The Western Swing, July 22

Woke up this morning in Guelph Ontario. Will be setting my head on a pillow this evening in Watrous Saskatchewan.

The plane left Toronto at 10:15 this morning. After a 3-hour flight, it landed in Regina at 11:30. Time zones are wonderful.

All went smoothly for me in Toronto, but not so much for the guy ahead of me in the security scrutiny line. He had one smallish carry-on bag. I don’t know how much he checked in. It doesn’t really matter. The security guy pulled his bag as it came out of the x-ray booth.

“I have some fishing tackle in there,” he said.

“Oh, Oh!” I thought.

The security guy pulled out a pair of needle nose pliers.

“Oh, Oh!” I thought again.

They talked a bit. Maybe the security guy went fishing on his days off. He seemed sympathetic.

“There’s no knife blade on them,” the guy ahead of me said.

“Uh huh,” the security guy said, “I’ll be right back.” He went to check with his supervisor. I mentioned to the guy ahead of me that he should have put them in his suitcase. He agreed and looked crestfallen.

The security guy came back and told the guy ahead of me that he can’t bring them on the plane. The guy ahead of me told the security guy he had just bought them and mentioned how much they cost.

The security guy looked sympathetic and asked the guy ahead of me if he was coming back through Toronto. He was. “You can check your bag in, or you can put them in storage for a dollar a day.”

The security guy brought the guy ahead of me to the back of the line where the storage envelopes were, and where he would have lots of time to consider his options.

Nothing even as remotely exciting happened to me. The security guy had a close look at my lap top – computer, not thigh – and told me I was good to go. I asked him what he was looking for when he examined the keyboard, but he didn’t  say.

The plane took off on time, landed in Regina on time, and the car rental went fine. These are all areas of life where uneventful is a virtue.

I drove to the Regina legislature, which is only a couple of kilometers from the airport. The legislature is a beautiful building, built in 1909 and completed in 1911. Politicians today should look at it and see the value in building for the future.

I left there and headed north, ending the day in the Watrous Motel. A lot of people have told me that Saskatchewan is boring. North West Ontario is scenic, they say. Manitoba is not too bad. Alberta has the Drumheller bad lands and the Rockies. But Saskatchewan? Flat and boring. Get through it before you fall asleep.

After the first day, I disagree. I have now been in every Canadian province, several American states, lots of European countries and I can tell you one thing: I have never seen a boring landscape.

Other than that, here I am. A month and a bit shy of 70. Seventeen hundred miles from home, in a place I’ve never been before, where I don’t know a single soul.

What could possibly go wrong?