Yesterday I woke up in my own bed for the first time in a week. Work was nuts last week and I was exhausted . . . even after a good sleep. I was thinking about the march in Toronto and debating whether or not to go. At the last minute my friend Nancy and I made plans to meet up and show our solidarity.
It was a HUGE crowd in Toronto - actually, I understand that crowds beyond all expectations was the experience around the planet. Marches and rallies happened on all seven continents . . . I bet that has not happened before!
Here are some shots from the Toronto rally and march.
Love the front page of the Toronto Star today . . .
The other day I took mom, Paul, and Rose into the city for an evening out. We started off at the office - they wanted a tour and they received the full hour-long version. Easy to do when the office is closed and there are no distractions.
We had a good dinner at il Fornello (although I wasn't able to eat most of mine thanks to the lasting effects of this damn flu).
Then we saw the musical Come From Away - an improbable musical about the days after 9-11. Imagine - a musical about 9-11. The very thought is almost a repugnant insult.
Except this story is not really a tale of mayhem and death rather it latches onto the better sides of the human psyche . . . hope, helpfulness, and looking out for one another.
The show tells the tale of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed almost 7,000 grounded travelers and the crews from 38 planes which were redirected to the town airport in the hours after the 9-11 terrorist attacks after the US closed its airspace. I had read rave reviews of the show as it was developed over the past few years - first as a part of the Sheridan College theatre incubation project and then as it was refined in studio in La Jolla, Seattle, and Washington DC. The Toronto show is the last stop before the play opens on Broadway.
The underlying theme to the play is the extraordinary efforts ordinary people can take when they see a need and the lasting impacts of these efforts. In the scary and uncertain times following 9-11 the citizens of Gander and the surrounding towns welcomed the stranded passengers from those 38 grounded planes and transformed them. The true Canadian spirit - optimistic helpers who get things done against seemingly insurmountable odds - was the central theme to this play. It is a role we find joy in and play on the world stage.
Lately this is something I have reflected upon a fair bit.
Service to others.
It is a significant part of my familial DNA. Always in the background, quiet . . . but ever present. We do not run for office - that would be too much, but we do join in if necessary or even work independently to try and get things done. This service can present itself in odd ways at times. It has been the source of laughter, stress, and considerable comfort over the years.
I find as I grow older (something I plan on writing about in the future as I have been reflecting a lot on age for some weird reason) it is people being kind to one another in unplanned and unexpected ways that elicits a strong emotional response in me. When I read a new story about a stranger helping out a stranded family when they were in desperate need I can be moved to tears.
This is one of the key trickles of glue which holds us together as a global tribe. It is one of the things we will need to nurture, celebrate, and encourage over the coming years as the world seems to be moving down a dark and mean path.
Now back to that play . . .
The show was fabulous. One of the best theatre productions I have ever seen . . . and I have seen many. I would say 'go and see it' but the reality is it closes in a week and if you did not buy tickets back in October you are SOL.
If you're able I'd suggest go to Broadway and see it.
Now that brings up an interesting thought - how will a play which is as sweet as Canadian Grade A Maple Syrup play in New York? It has been suggested that Broadway might be a bit to cynical for this tale of infinite goodness. Then again, given the mood growing in the US right now it could be just the thing to remind New Yorkers of their shining moments of togetherness where their collective good made a difference when faced with great evil.
I apologize in advance for this crappy shot. I was out walking in Toronto a number of years ago and just managed to have my cell phone out at the right time to capture this lightning hitting the CN Tower.
A lot of Americans don’t know a whole lot about Canada beyond the basics. A lot of it is cold, the people pronounce “about” incorrectly, and their new prime minister is a young guy who’s anxious to legalize pot. After those few tidbits, most Americans fall back on the knowledge they learned from American sitcoms. Obviously, this information can be somewhat off base. For example, did you know most Canadians’ heads do not flap wildly above their jaw while they’re talking (a la South Park)? Shocking, I know. Here are some other things that might surprise you about the Great White North.
The Word ‘Eh’ Is Regional, You Largely Won’t Hear It Outside Central Canada
Canadians Love Them Some Hockey; That’s Not a Joke Or an Exaggeration
Canada Is So Massive That the Eastern Tip of Newfoundland Is Closer to London Than It Is to Vancouver
Pay Attention to the Moose Caution Signs, Because Those Darn Animals Are Everywhere
Yes, Winter Ends in Canada; It Might Not Last Very Long, But Summer Is a Real Thing There, Too
You’ll Always Be Informed About the Weather, Because Canada Runs 229% More Weather Coverage Than Any Other Country in the World
You Will Need a Passport to Get in, Because Canada Is An Entirely Different Country
Canada Is Super Diverse; Forty Percent of the Population of Canada Is Neither British Nor French and the Country Is Home to More Than 200 Languages
The American Dollar isn’t Accepted Everywhere, So Get Some Canadian Money
The Taxes in Canada Are Nuts; You Could Have As Much as 15% Extra Tacked Onto Your Bill as a Result of Federal Taxes (but we have free health care!! :-) )
In Ontario and Quebec, They Drink Milk Out of Plastic Bags, And They’ve Done So Since 1967
When You Walk Into a Store You Have to Announce Your Method of Payment Before You Actually Swipe Your Card and Get to Work
The Homicide Rate in Canada Is One of the Lowest in the World; Baltimore Has More Murders in a Month that Canada Does All Year
They Say ‘Sorry’ a Lot, Not As an Apology, But As a Way to Insure Harmonious Interaction
You Can Use An American Driver’s License to Drive in Canada, But You Should Still Research Their Driving Laws, Because There Are Some Differences
The Slang Term ‘Canuck’ Isn’t Considered Derogatory
The Reason the White House Is White Was Thanks to Canadian Troops Burning the Original in the War of 1812; It Was Repainted to Hide the Damage
There’s Always a Line Somewhere, Because Canadians Understand the Value of an Orderly Queue
Remember When You Were Backpacking Through Europe and You Told Everyone You Were Canadian So You Didn’t Have to Fess Up to Your American-ness? Yeah, Canadians Hate That
The National Sport Is NOT Hockey, It’s Lacrosse
Health Care Is Only Free For Canadians; If You Get Hurt, You’ll Still Need Health Insurance
The Border Between the US and Canada Holds the Record for the Longest Undefended Border in the World
The National Animal of Canada Is the Beaver, Which Are Extremely Common Throughout the Country
International Cell Phone Charges WILL Apply, So Make Sure You Figure Something Out With Your Phone Company Before Heading North
Some Canadians Claim They Beat America to Baseball By Three Weeks
There is a farm on the edge of Burlington which used to be famous for strawberries. Over the years they have transformed themselves into a more full-season operation - plants in the spring, strawberries, raspberries, veggies all summer, and now pumpkins in the fall.
I was at the farm last weekend (without my camera) to buy some pumpkins. I popped back up today WITH my camera to grab some shots.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.