Biscuits and Gravy “The Pier”
Packing all their worldly possessions with them into tight, rickety old suitcases, trunks, and bags, they shuffled along in crowded lines towards their future.
At the end sat the officers of the government, carefully looking over all paperwork that each filled out in kind to permit them entry into this new place.
They came from places far and wide. Cultures mixing together in a sudden collision of faiths, creeds, languages, and mannerisms they waited on baited breath to breathe the first few fresh breaths of opportunity.
Newcomers, immigrants, young and old clambered along Pier 21 and others on the east coast of Canada for the chance to become part of this wild opportunity that is North America.
Much like then, albeit with some mild differences, that process is repeated. Just this past Thursday I watched as lines of newcomers stood for hours on end waiting for their chance to speak with an officer about immigrating to Canada. A mixture of culture, race, creed and language could be found among all those in line but each had one thing in common.
You see, despite the standing, the waiting and the scope of the wild mixture in people they all carried a wide smile on their face. For today they knew that they would be coming to Canada to stay, some finally removed from the turmoil, poverty, or injustice of some distant land.
As the line bore on, slowly whittling down some of those faces began to change to that of anxiety at the uncertainty of what the officer’s decision might be.
You see, the anxious face in that line, steadfast as it may be, was mine. Standing there waiting was the culmination of more than two years of waiting through the application process.
All the preparation, paperwork and mounds upon mounds of evidence to support my application all boiled down to a simple stamp on my file. Would it be favorable or would I be looking at the next Greyhound bus out of Edmonton?
Walking into the surprisingly large interview room I was met by the smiling face of the officer and a cordial greeting. Much to the appeasement of my nerves, she was light hearted and kept that smile throughout the process only stopping to inquire jestingly why I was so quiet.
At first I wondered if it was just to dull the blow of that fateful decision, and then, with a single stroke of her hand she stamped my form, ‘Approved’. Just like that, in that split second of an instant, I had become a Permanent Resident of Canada.
Almost six years previous I had set foot for the first time in Canada, wondering about what my future might hold. Then, as if the time had just swept by suddenly I stood with a paper grasped in my hands proving that I would no longer need to be concerned with that ever elusive term ‘deportation’.
Now, I can’t vouch for the fact of any judge of character on the part of the powers that be, yet I can say that I was very relieved to have this obstacle in life finally draw to an end.
As I walked the narrow causeway leading out of the immigration office, I couldn’t help but liken the events and the feel to what certainly must have been the feel for all our ancestors regardless of their destination.
Laughter filled the corridors as applicants found the joy they have seeking for so long.
No doubt even my ancestors, centuries ago now, had done the same in my home and now I was seeing it first hand with these pilgrims to the pier.