• It’s almost here – and people are running amok in the streets and the malls! Oh, the humanity!

    Never fails to amaze me that Christmas seems to “sneak up” on people, and they go into a mad panic just before the “big day”. Today I had some errands to run – normal errands, since I finished all my shopping about a week ago – and was not entirely happy to be surrounded by frantic, grumpy people as they jostled for position in line ups, roared around in their cars, and basically behaved like crazed lunatics. I’m not big on crowds, and surly crowds don’t make it any better.

    Folks, really? It’s the same time every single year. What is the point of putting things off so long that you throw yourself (and everyone around you) into a tail spin at the last minute? And why is it that people seem to lose their common courtesy at the same time?

    Actually, that’s not entirely true. There were some really nice people out there today, including one young driver who waved 3 cars, including mine, out of the parking lot ahead of her so we didn’t have to wait forever to move. Now that was super nice, and I gave her a big smile and wave for doing so, as did the people she let out ahead of me. A feel-good moment amid the chaos of Christmas.

    Polite Canada is off to a slow start, but come the new year, we will get moving and introduce more content and contributors. “Mrs. Lawrence’s Terrific Twos” have a project waiting to go up, which will happen in early January.

    Please share with your friends, leave us a comment, and get involved with our movement! Help us make Canada even better!

    Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, friends!

  • Lest we forget.

    Image borrowed from CBC.ca

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    John McCrae, May 1915         


  • Soon after I first moved to New Zealand, I had an experience at the local shops.

    I held the door open for an older lady as I entered the post shop. (Post office) She said thank you and I said you’re welcome.  Then she looked at me funny. I assumed it was the accent.

    Up at the post shop counter I asked for some “international stamps, please!”

    And after I had purchased them, I said “thank you!” and turned to leave.

    But the clerk stopped me.

    “You’re from Canada, aren’t you?”

    I agreed that I was.

    She nodded.  “I could tell. You’re so polite. Americans aren’t.”

    It happened like that fairly frequently. People would declare they could tell I was Canadian, and not American just because I said “Please” and “Thank you.”

    And in one case, “Sorry.”

    I had just apologized for my loud daughter at an indoor event for the umpteenth time. (She likes to sing. A lot.)

    An older gentleman had been watching with a grumpy look on his face for quite some time.

    “Sheesh,” he finally said.  “You bloody Canadians. You don’t have to apologize for EVERYTHING, you know.”

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