I will start this post with a disclaimer borrowed from Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory: “I am not insane! My mother had me tested” (it’s been a while, though).
Further disclaimer: any resemblance to actual people (except Jim and I and our kids) is completely coincidental…this piece is strictly entertainment (historical details are accurate). If it makes you want to come and visit Saint John, it’s a bonus!
It’s all my friend, Omawarisan‘s, fault. A few months ago, I stumbled innocently upon Oma’s blog after he was Freshly Pressed for the umpteenth time…Oma has his own
nutty delightfully-skewed perspective on ordinary aspects of everyday life…things most of us never take the time to think about! When I found out about his hare-brained brilliant plan to send an action figure of Angelina Jolie to bloggers around the world, I signed up right away to be a stop on “The Jolie”‘s Canadian Tour. That’s how this box arrived in my mailbox last Friday:
The Jolie is the “famous visitor” I referred to in this post last week.
I could hear The Jolie yelling as we pulled up to the community mailbox where Jim and I pick up our mail…it had been a couple of days since we’d checked it because of a snowstorm. I decided to leave her in the box until she calmed down a little…I could see that Oma had spared no expense in sending The Jolie to Canada!
I prepared a pork stir-fry for the family…I had to turn on the exhaust fan to drown out the swearing coming from the box on the counter! After supper, I released our guest. I checked the box in vain for luggage…The Jolie didn’t even have a fanny-pack! What kind of tourist comes to Saint John, New Brunswick without one of those?
The Jolie drowned her sorrows in a cup of King Cole tea (made in Sussex, New Brunswick…it recently began using paper for teabags after its supply of gauze dried up…I swear I’m not making this up!) as she regaled us with the story of her trip. Apparently, she was awakened to the sound of the packing tape on her box being cut by an eager young Canada Customs officer looking for contraband. “He was no Brad Pitt!” The Jolie snorted. “He just about ruined my boots with that box cutter! I would have sued his ass!” She paused to regain her composure before continuing. “Then he wanted to look in my backpack! I’ve got $1000 worth of the finest cosmetics money can buy in there…do you think I wanted his filthy paws rummaging through my personal things? I told him to pick on someone his own size!” I assumed that there had been no further incident, since The Jolie had been delivered without “paperwork” or phone calls from the federal government.
I showed The Jolie to her room to rest from her ordeal. She wasted no time in soliciting sympathy from whoever she could find…this is how I found her a half hour later when I came to make sure she had everything she needed:
I sternly suggested The Jolie “get some sleep”, because we had a big day of touring ahead of us on Saturday.
The Jolie stumbled downstairs just in time for lunch the next day…I made her my usual Saturday brunch of “Toad in the Hole” (eggs fried in the middle of a bagel cut in half). She ate all of hers and half of mine (in between mouthfuls, she whined about the trains she heard in the middle of the night, and “that mutt” which was scratching on her bedroom door)! Jake had been remarkably restrained…he hadn’t tried to eat her even once!
Jim loaded his Nikon D90 into his camera bag, and he and the girls and I got into the Toyota Corolla to go to town. Attempting to divert attention from her transgression the night before, The Jolie commented that she’d never ridden in an “economy car” before. She wondered if our “regular driver” was on vacation. She balked at putting on her seatbelt, but we told her the car wouldn’t move until she had it on.
Our first stop was guaranteed to remind The Jolie of home: the Saint John sign at Fort Howe…everybody refers to Saint John as “Hollywood North” (not really…that’s Vancouver!).
The next destination was where every tourist who ever visited Saint John wants to go: the Reversing Falls. The Jolie posed with The Loyalist Man, who used to be the unofficial Saint John mascot before some marketing genius from Toronto “rebranded” our city:
The Jolie complained bitterly when she saw the actual “Falls”, which are technically just rapids…they’re nothing like “backwards Niagara Falls”! “That’s it?” she asked. I hope she’s not planning to stop in Moncton while she’s here: The Tidal Bore will probably live up to its name…
Then it was on to Carleton Martello Tower, which was built on the West Side during the War of 1812 to guard the land approaches to the city from the pesky Americans. Unfortunately, it was closed for the winter…The Jolie was keen to check out the gun turrets! She had to be content to pose outside, though.
We headed uptown to show The Jolie our premiere performing arts facility, the Imperial Theatre:
The original Imperial began life as a vaudeville theatre back in 1913, became a movie theatre in the late 1920’s, and then a Pentecostal church in the 1950’s. In 1982, the theatre was purchased by a dedicated group of volunteers who restored it to its former theatrical status over a 12-year period. It was formally reopened on May 24, 1994. The 900-seat venue has hosted musicians and theatrical performances from around the world over the past 16 years, and countless performers have declared it their “favourite place to play in Canada.”
*Special thank you to Jim, who lay down on the sidewalk on his stomach to get the last shot, and to the people walking by, who watched what we were doing, but didn’t call “the men in the white coats.”
More highlights of The Jolie’s tour coming up…