Maybe it was Pop’s fault, our patriotism, our love of the country, our home. We do like to put a lot of stuff on our folks, don’t we?
He was a city fellow yet he loved to drive his old Model A onto the prairies in the evening.
He’d stop alongside a field of wheat, step out, gaze over the green and gold wheat stalks playing together with the west wind, grasp a head of wheat, rub it between his palms, look at the kernels, and smile — just like some of his friends who work the land.
I thought he was copying them, but he wasn’t. I think he was telling the world, “I’m part of the whole of this fertile prairie and I like where I and my family live.”
He never said the words — the twinkle in his eyes, and the smile said it all. It was a ritual, like a silent prayer. Then we’d come home.
Though he planted none of the seed, those evening jaunts planted our roots in this place, without us knowing it. Later in life we realized it and began to ask and wonder.
Did he smile as he rubbed the kernels because we’d known hard times, and knew the rich kernels said they were over?
Did he smile because he believed his leaders that his children would not know war or hunger, as he had?
Maybe he smiled because he was born in Canada and proud of it, and wanted to pass it on to his children.
Maybe he just liked the look, and the sounds of the grain, the wind and the sun playing together, and it’s just our own imaginations turning memories into teaching.
Whatever, it was a gift, a gift of love still giving.
Canada is so full of places of such wonder, not one of us will ever find or know them all, but can we not have an awesome time trying?
What greater gift can a mother and father bequeath to their children than life in Canada?
Happy Birthday, Canadians one and all!