My Favourite Dickens’ Quote

christmas stars

Christmas stars (Photo credit: mararie)

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

For some reason, I love this quote. I owned a book store two decades ago called Dickens Booksellers and Gift Emporium, and had this quote posted on my front door. While the bookstore is a thing of the past, the message in the quote is eternal. Keeping Christmas all the year, and learning the lessons of the past, present, and future is timeless.

I Can’t Dance: Don’t Ask Me or Happy Canada Day 2012

English: Montage of 15 Canadians from 14 diffe...

English: Montage of 15 Canadians from 14 different ethnic backgrounds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place…they are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom.” ~ an Australian dentist.

Our ego is intact. We are proud Canadians. We make fun of ourselves in amusing diatribes casting ourselves as beer drinkers and puck shufflers. One of our national symbols is an ornery rodent with a fierce overbite. The other is the “maple leaf forever” (though I suspect that our love and loyalty to the proud maple is the fact that the tree produces that lovely amber nectar known to all of us who love pancakes: maple syrup.)

As a true “too modest to toot our own horn” Canadian, I am turning to an outside source or two to brag about our accolades. We tend to define ourselves with tongue in cheek stand-up comedy routines, but we are much more than that. My sources (okay, my sources were emails from a couple of friends), an Australian dentist and a British journalist see us as brave unsung heroes.

First, the dentist. He spied an ad in the news that someone in a foreign country (the country was named, but my journalistic instincts {or spidey senses} lead me to believe  it would not be fair to name it) was offering a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian, so he developed a definition that would throw would-be assassins off our scent. When you read his description of us, you will understand:

“A Canadian can be English or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot or Sioux.

A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none….the key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

A Canadian is generous and (they) have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.  Canadians welcome the best of everything…but they also welcome the least, the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

You can try to kill a Canadian, if you must, as other bloodthirsty tyrants in the world have tried, but in doing so you may be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.”

All that and we play a fierce game of hockey too. Whether or not you agree with everything the Australian says, there is nary a word about beer, beavers or maple syrup. It is nice to be defined by who we are and what we do and not just by clichés and national symbols.

Kevin Myers also provides a grand nod to Canadians in an article he wrote for the London Sunday Telegraph. Titled, “Salute to a brave and modest nation” he describes Canadians as perpetual “wallflowers”. At first glance, this does not seem particularly complimentary. But in context, it does remind us that we do not just do the right thing for glory and recognition.

Myers says, “Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to…ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.”

“Canada,” Myers states emphatically, “repeatedly does the honourable things for honourable motives.”

While Myers does a nice job of complimenting Canada, his one downfall is that he pities the fact that we go unrecognized. Majestic Canada and her subjects need no one’s sympathy. Recognition is nice, but it is beside the point.

On July 1st, Canadians will celebrate this great country of which we are blessed to be a part. Happy Canada Day, and as the dentist downunder said so eloquently: “Keep your stick on the ice.”

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

And to our neighbours to the south, Happy 4th of July ~ you have many a proud tradition to celebrate too!

Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm  Comments (67)  
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