Saturday in Vancouver the sun was out and the trees seemed to be throwing their arms into the air, like firmly landed gymnasts, as if to say “see me!” and my body’s reaction was to scratch my own eyeballs out. Sneezing is wearing me out. I don’t want to blame the cherry blossoms, they are so beautiful, but they are the culprits, among all those other spring beauties.
Despite all the sneezing, I didn’t miss all the residual Olympic excitement that continues to linger in that city. I loved driving by “Canada Rocks” painted on bedsheets, hanging from fence posts. It was also humbling seeing all the Canada flags suction cupped to the roofs of cars, reminding me of the US versions, 8 and a half years ago. I can’t remember ever seeing Canada so proud. And it made me miss it all the more.
I met some of the newly minted members of my family and sang along to 24 rousing verses of the birthday song written for my 95-year old great aunt (I figure genes-wise I am still in my 20s), followed up by all the verses of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and finally “Old Lang Syne,” before toasting her with champagne and cucumber sandwiches and cake.
At the hotel later, it was Carter’s turn to attempt to rip out his eyeballs and the bell hop went running across the street as we ate dinner to buy allergy medicine. The restaurant’s host judged the kids’ colouring, awarding my nephew (and all the others) the “Gold Medal” — a prize of ice cream and butterscotch sauce (not caramel). I know we were at a hotel where people are paid to bend over backwards to help you, but I know this is also a Canadian trait, one I try to emulate, a trait, I am now reminded, that is one of the many wonderful reasons that “Canada Rocks.”