Thursday, July 01, 2010

Happy Canada Day! - Nesdoly


"National flag of Canada
two by length and one by width, red
containing in its center a white square
the width of the flag
with a single red maple leaf
centered therein"*
flies majestic since 1965
over town squares
by cenotaphs and schools
from Cape Spear, Newfoundland
to Beaver Creek, Yukon
Alert, Nunavut
to Middle Island, Ontario.

Proudly raised at Olympics
wrapping the grim coffins of soldiers
feted on Canada Day
marched in to the skirl of bagpipes November 11th
this silk-screened symbol
stitches together
our experience and destiny
sea to sea to sea.

When so plentiful at home you no longer see
till it's reincarnated into jester caps
umbrellas and wind socks
painted on faces, stamped on T-shirts
decaled onto mugs and beaver pens

abroad even one
grabs your homesickness
like the initials of a sweetheart.
Meet someone with your flag stitched on his pack
and you know he'll understand Tim Horton's
hockey, Z that rhymes with bed
loonies, toonies, Bruce Cockburn, Diana Krall
why "insurance premiums" and "health care"
don't belong together
Air Canada, Air Farce, Red Green
How great is it to have found someone
who speaks your own language, eh?

* Official description of the flag taken from the Canadian Heritage website.

© 2008 by Violet Nesdoly
First published at Utmost Christian Writers

I was thrilled when I discovered it was my turn to post on Canada Day. July 1st has been a red-letter day in our family from as far back as I can remember. My mom, a patriotic Canadian to the core, would never let a Canada Day pass without a celebration of some kind.

The year Daddy was in hospital with a broken leg, she (not in possession of a driver's license) packed a picnic and we (she plus six kids) trotted off to the Log Cabin Bush on our Saskatchewan farm. Before we left to go back home, we carved the date into the trunk of a poplar tree. That hunk of wood is still part of our family's memorabilia.

After Mom was widowed and retired, she celebrated every Canada Day for about ten years with a brunch. She'd invite friends (as many as there were provinces and territories), set the table with all the Canadiana she owned (province and territory place-mats, glasses with provincial floral emblems, anything flag or maple leaf) and serve Canadian food (Armstrong cheese, Canadian bacon, Fraser Valley butter, eggs, and milk, Abbotsford strawberries -- that sort of thing). Then she'd round out the occasion with a Canada quiz.

One of Mom's Canada Day parties. 
Even she (right) has a maple leaf tattoo on her arm--washable of course!

She died on the eve of Canada Day four years ago (June 30, 2006). It seemed right, somehow, that her first day in heaven was Canada Day. Here's what one of her granddaughters wrote about that:

"I think, for grandma, maybe God will have a Canada Day Celebration party for her in heaven... for the best "quilting/quilling/never-quits-creating" Mother/Grandmother/ Great-grandmother
... think of all those who are already there who would be around her at that table...maybe He'll send for her floral emblem glassware and He'll make her a very special cocktail from all the fruit juices He's saved up in His fridge, maybe He'll put in an order for Krause /bros. berries 'just picked' by Jane, and Canadian back bacon, ah yes, and add Russian pancakes (Big pancakes for Big Grandma) to the menu. Maybe we should put in an order for her?!
What great memories she has created for everyone, eh?? We will so miss her but we can carry her in our hearts forever and we have the hope of joining her someday!!" - Rosie S.
Here's to her and her generation, who loved Canada and passed that baton on to us.



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Dolores Ayotte said...

Great article. Happy Canada Day to you and your family. What a lovely family tradition that your Mother started and such fond memories for you all to share! :)

violet said...

Thank you so much, Dolores! And a Happy Canada Day to you too :) Fly our flag proudly.

Peter Black said...

A wonderful Canada Day celebration, and lovely tribute to your dear mom, Violet. Thank you for sharing it.
My wife and I and the older two of our three sons became Canadian citizens in 1979. (Our youngest was born in Canada 3 months after our arrival.)
We value this country. At my last pastorate I inaugurated an "O Canada!" celebration focus on the last Sunday of June, and wrote a song to launch it in '97, which was sung annually. The focus was maintained for the almost 14 years we were there. (I kind of hope it continues.)
God bless Canada. And God bless you, Violet!

violet said...

Thanks so much, Peter! And thanks for choosing Canada.

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