Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Canada Day

I’ve grown up singing O’Canada. I’ve been proud to sing God Saves the Queen too.  My dad was RCAF. I was proud he served his country. I’ve been a doctor and as a Canadian served in the north. When I sum up my career I simply say, “I worked in the areas of greatest need.”  Others did too.  Canadians aren’t individual grand standers. Hockey is our game because we believe in the team. There’s hierarchy but also individuality.
Wilderness is important to me. It’s part of what is Canadian.  We have ocean and acts of heroism by adventurers, fisherman and navy on either shore. We have the north.  Then there’s the south.  The Americans don’t like to remember it. I doubt it’s in their history books. But Canadians love to remember when we ‘whooped american ass.’  We pushed them back when they tried to invade. Now we love them as our neighbours. We were a Christian country and the majority still is. Love your enemy is something we take seriously. We work with those who try to hurt us.  We believe more in reformation than revenge. Of course we’ve had Britain and now the US doing the heavy lifting. But we’ve served too.  We are Canadians.
There are fireworks in the distance.  l like that so many participate in this day. I’m reading Colonel Hadfield’s book right now. He’s Canadian. So are Bare Naked Ladies.  We’ve got Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Margaret Lawrence.  We’ve even got Captain Kirk.  There’s Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, Glen Gould and Steppenwolf.  So many Canadians are the stuff of the Guess Who and the best of the culture and science and ideas of CBC.  We’re a railway from sea to sea.  We’re a great nation. We’re all about us and we care for the world. We’re green and we have water and energy and ideas. We share and we profit. We’ve taken immigrants and refugees.  We’ve done more for our aboriginals than any people in the world has done for theirs.  We learn together.  We are better each day.
I woke this morning. I slept in late.  I had two cups of coffee on a deck chair, throwing a ball for my cockapoo while reading Jackie Pullingers’ Chasing the Dragon.  Much to my surprise I got showered and shaved and onto my Harley motorcycle.  Gilbert rode in his little box behind me. We played Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to be Free” loud.  I drove us to the boatyard where my sailboat GIRI is up on the hard. The sun was hot and the sky was a beautiful blue.  Not too many clouds at that time.  Later they were a tapestry. I drilled holes in the steel of the zinc straps and mounted these last two to the steel hull.
Then Gilbert and I drove over to the docks where my fast hard bottomed zodiac with 20 hp outboard is chained.  We took her out for a spin.  It was hard getting up on the plane.  I beached her and cleaned barnacles that had attached to the sides since last I had her out only a few weeks back. Major growth in spring.  Gilbert kibitzed ashore with a poodle while I, in the ocean, used a paddle to scrape away the barnacles.  I’ll use a bottom paint on my dinghy when I take her out next.  Gilbert, with his lifejacket on, joined me, reluctantly, when I called him away from play.  Back in the boat, I pushed off the shore, started the engine, then gunned her onto the plane. Much better.
We drove out to English Bay. The water was rough. It was already 5 pm. I’d thought of anchoring off Spanish Banks and going for a swim but instead buzzed by George’s pink palace to take a picture and text it to him.  Then I drove back along the north shore seawall enjoying seeing all the people out on the beach. Lots of boats out in English Bay too. Fishing boats, sailboats, pleasure craft. Others just like me going for a spin.
IMG 5497I used up a tank of gas and had to refuel out in Coal Harbour off Lonsdale Quay.  Then back at the dock I unloaded Gilbert and tied up the boat.
Back home I had BC Wild salmon and watched Robocop.  What a great day.  Canada Day.  Deck chair, boat work, a ride on the motorcycle and a spin on the water. Blue sky and sunshine.  Out with my friend Gilbert. I wouldn’t want to be anything but Canadian and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here.  The day had started too with a picture of Eva, Gilbert’s girlfriend, my nephew Allan’s cockapoo.  My nephew Graeme, had taken her picture with a Canada Day scarf and sent it to me.
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