Being the fine, upstanding, patriot that I am, it was only natural that my family and I would leap into the Independence Day fervor with a vengeance. Or travel to Canada. Nothing says “God Bless America” like hightailing it for the border, right?
Forget shuffling off to Buffalo, I was dragged. I grumbled all the way that my husband was taking me against my will and schemed to scream “Help!” at the border and get him thrown into the Canadian pokey – where they would probably be unfailingly polite to him until he cracked.
Friendly neighbor. But then again, you cannot NOT like Canada. It is not humanly possible. They have virtually no military because they don’t need one. Everyone loves them due to the fact that Canadians are exceedingly nice. (And because no other country is interested in invading Canada due to a neighbor problem. Can’t you just hear some Third World nation saying “Forget it, it’s all about location and those Americans next door are ROWDY!”)
Sure, there is that pesky issue of their having been the only country to successfully invade the United States and burn its capital to the ground, but that was ages ago.
Nowadays the most hostile act of aggression Canada undertakes is to export that insipid Celine Dion song about her heart going on. (And on, and on and on). Indeed, most Canadian citizens would be mistaken for an American before they would be rude. You could park your car atop the foot of your average Canadian and the most he might say is “Remove your car from my foot, eh?” But he would probably smile when he said it, just so you would know there were no hard feelings.
On language. Canadians speak English. Sort of. Due to the influence of those rabble rousers in Quebec, they also sprinkle the language with lots of interesting French words. Thanks to my extensive education in bilingual snack food packaging, I am now well-versed in the French equivalents of “free,” “prize” and “contains no real juice.”
In a related language issue, my Canadian pals assure me that they do not all say “eh” any more than American’s say, “y’all.”
I protest that the characterizations of all Americans as saying “y’all” is patently false anyway. Some of us say “you’uns.”
But back to that funny French stuff. Poulinet means gravy (I think) and they are mad to put it on top of everything. At most fast food places you can get gravy, er, I mean, poulinet, on your burger, fries, and probably directly into your milkshake if you so desire.
You have to love a country that has embraced the idea that fast food wasn’t quite fattening ENOUGH and couldn’t rest until they added gravy. Americans will feel right at home. No problem.
Funny money. In Canada money is no object. At least not for Americans. We wander the country with wads of multicolored bills and continually thrust random fistfuls at merchants. At first it is alarming that you can hand a Canadian merchant a $10 bill for a pack of gum and get back three coins and a penny. This is because Canadians have a real sense of humor about their legal tender. The $1 and $2 currencies are in coin, not bills, and are the “loonie” and “toonie” respectively.
Why, it’s almost like real money. They also have something called “Canadian Tire Money” which, I think, is sort of like the old S&H green stamps, but looks (to Americans anyway) so much like their regular multi-colored Monopoly money that frankly, I think I bought dinner with some of it on the way home.
Remember: Any paper with a picture of the Queen on it, probably money. Anything without the Queen on it, probably not.
All in all, it was a lovely time and we didn’t (to our knowledge) touch off any full scale international incidents that would require military intervention.
So it was a successful foreign vacation for any American these days. If you go, I would wish for you a pocketful of toonies (and a wagon to drag them around with – those little suckers are heavy), fireside music, lemon pie to die for (hold the gravy), and no more than two days trapped on the Peace Bridge at the border. Y’all have a really great time, eh.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt and her family would like to thank Canada for the lovely visit and “the States” for welcoming them back. She welcomes comments c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem OH 44460 and firstname.lastname@example.org.)