Our little family arrived in Canada from England in 1948, stayed with a relative in Wainwright for a while, and then settled in the friendly town of Ponoka, Alberta to begin the next exciting chapter of our lives. It took us a long time to get used to the cold winters, but the people were so helpful and friendly, and the welcome mat was always out.
There were so many great memories from those early years, but one of the most exciting was starting Grade 1 at that big old Red Brick School, and it would from there that so many of us were able to make a whole lot of lifelong friends and share all sorts of adventures and growing up experiences in and around Ponoka for the next 50 plus unforgettable years. Along the way, my mother and father and I proudly became Canadian citizens, and then, after my brother Peter was born, we settled into our first real home along the hospital road next to the golf course.
Like so many others, as new Canadians, we likely still followed some of the customs and traditions that we brought from our homeland, but before too long we lost the accent and took on a whole new wild and wonderful family lifestyle that really grows on you. How lucky we are to be a part of this great and free nation, which features four fabulous seasons that change as quickly as our political preferences, magnificent scenery from sea to sea, and all sorts of perks such as long holiday weekends, home grown produce and beef, and of course, hockey and the Blue Jays.
The reasons why we are tried and true Canadians.
*We know how to pronounce and spell Saskatchewan without blinking.
*We put on shorts as soon as it hits plus 10, even if there is snow still around, and we know what a toque is for.
*We really get excited whenever an American television show mentions Canada, and they say a few nice things about OUR OIL.
*We use a red pen on our non-Canadian textbooks and fill in the missing u’s from the words labor, honor, and color.
*We have Canadian Tire money in our kitchen drawers, we fly the Canadian flag in our back yard, and we attach the pennants of our favourite sports team to the windows of our vehicles when they make the playoffs.
*Only we know that Pike is a type of fish and not part of a highway, which we drive on, and is not called a freeway.
*We know what a Robertson screwdriver is, we drink pop and not soda, and we just love our fries all smothered in poutine.
*When nature calls we go to the washroom, not the restroom or the bathroom, and when someone accidently steps on our foot, it is usually us who apologizes.
*We have all worn shorts and a parka at the same time, we find two degrees only ‘a little’ chilly, and we are blessed with four seasons…..almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction. We have all switched from ‘heat’ to ‘AC’ in the same day and back again, and during some winters we may have more miles on our snow blowers than on our cars.
*We know very well that schools don’t issue a ‘snow day’ unless there is a severe blizzard, which, by the way, we are very good at driving through, in two feet of snow at 90 kms an hour without even flinching.
*We don’t mind leaving our wet winter boots at the door when we are visiting the dentist or other offices, and we always carry jumper cables in our car, which our wives know how to use very well.
*We faithfully install security lights on our house and garage, but leave them both unlocked, and we believe that driving in winter is much better because all the potholes are full of snow.
*We design our kid’s Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit, just in case.
*We firmly believe, that ‘EH’ is a very important part of our day-to-day vocabulary, and to be a tried and true Canadian we must be able to understand the 1000 different meanings of ‘EH EH.’, especially when they come from the mouths of our youth (mainly teenagers.).
*If we actually understand all these Canadian jokes and love to play them on tourists, we definitely live in Canada, and are extremely proud of it.
Many unique creations of our green thumbs, artists, and hobbyists of all ages from Ponoka and districts will be on display on Friday and Saturday-August 21 and 22 during the annual Ponoka Agricultural Fair at the Ponoka Legion. Public viewing times will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on August 21 and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 22, followed by the award ceremonies. For information on entering items in the Home-Hobby-Horticulture Show, please pick up a copy of the book around town, or phone Donna Rudd at 403-784-3292 or Kathleen McKelvie at 403-783-2553. The days are slowly getting a little shorter, so please try to get out and enjoy them all as much as you can, and have a great week, all of you.