I talked to my father for two years about my desire to move to Canada. Finally, when I was 17, I just said, “Dad, I’m sorry; I can’t stay here. I’m not going to live like this.” I loaded my two horses in my horse trailer and went to Canada.
At first I was rejected because I was underage. However, I got to the border and they asked me where I was going. I said, “I’m going to Canada; I’m going to homestead.”
They asked, “How old are you? Where’s your passport? Where’s your birth certificate? Where’s all this information?”
I replied, “Nobody told me I needed to bring it.”
So they let me go into Canada, but not as an immigrant; I went through as a visitor and went to the Caribou District. It was great. It was beautiful. And I got a job.
Then I got a notice that I had to either go back to the States or I could immigrate. I went to the immigration office, as a 17 year old, and asked, “Well, how do I immigrate?”
I was told, “You can’t; you’re underage. You’ve got to have a family member sponsor you.”
I said, “That’s a piece of cake. Can I use my uncle that lives in Alberta?”
“Nope, it’s got to be a closer relative, like a father or a sibling.”
I said, “Okay, I’ve got a sister that’s older than me.”
I drove from Quenelle, British Columbia, to Idaho Falls—2,240 miles. I pulled into my sister’s house at 3 o’clock in the morning and beat on the door until I woke her up (you all know Nancy). She came staggering to the door, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. By the time she was finally awake, I had her packed.
She said, “Gary, what are you doing?”
I told her, “You’re coming with me.”
She said, “What do you mean I’m coming with you? I’ve got to. . . .”
I said, “No, you don’t; you are coming with me.”
Before she was totally awake, we were driving through Missoula, Montana; and by the time she knew what had happened, we were crossing the border into British Columbia. I took her straight to the immigration office. She was 20 years old and got immigration status. I drove back across the line and applied for immigration status with her, my sister, sponsoring me. And that’s how I got into Canada.
If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.