The radio warned of big delays on the international bridges. Hour and a half coming into the U.S. at Lewiston-Queenston. Hour at the Peace Bridge. Forty-five minutes at the Rainbow Bridge. No delay, the announcer added, almost as an afterthought, for traffic headed into Canada.
Just to be on the safe side, I left a little early for my game with Selina Volpatti in St. Catharines, but sure enough, I had no wait whatsoever at Canadian Customs in Fort Erie. Coming toward Buffalo, however, the cars were backed up past the turnoff to the duty-free store. When I turned off the Queen Elizabeth Way at McLeod Road in Niagara Falls, I realized why. The parking lots were empty at the mall. Everything was closed. Canada shuts down for Good Friday. When I got to St. Catharines, the usual traffic snarl on Glendale Avenue was nowhere to be seen. The only thing open was Tim Hortons.
And the Bridge Centre of Niagara, although attendance was light. Instead of the usual 13 or 14 tables, they had eight. And their automated scoring gizmos – the Duplimates – were in Toronto at the regional tournament. Scores were on pick-up slips. Selina and I had a lovely time together and thought we were winning, but discovered otherwise when the director handed out summaries to everyone before the final round. 44%. You can find your final scores online later, he said. Our disappointment was palpable. Well, one more round, maybe we jumped up a little. Wrong. I just looked and discovered us at 41.07%. Next to last. One more chance to break out of this slump before the month is over. We’ll see if Bad Friday can turn into Good Saturday.