Letter to the editor: Memories of a remarkable WRFN elder expressed before “fact” corrections

To the Expositor:

Thanks go to Mr. Drystek for concurring with me that the issue of keeping or not keeping the United States/Canada border closed should be based on fact not hearsay (October 21, Page 4). Also, thanks go to Mr. Drystek for mentioning my name four times in his letter. That is four times more than I have ever been mentioned in any letter. Going forward, Mr. Drystek, please call me Bob. My Dad was always referred to as Mr. Taylor. He’s been gone now for 24 years. During the 28 summers he spent in and around Manitoulin Island, he developed a great relationship with many members of the Whitefish River First Nation. Dad had a hunt camp that we shared with ants, mice, bats, and the occasional raccoon. The caretakers were Archie and Vi McGregor. During the summer of 1962, the floating dock was practically submerged. Anyone stepping on the dock was guaranteed to get wet feet. So, during the following winter, Archie built Dad a new floating dock, made with trees. Archie sent Dad an invoice for $250, which Dad promptly paid. (Remember, in the ‘60s $250 was a lot of money.) When we all arrived at the camp that following summer, we were amazed at the quality of the dock. Its deck had to have been at least three feet above the water. When Archie and Vi came by the camp for a social visit and to see how we were settling in, Dad pulled out his checkbook and wrote Archie another check for $250. Archie held up his hand in protest, saying “No, you’ve already paid me.” Dad said “That was then, this is now” and handed Archie the check. (I’ve digressed again, sorry.)

COVID cases are up in the United States and around the world. However, while I cannot speak for any other country, in the United States the nationwide deaths have dropped from a high of close to 3,000 individuals per day on April 15 to a low of just over 1,000 cases per day as of October 28. A two-thirds reduction in death rates is a strong showing of progress. The United States is close to having a vaccine. Pfizer Corporation has just announced that in its first analysis, Pfizer’s vaccine has proven to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing infection.

It is important to keep in mind that roads, bridges, and tunnels that cross a border are two-way roads, bridges and tunnels. Think back on a busy Haweater Weekend, with traffic backed up for a mile with vehicles wanting to cross onto the Island. Now imagine if that line were halfway to Birch Island and was a double lane. That is what the lanes in front of the bridge and tunnel crossing the border between Windsor and Detroit looked like on pre-COVID weekends. On weekends, Canadians have been waiting in line for hours to be able play, shop and visit relatives in Detroit. (Speaking of relatives, my Dad was born in Sarnia, but that’s a different story.) There are two bridges between Port Huron and Sarnia, just an hour north of the Detroit/Windsor tunnel and bridge. Those bridges were also bumper-to-bumper with traffic from Canada to the United States during the pre-COVID times. My point being that the COVID virus has impacted a lot of people on both sides of our famous border.

There are three “facts” stated in your letter that need to be corrected. The first “fact” speaks to Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is not the United States’ leading infectious disease expert. Last January, Dr. Fauci told the nation that facemasks were not effective and did not need to be worn. About three months later, Dr. Fauci admitted to the nation that he had knowingly lied when he made that statement.

The second “fact” speaks to President Trump. He did not create the virus, nor has he condoned or perpetuated this “crazy situation” (your words). Pres. Trump, his wife, and their 14-year-old son have all caught the COVID virus. 

The final “fact” speaks to my comment about “waving a banner for closed borders.” My comment wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, but rather the readership in general.

One disappointment with your letter: it was disheartening to see in your otherwise thoughtful letter the name-calling of the president; your comment was disheartening in that the comment detracted from the quality of your letter. However, the comment did express your frustration.

Final thought: you are obviously a more worldly traveller than me. I’ve never been to Cuba, Costa Rica, Barbados or Vancouver Island. Both my sons, now in their 40s with their own families, still begrudge me for not taking them to Disney World. All of your named locations have seen far fewer cases than most of the states in the United States. Barbados has been issuing 12-month visas to people to come work remotely for a year there to avoid the virus. They’ve had very few cases. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control is not recommending travel anywhere.

In the meantime, best wishes for everyone to stay safe and well.

Bob Taylor

Kagawong and Michigan