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reflections on celebrating Canada Day this year

A sublimely peaceful Saturday, thank you lord. Anna, Holly, and the boys are at a cottage near Peterborough, kayaking, splashing, romping. I do not have a second infection and am feeling a bit better each day, just cooked for the first time in ages. The day began dark and stormy and has ended fair and bright. Before the rain began, I made it by bike to one of my favourite shops, Laywine’s, the best paper and pen shop in town, to buy my new daytimer, the Quo Vadis Academic Weekly 2021-22. My life would fall apart without these, filled with scribbles and daily post-its; they end mid-July, and it’s thrilling each year to get a new one, clean and fresh, to fill in some dates, including an invitation from my friend Ron to a concert in February 2022 and the CNFC conference in Edmonton next June. Can’t wait!

As I rode along Bloor Street, I marvelled at one sight: a lineup of at least 40 women waiting to get into Zara. I wanted to shout at them, YOU DON’T NEED IT! GET A LIFE! But did not. Who am I to judge? 

And then, on my way to the library to pick up two books I’d put on hold, 

I saw that Doubletake is open for shopping again. My favourite store! I bought a lovely soft cotton nightgown and separate pyjama bottoms – what I need most these days, though yes, I could certainly live without – and the points on my account covered the $12 they cost. So much for judgemental me. 

And then to the hardware store, WALKING RIGHT IN, to buy velcro tape to keep my hydrangeas from toppling in the rain. Satisfying. Doubly vaccinated, still being careful, but with more confidence nonetheless.

Anna’s cat Naan is keeping me company for the weekend. It’s wonderful to have a cat again, particularly one so old she doesn’t care about going outside and hunting birds. She’s supposed to be dying, but obviously has decided not. She and I chat regularly; she doesn’t let me far from her sight. 

I’ve not written anything in weeks. Maybe soon.

To address a painful issue: this country is reeling from the horrors being uncovered, the bodies of hundreds of Indigenous children buried outside residential schools – though as we now know, their people knew it all along. Many are saying we should not celebrate Canada Day, at least this year. A woman on a local website is vicious in her condemnation of anyone speaking positively about Canada.

I understand this country has blood on its hands, though I’d argue the Catholic church and its loathsome pedophile priests and sadistic nuns have far more. I mourn the infinite tragedy of those lost lives. But here are a few of the people and things I’d like to celebrate, very quietly, this year:

– my friend Diana, who came to Canada as a young boy with her family, refugees from Vietnam, grew up to be a happily out gay man and is now a beautiful woman who had absolutely no problem with her employer as she went through many changes

– the vast number of refugees this country has sheltered, including my father, and so also my mother and me – in 1950 he was unemployable in McCarthy’s United States because of his leftwing views; the countless draft dodgers during the Vietnam War who have contributed enormously; the many thousands of Syrians who’ve made homes here in recent years

– my beloved friend Patsy, mortally ill, who had a peaceful planned death thanks to MAID – medically assisted dying

– the fact that gay marriage, legal marijuana, and abortion are simply not an issue, except for a tribe of evangelicals in Alberta

– watching the country to the south of us, with its dire health care, mass shootings, lousy public education, astronomical rate of incarceration, racism, voter suppression, police brutality, and now hoards of violent lunatic right-wing nutbars. We have a few of these things too, but not nearly to the degree they do 

So yes, I will be quietly celebrating the good that Canada is and does, which is considerable, and which in no way minimizes the bad.

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4 Responses to “reflections on celebrating Canada Day this year”

  1. Theresa says:

    You sound much better! And those two books– I enjoyed both. The Byrne was a surprise! I love him as an actor but who knew he could write? Will look forward to your responses.

  2. beth says:

    I haven't put it down! I've been reading all day and have nearly finished. It's gorgeous – his prose, his honesty, his humour. I've always had a crush on him and now more than ever.

  3. theresa says:

    Huge crush on him here. And yes, the prose and the structure were so beautiful and integrated.

  4. beth says:

    Finish the book in one gulp – delicious. It's unfair for a man to be so handsome and a talented actor AND writer, and insecure and painfully honest to boot. Huge respect for the man!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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