim we headed out to dinner and discovered why some people don’t like Chinese food. Ordinarily we’re big fans of this cuisine. We opened the menu and there was a bad omen: the very first item on the list was Pu Pu Platter.

Personally, I had a very strange experience at that restaurant. After the second bite of my dinner, I felt my head expanding. I sat there for a few moments, then took another bite. It felt as though my cheekbones were weightless and levitating ever so slightly.

I weighed the dilemma in my somewhat altered mind: I hate to waste food, but on the other hand I didn’t even know where the Defiance hospital was located. I kept eating.

After a few minutes I didn’t notice this sensation much, but I made Colleen the designated driver on the route back to our room.

We decided that a 30-hour vacation to a city less than an hour away is a pretty good thing. It was all new to us and there’s plenty to do. I read a local newspaper while Ben threw ice chunks into the Maumee (on its slow journey toward the Gaspé) while the others checked out the library.

I enjoyed standing on the bluff overlooking the rivers and thinking about Mad Anthony Wayne’s fort. You look across to the north where Chief Pontiac was born and then over to the site of the largest Indian council ever known. And you can stand next to the point where the survey of all land in this part of the country north to Canada was started.

All that history is enough to make my cheekbones rise.

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