I am pretty darned cheesed off these days and I will tell you why. Canadians don’t have a whole lot to brag about most times but we do require a certain persona when winter rolls around. The Brits have those hoity toity accents, the Americans have all that money and the Greeks have pretty well cornered the market on most of the other stuff. Over the years our bragging rights have been pretty well restricted to our cold winters.
I remember one January day when I was still a reporter with CTV, and the cameraman and I were checking into a hotel in one of the southern states. The pleasant woman behind the desk asked the person ahead of me where she was from, and when she was told it was Wisconsin, the clerk recoiled in horror and said, “it gets really cold there in the winter.” Then she asked me where I was from. When I replied “Canada,” the two women looked at me with a mixture of fear and respect on their faces and I must admit the entire hotel staff treated the cameraman and I with a measure of high regard that we did not encounter during the course of our normal work day.
Those memories used to be all that we had to carry us through those seemingly endless days of winter and as I recall, we took a perverse delight in standing at a location that had a high level of pedestrian traffic, nonchalantly chomping away on a popsicle while passersby watched in awe at our devil-may-care disregard for the wintry conditions that swirled around us. Nowadays of course such behavior wouldn’t merit so much as a passing glance, and that is because so far we have not experienced what I would describe as a normal winter day.
By normal, I mean a day when you would pass a life-long friend on the street without recognizing him or her because of the layers of clothing that Mother swaddled you in to fend off the piercing temperatures and bone-chilling winds that once prevailed from early November until mid April. But the kind of weather we have been experiencing so far is damaging our reputation as a polar nation. If this keeps up Floridians armed with beach towels and swim suits will be inundating our shores and pestering us with questions about directions to the closest beaches and the location of the nearest hot dog stand.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I miss being frost-bitten for half the year, and I fear that if these warming conditions prevail, we will lose our identity as hardy, frost-bitten folks who like nothing better than a backyard wiener roast on a balmy 10 degrees below zero Sunday afternoon.
Let us face the facts folks, we have a much-deserved reputation as a cold country and I am positive we could mount a well-reasoned defence of that opinion if we could just get our teeth to stop chattering.
At this point I feel it is my duty to inform you that Sturdy Gert McCurdy will be returning to these pages after something of an absence. Sturdy has been keeping something of a low profile recently ever since she had a run-in with local interests over an alleged insult she is said to have hurled at the mayor during the course of the annual euchre tournament and fish fry which was held at the town hall. Apparently the incident occurred in front of several witnesses and authorities are prepared to take the matter to court as soon as they manage to flush the witnesses out of hiding.