Rainbow Bridge entrance from the American side. Howard Johnson’s restaurant is in the foreground. Tom S., One of my classmates, worked at HJ and was well liked by the manager. On prom night, she closed the restaurant early, left some of her staff including the bartender, and invited Steve and his friends to use the restaurant as a post-prom gathering place. We had a great time.
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Finding a good hiding place behind a high hedge of boxwoods, we took out our boy scout knives, flipped out the screwdriver tool and commenced to remove the horn assemblies on our bikes. The horn assembly was a banana-shipped pod that fitted between the upper and lower center bars of our bikes. In it was a small speaker, some wires and electronics and a place to install two D-sized batteries. A push button on the assembly protruded through a small hole in the side of the pod, allowing the rider to sound the horn by pushing the button from the outside. We had previously removed the assembly and batteries and covered the hole with a piece of black electrician’ s tape. Now we carefully stuffed the empty pods with as many firecrackers as we could. Reassembled, the horn assembly looked completely normal except for the small black hole in the side. Confident in our plan of concealment, we headed back to the Rainbow bridge and our homes across the river. Entering back into the United States was the same as leaving except for one additional question. As we approached the Canadian customs officer at his guard post. He gave us a big grin and asked the perfunctory question of, “Where were you born?” Each of us responded with , “Niagara Falls, New York.” “Did you boys enjoy yourself, today?” asked the imposing officer. “Yes, sir. We had a great time,” we all responded in chorus. “Did you buy anything while in Canada?” was the additional question we knew was coming. “No, sir. except for a burger and fires,” Joey quipped. “So, you’re not bringing anything back from Canada?” asked the office as his looked us and our bikes over very carefully. “No, sir, nothing,” we all replied with maybe a bit of nervousness showing. “Very well boys, you may go, but make sure you watch for traffic,” he said with what might be called a knowing smile. We took off for the American side, crossing the bridge quickly without paying any attention to the Falls and the scenery. The American customs officer  waved us through without any hesitation, and with a big sigh of relief, we headed for Falls Street and home. We had fooled them again. We were just too cool. A few years later, as a senior in high school and of legal drinking age, I often would take my date to Canada to a night club or restaurant for dinner and dancing. On more than one occasion, as we drove back across the Rainbow bridge, we would see a car, pulled over to the side, being completely disassembled by Canadian custom officers looking for drugs or smuggled contraband. I could not help but think about the times we “smuggled” fireworks across the same bridge without ever getting caught. I was thankful for the customs officers who looked the other way as we had played out our “genius” scheme.  
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