Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have a confession to make: I am an American by birth. There, it’s off my chest. To my Canadian friends, don’t hold it against me . . . I didn’t really have a lot of say in the matter. To my American friends (if I have any left) don’t begrudge my dual citizenship. Even though I chose to become Canadian, it wasn’t because I don’t like Americans. I came to Canada with my parents as a kid and decided I liked it here . . . then I grew up and met a beautiful Canadian girl . . . then had two wonderful Canadian children. Somewhere along the evolutionary trail of life I was transformed from a Yankee to a Canuck.

Speaking of nationalities, did it ever seem strange to you that the folks in the US have cornered the market on the word "American?" I know it’s an old rant, probably invented because of our Canadian insecurity about sharing a continent with the most powerful nation on earth, but it does make you wonder. Click here and here for a couple humorous ditties on Canadians and Americans.

I’ve always liked living in Canada. For one thing, our health care system is better (sorry, couldn’t help giving one more jab . . .). For another, the people are nice (usually). And then there’s all the fun things to do, like skiing, skating, snowball fighting and ice fishing. What’s that? You Americans say you get to do that stuff too? Maybe so, but not in the middle of July.

It doesn’t really snow in July or August here, although this year I thought it might. We actually got enough nice weather last weekend to sneak in one more camping trip. My kids (who are born Canadians) braved the elements and went swimming. I opted out, but participated in the activity by breaking icicles off their ears and eyebrows in between dips.

Kids are funny. Teeth chattering, lips blue, they say, "Dad, aren’t you coming in? The water is great!" True blue Canadians.

Now to resume your regularly scheduled programming, here are the latest news flashes from Firefighting in the Boondocks:

  • The pumper is having brake issues. Not to fear, Upsala, the problem is being fixed by our faithful friends at the Upsala Garage. Time and the taxpayers money will do their magic, and the truck will be back in service in no time.
  • TransCanada Pipeline gave a presentation at the fire hall last evening about responding to natural gas emergencies. Once again we’ve been educated on how fast and how far to run when all hell breaks loose.
  • A firefighter handed in her pager after the training session (the emergency response equivalent of tossing in the towel). No, it wasn’t because she was afraid of being blown up in a pipeline emergency . . . it was just time to move on to something else.
  • The Amkus spreader is still in the repair shop, but our good friends at the Fire College are allowing us to keep their Hurst tools for now. That’s good news for all the sleepy, careless and impatient drivers on Highway 17. Crashing your car between English River and Raith is bad enough. It would be worse to have the fire department show up and say, "Sorry folks, our spreader (that could have pried you out of this mess in ten minutes) is 2000 kilometres away being fixed." That would be enough to ruin anyone’s day.
  • If we need help in all of these troubles, again never fear, Ignace and Conmee fire departments are standing by, ready to help . . . we just need to give them an hour’s notice to make the 100 kilometre drive.

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