Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day - aka I Am Canadian

This week's blogs are going to be a mish-mosh of topics.  The on-going reality of recovery - and blogging about the abuse - have taken a toll of my mind and body.  Both need a rest in order to continue processing and healing.

On top of that, this week contains national holidays in both of my countries:  the United States, my country of birth and heritage; and Canada, the country I immigrated to almost 33 years ago as a new bride and where I've assimilated and raised my children.

It also contains two birthdays:  my grandson born July 1st, 2005 and my mother (who passed away last year) born July 4th 1915.  Both born on their national holidays 90 years apart.

So in today's blog:  I honour Canada.  My adopted country.

On July 8th, 2010, after 30 years living, working and raising two Canadian citizens,  I finally became a bonafide Canadian myself.

Canadians are very different than Americans.  We are much more low-keyed than our more patriotic, flay-waving cousins on the other side.

Like family, even distantly related family, we have our squabbles and disagreements.  But deep down, we care deeply for each other.  At least Canadians care for Americans. 

One notable trait about Canadians is that we poke fun of ourselves.

Although Jeff Foxworthy is American, not Canadian, what he says about us below is very true.

A Little Canadian Humour

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canucks:
  • If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May you may live in Canada.
  • If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you may live in Canada.
  • If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Canada
  • If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialled a wrong number, you may live in Canada
  • If “Vacation” means going anywhere south of Muncie for the weekend you may live in Canada.
  • If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Canada
  • If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Canada
  • If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again, you may live in Canada
  • If you can drive 90 kms/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Canada
  • If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Canada
  • If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Canada
  • If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Canada
  • If the speed limit on the highway is 80km — you’re going 90 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Canada
  • If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Canada
  • If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Canada
  • If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Canada.
  • If you find 2 degrees “a little chilly”, you may live in Canada
  • If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your Canadian friends & others, you definitely live in Canada[/li]
The real humour and irony of the above is that it's all true!  Although after a snow storm last winter in which a traffic cam recorded people out on the 401 in Toronto with snow shovels, I would add:  if you're out on the highway with snowshovel in hand, you truly are Canadian!

We do have an outstanding disagreement with our American cousins and neighbours, expressed in the rant below.  As we appear to know much more about our neighbour to the South, then they do about their neighbour to the North.  When I met my soon-to-be Canadian husband on the Texas-Mexican border 33 years ago, I knew almost nothing about Canada.  It didn't figure into my world at all.  Now I wonder how I could have been so bigoted about one of the greatest nations on earth.

I Am Canadian


I am not a fisherman, lumberjack, or an Inuit
I drive on a highway not a freeway
I live in a province not a state
With a premier not a senator
I am ruled by a Prime Minister not a President
I meet friends at Tim Hortons not Starbucks
Its called HAM not Canadian Bacon
I don’t know your third cousin from Saskatoon
. . . but I’m sure he’s a really nice person
I live and own a house not an igloo
a car is my main means of transport not a dog sled or ski doo
I have a pet cat not a pet beaver
I know about other countries and acknowledge their rights
I would gladly have my flag on my backpack while visiting other countries
Celine Dion isn’t the only musical talent from Canada
A boot is what I wear on my feet in the winter time
I end the alphabet with ZED not ZEE
Toronto is not the centre of Canada
It’s a room not a rum, ROOM!
I believe in peace keeping not breaking it up
I drink pop not soda, Molson Canadian not Budweiser
Neighbour is spelled with a U not just a OR
I experience all four season not just winter
I spend my summer at a cabin not a cottage
My first language is English but I speak some french, NOT American
I understand “Pass the serviette I drop my poutine on the chesterfield”
I was not born feet first wearing skates
Hockey is a religion not a sport
I play and worship Lord Stanley not Vince Lombardie
My Name is Kayla and
Je suis Canadien!

And to this, I enthusiastically stand up, applauding, yelling "Yes!"
Before I close this post, I want to interject one anecdote from my own life.  Because of my mother's birthday being on the 4th of July, we were often visiting in the United States at that time.  We were sitting in a church service in which the pastor was extolling the virtues of the U.S.  Afterwards, my usually very timid daughter, went up to the pastor and said:  "I disagree with what you said about the U.S. being the best country in the world.  Canada is at least as good as the U.S. if not better."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Today, I invite all Canadians to stand up and be proud.

In closing, I end with this poem written way back in 1977.  Still as true today as it was then.

I am a Canadian
Duke Redbird

I’m a lobster fisherman in Newfoundland
I’m a clambake in P.E.I.
I’m a picnic, I’m a banquet
I’m mother’s homemade pie

I’m a few drafts in a Legion hall in Fredericton
I’m a kite-flyer in Moncton
I’m a nap on the porch after a hard day’s work is done

I’m a snowball fight in Truro, Nova Scotia
I’m small kids playing jacks and skipping rope
I’m a mother who lost a son in the last Great War
And I’m a bride with a brand new ring
And a chest of hope

I’m an Easterner
I’m a Westerner
I’m from the North
And I’m from the South
I’ve swam in two big oceans
And I’ve loved them both.
I'm a clown in Quebec during carnival
I'm a mass in the cathedral of St. Paul
I'm a hockey game in the forum
I'm Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau
I'm a coach for little league Expos
I'm a babysitter for sleep defying rascals
I'm a canoe trip down the Ottawa
I'm a holiday on the Trent
I'm a mortgage, I'm a loan
I’m last week’s unpaid rent
I’m Yorkville after dark
I’m a walk in the park
I’m a Winnipeg gold-eye
I’m a hand-made trout fly
I’m a wheat-field and a sunset
Under a prairie-sky
I’m Sir John A. MacDonald
I’m Alexander Graham Bell
I’m a pow-wow dancer
And I’m Louis Riel
I’m the Calgary Stampede
I’m a feathered Sarcee
I’m Edmonton at night
I’m a bar-room fight
I’m a rigger, I’m a cat
I’m a ten-gallon hat
And an unnamed mountain in the interior of B.C.
I’m a maple tree and a totem pole
I’m sunshine showers
And fresh-cut flowers
I’m a ferry boat ride to the Island
I’m the Yukon
I’m the Northwest Territories
I’m the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea
I’m the Prairies, I’m the Great Lakes
I’m the Rockies, I’m the Laurentians
I am French
I am English
And I'm M├ętis
But more than this
Above all this
I am Canadian and proud to be free.
"I am a Canadian" is a sixty line poem celebrating the peoples of Canada, presented to Queen Elizabeth at her Silver Jubilee in 1977. Duke Redbird is a Native Canadian poet and writer.

In short:  

Today:  Let's celebrate us!

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