Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

“My wife isn’t. She was”

WEDNESDAY, August 4 – ‘Hey, guys, did you brush your teeth?’  Okay, we’re off. A last mental check before we leave the hotel room and head for Niagara Falls.  We’re going to visit this miracle of nature from the Canadian side, so we’ll need more than wallet and car keys.

It’s really hot out, so there’s sunscreen  in the backpack. Also the passports, mine Dutch, theirs American. We’ll be crossing the border only a few hundred yards away. More important yet are the death certificate, birth certificates, and our marriage certificate. I know all the horror stories about the American immigration service, but all our documents are in order. No sweat.

This is the downside of traveling with children who bear their mother’s name. Border guards are extra alert with the risk of kidnapping always in the back of their minds. Entering Canada wasn’t a problem. The woman wanted to know if the children were mine. Yep. And that was that.  ‘Have a nice day, Sir.’ Jennifer loved Canada, the people being so nice.

Getting back into the States, via the famous Rainbow Bridge over the falls, was a bit more complicated. A couple of obvious questions about my tourist visa and the date of our trip back to Holland.  And then the identity of the children: they dutifully answered the questions, stating in turn:  ‘I’m Dutch-American’.

The woman gave all three of us a searching look. ‘I assume that your wife is an American citizen.’

I reply: ‘She was.’

No doubt my eyes tell the whole story. Almost immediately she hands me the passports. ‘And have a nice day.’

Sander takes the passports and says, ‘Good thing you corrected her.’

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