Oh Canada!

ImageI have considered myself an honorary Canadian for many years.  Or I must be part Canadian at least.  The International Border line is only about 8 miles out into Lake Erie.  I live only half a mile from the lakeshore.  I am less than 9 miles from Canada!  On a bright clear day, you can even see Canada, shimmering like a dream across Lake Erie.  People swim across the lake every few years.  I knew someone who did it; she used to be my coach for several summers of competitive swimming.  I was so proud when she became the first woman to swim across Lake Erie.  From our Freeport shoreline to the Canadian Long Point Beach, it is only 24 miles at the narrowest.   Canada has always been like my neighbor.

I grew up on a steady diet City TV that transmitted across the smooth surface my lake.  Sometimes it was the only thing that came in through our large North-facing antennae.  And it was usually the best thing to watch even when it was fuzzy.  I watched and loved The Red Green Show and City Fashion TV and Star Trek reruns every day after school.  It’s a life-goal of mine to get onto Speaker’s Corner.  SCTV is still one of the all-time funniest shows ever!   If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are missing out!  You should repent.  Shatner is Canadian!

And anybody who has ever gone to Niagara Falls knows the Canadian side is the good side.  The Rainbow Bridge gets me there the fastest.  We can drive to Canada in an hour and a half.  I always skip the American side of The Falls.  Anytime I was in Buffalo, I’d zip over to Canada for a quick visit.  At least I did until they changed the rules.  Now you need a passport to get into Canada.  I resent that greatly.

It’s just that so many of my favorite things are Canadian.   Even their money is prettier.  There’s a coin called the Loonie.  How fun is that?  Let’s not forget the Canadian dollar is holding rock steady again our dollar.  One American dollar can you get $1.04 in Canada today.   Canada never had a housing bubble; they didn’t suffer the slings and arrows of the collapse of our housing market.  And before you say something about the high taxes, I’d happily pay higher taxes if I knew that I could always get my seizure meds, no matter what.  Canadian healthcare is my dream.

I even had a Canadian Best Friend/Pen-pal in high school.  We met at camp and wrote letters for years.  She visited me in my freshman year of college and we traded short cigarettes from a square box for keg beer, Natural Ice in blue solo cups at frat parties.  Now when I drink beer, I drink Canadian imports, Molson or Labatt’s.

In college I started listening to Canadian punk rock, which is quite a bit different and softer than American or British punk.  They are distance cousins, with some common ancestor in the 18th century perhaps.  I prefer the violins and brass that proliferate in the Canadian punk soundscape.  I wouldn’t call it punk except that they do.  If you say so, Canada, if you say so.  I’ll still listen to it.

I always consider Canada a refuge.  If things get too bad down here, I can go north.  I have a contingency plan.  Even if it involves stealing a boat, if I have to flee, I’m fleeing to Canada.  I seriously considered it after Bush stole the election in 2000.  I was just out of college and I was considering moving anywhere.  California or Canada?  Somehow I decided California and soon found out that I chose wrong.  I am not a Californian.  I wore that like a badge, everybody could tell.   I was always asked where I was from.  When I told them Pennsylvania, they asked if my hat wearing husband was Amish.  No.  We are not all Amish in PA.  They are a quite quiet minority.  I was not a tanned Cali girl, nor a meek Amish woman.  But I *could* be a Canadian.  I’ve heard “aboot” enough Canadian to come “oot” eh?  I could speak the dialect without looking like a hoser.

For a while, as I struggled with being an American citizen beneath a puppet government, I stopped singing the national anthem and pledging allegiance to the flag.  I was what you might call disenfranchised.  I sang the Canadian anthem though, during my annual hockey games, or watching the Olympics.  I sat for America.  I sang for Canada.  “Oh Canada!  We stand on guard for thee!”

So when the Zombies come, look for me in Canada.  Look for me in the Great White North.  Eh? I’m already used to the long cold winters.  In fact, the North shore of Lake Erie gets somewhat significantly less snow that we do to the south.  The cold winds come over the lake from the northwest and gather clouds to dump as snow once they hit the southern shore.  The Lake effect snowfall is usually greater here.  Even the snow is better in Canada.

(Just don’t tell anyone I don’t really like maple syrup.)



Filed under Essays

7 responses to “Oh Canada!

  1. Ahhhhh…. camp friends are the best friends aren’t they?! So glad we have reconnected and I am so happy that you love our country so much!!! This was a great post and kept me smiling the whole way through. Sending big love to you and America xoxo

  2. I’m glad it made you smile! And, yes, camp friends are the BEST! Give Canada a hug for me. xoxo

  3. As an American, but a Canadian permanent resident, I hear ya. I really do love it here, and the Canadian healthcare system makes my life with epilepsy so much easier and less stressful.

  4. I want to live in Canada even more now! Being sick in America is pretty much the worst thing ever.

  5. Pingback: Thinking of Visiting Canada Eh? | Bite Size Canada

  6. I love to read and hear about Canada and I even have Canadian friends. Thank you for sharing this lovely blog entry. I do enjoy reading this. 🙂

  7. Rebecca Trocki

    Don’t forget Brian Adams and Rush are Canadian. Canada is our attic and I am glad you are fond of it. I think that home is where people love you not location. Another great entry into your wonderful body of work!!!

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