Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 11.23.16
Stanstead, Quebec


Beatles on the Border

"Legend has it that back in the day the Beatles used to meet [at the Haskell Free Library on the Quebec/Vermont border]. John was banned from the US so he would enter the library from the Canadian side with George, Paul, and Ringo coming in from the US side. The locals claim that George, Paul, and Ringo used to stay to relax afterwards because they could walk around and everyone just treated them as regular people."
wildly inaccurate account posted at

George, Paul, and Ringo sat at the bar in the Del Monty Hotel in Rock Island, Quebec, drinking Labatt 50 and being treated just like regular people.

"Say, fellows," piped up Paul, "isn't it brilliant to be back here on the border between Quebec and Vermont where we hang out all the time?"

"It certainly is," said Ringo, drumming a beat with his fingers on the bar. "We're certainly lucky the Haskell Free Library sits conveniently on the border to allow us to meet regularly because we're such great chums and not at all involved in acrimonious lawsuits."

"Not to mention their excellent collection of Sidney Sheldon novels," said George quietly.

"It definitely makes it easy for us to meet, especially since John is banned from the US, even though he has been living in New York City since 1971," said Paul.

"Immigration laws are complicated," said Ringo, "as complicated as my steady drum beats are not."

"Unless this is 1968," Paul mused, "in which case we haven't broken up yet, and then this get-together on the border makes no sense at all."

"Do they sell crisps in this bar?" George interrupted.

"They call them ‘chips' here, Georgey," said Ringo. "Don't be a wanker. Do you want to be treated like regular people or not?"

"Still, it was a very good meeting, the reasons for which aren't entirely specified," Paul continued. "But remind me again why we had to enter from the U.S. side? In fact, I don't know why we didn't just meet in Canada since it would appear none of us has been banned from entering Canada for reasons that would make this story at very least plausible."

Ringo drained his Labatt 50. "It doesn't need to be plausible," he said, "as long as everyone says it truly did happen without any actual evidence whatsoever."

"Hmmm," pondered Paul. "Maybe someday there will be a machine that will spread this unfounded evidence around the globe, a machine that could not only distort local history but actually influence major political outcomes in an echo chamber of confirmation bias and obstinate ignorance."

"You're starting to sound like John," said Ringo.

"Well, I'm off to write a sonnet on the lavatory wall," said George with historical inaccuracy. < p>< "Right, and then let's push off," said Paul.

The three of them left the Del Monty and walked into the sunshine of Rock Island, with its vibrant downtown that would never, ever fade. "It's too bad John can't be with us to relax," said Paul, "though obviously he could be, based on the wildly inaccurate understanding of our immigration status."

"I wonder where John is?" asked George, riding a unicycle up and down Rock Island hill while locals waved and treated him as regular people.

Ringo stopped in his tracks. "What if he never met with us at all? What if none of us actually did have a meeting at the Haskell Free Library but it was just a thing that was talked about as a possibility and that over time has been blown up and distorted into a historical fact? What if this isn't really happening?"

Paul and George looked at each other, a moment of fear in their eyes. Then Paul laughed.

"Looks like Ringo's been smoking yellow submarines again," he said, adorably. The Fab Almost-Four strolled down the street and ducked into P&M Restaurant, where they ordered the Thursday Night Shoppers Special ("Something Different Every Week $1.20") and had a conversation with the locals about the Montreal Canadiens. They paid their bill, caught a taxi and crossed back into Vermont without any problem from U.S. Customs despite their documented history of drug use and general notoriety. Then they all drove to the Derby Drive-In where they watched What's Up, Doc? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.

Meanwhile, after the long meeting at the Haskell about something Beatles-related but not important to this story, John Lennon found himself in Montreal where, feeling hungry, he organized a bed-in for pizza.