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Posted by Somebody's Mother on 6:38 PM
What makes us Canadian? Snow…and lots of it.
It snowed last Monday. It snowed through the day and through the night. As I walked out of my workplace on Monday and had to clean off my car, I took a deep breath. This was a situation where the actual action was worse than the anticipation. The snow was heavy and there were mounds and mounds of it. Cleaning off my car was a real workout.
I drove through greasy streets at an overly cautious forty kilometres an hour and I was sure that more macho drivers were swearing at me. As I drove back to work an hour later in the dark, slipping and sliding and again crawling over the College Street bridge, I had to face a new and unexpected truth about myself. I was glad. I was excited that it had snowed.
It has finally occurred to me that winter without snow is no winter at all. I thought that I would love and be thrilled with such a winter. What has happened to me? Can I say that I have finally and irrevocably become Canadian?
A Globe and Mail article revealed the fact that most immigrants tend to identify themselves with their ethnic group first and their Canadian nationality second. We may have Chinese Canadians, African Canadians, Italian Canadians and Irish Canadians. Is it then possible to have American Canadians?
Quite frankly, I find myself referring to the people below the border as them and the people above the border as us. At first, this was something of a shock to me but as the years rolled by and as I realized that I had lived in Canada longer than I had ever lived in the United States, this seemed like a natural progression.
While my New York accent has toned down, it certainly has not faded away as my friends and work mates constantly remind me. Yet, the days when I spelled the word, colour as color are long gone. I have even given in to the our in the word, neighbour. I must admit that writing a cheque is problematic as I always want to write a check and I am always tempted to throw an extra c in somewhere.
This was all inevitable but when did I start to like snow? I could delude myself by arguing that walking my dogs in the woods on a hard-packed surface of snow is far easier than sinking in the mud or sliding on sheets of ice. Actually, that’s not a delusion; that’s true. I’m comfortable with the assertion that snow looks a lot prettier than brown fields although my lawn was eerily green up to a week ago.
No, I truly began to like snow when I discovered that I could cross country ski and love it. We live in a place where we have easy access to lovely trails and we can whoosh around to our hearts’ content. Compare that with life in my hometown of New York City where the snowiest silence you can hope for is finding a quiet corner of Central Park.
Now that the snow is here and the children are playing with it, I’m going to get out in too and I hope to enjoy it like any other true-blue Canadian. After all, it is the patriotic thing to do.

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