Niagara Gazette

August 31, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: E-Z memories to share

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Travelers — Our summer scrapbook arrived in the mail last week, an 8-by-11 sheet of paper, double-sided, with 97 entries in five-point type. (What you’re reading now is about 9-point.) The invoice: $64.67. We look on it as memory lane. You may call it your E-Z Pass statement.

Doug always cringes at communiques from E-Z Pass. Two summers ago the electronic police detected him whizzing through the Verona entrance at 23 miles per hour and wagged a finger at him by mail. Any further violations, etc., etc. He remembers the entrance well and could have sworn it was a 20. He was heading home from a Niagara Power game in Sherrill with his buddy Rodney, whose health usually confines him to a basement in Liverpool.

We wonder if anybody else reads their E-Z Pass statement, a bi-monthly summation of tolls collected almost all through the northeast, the Peace Bridge, even. We get quite a break over here, crossing the bridges to the Island for nine cents. Many Mainlanders pay a buck. Our rate dates back decades to various systems of tolls, including coins and, for some time, a 55-ticket booklet costing $5. We still have one, the tickets accidentally printed upside down.

So anyway, we see the entrance at Verona and remember Rockin’ Rodney. We love calculating the time between Exit 50 (the infamous Williamsville toll) and Exit 41, Magee, as we call it, no fibbin’, not far from our daughter’s house. Here’s a 1:34, a 1:39 (musta’ stopped for gas) and here, lo and behold, are two 1:32’s, exactly the same times on exactly the same day. Aha, we figure, E-Z Pass must have messed up.

On further review, E-Z Pass had it nailed. Doug had headed east to see the grandson’s ballgame, but at the last moment it was rained out so the kid and Mother Holly followed him back home. In 18:57, Out 20:29. Both of us, two different tags. And then 13 minutes from Williamsville to the South Bridge.

We show more crossings at the South Bridge than the North, but in baseball season, not all that much. Good heavens, here are two at exactly the same time, 08:54, on consecutive days. Ah, yes, the lad was being dropped off at baseball camp, came home soaked and sore with an indelible smile.

No picture could capture it better.

Here, a return from Blue Jays game, then a southbound run to a bridal shower. A movie at the Four Seasons, a Bison game, a play at Niagara-on-the-Lake. It must have happened, we’ve got the receipt. E-Z Pass: Memories at nine cents a pop.

Come visit. Watch your speed.

E-mail Polly and Doug at pollyndoug@hotmail.com

Polly and Doug E-mail pollyndoug@hotmail.com