For 14 years I have not felt snow on my face or bitter cold flow through my veins. I had not realized that as each year passed I was losing the love for my country and for what it stands. I forgot that my countrymen are a friendly bunch that have sincere smiles and subtle accents and that wearing my hat through the winter days makes it easier to let dogs out and check for mail.
It doesn't bother me anymore that most Canadian's sentence's seem to end with a question mark and the same national news is repeated 4-5 times a day. I am proud of my country's health care program that rich or poor get the care they need. Health care should never be a purchased commodity and I have no complaints that 57% of our Canadian taxes go towards health care unlike the United States who accounts for 47% of the world's total military spending. Complain all you want fellow Canadians about waiting times just know we live longer because of our health care system.
Every fifth song on the radio must be Canadian and I will admit there are some poorly conceived Canadian TV shows. Even though I still do not understand what the draw is to the repeats of Corner Gas I am proud that Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Rush come from Canada. I am in awe that Tim Horton's can produce long waiting lines on a daily basis for their coffee and doughnuts and no one really talks about coffee art. Canadians are the inventors of basketball, telephones, five-pin bowling and instant mashed potatoes and would rather be peace-keepers than fight wars.
There is so much more that I am proud of that I never realized until Saturday night. You see the NHL hockey strike is over and no matter how many Canadians threatened to boycott the games the arenas were full. It doesn't take much to change the average Canadian mind. Just offer them a free beer like the NHL promoters did because in the end Molson beer and hockey are king.
For the last few years I was groomed to be a San Francisco Giants fan and if I wanted to watch hockey it was only available on the NHL channel. I never realized that my love for Giant's pitcher Brian Wilson could be overturned so quickly watching the 60th Anniversary of Hockey Night in Canada on TV.
Faster than speeding puck shot by by Zdeno Charaall in a NHL all-star game baseball memories of Cody Ross, Sandoval and Buster Posey were erased. I cried watching hockey greats Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau and Serge Savard grace the ice during Saturday night's televised festivities.
Listening to the overture of Hockey Night in Canada I remembered my late father rooting for the Toronto Maples Leafs for his entire lifetime and the excitement of the hockey season throughout Canada. You cannot remove the love of hockey from the hearts of Canadians no matter what and it doesn't matter how much Heinz 57 blood flows through my veins- I am and always will be a proud Canadian.
"Strike what strike? I was too busy enjoying this free beer and free kids ticket with the purchase of every adult ticket." Alexi Diaz
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Cowansville High School book will be available in January