Born on the Fourth of July

Mademoiselle Liberte patriotic crepe paper art kit - ullabenulla
Mademoiselle Liberte paper craft patriotic kit by ullabenulla

On Canada Day, I think of the United States.
It’s inevitable.
And it’s also very personal.

Our two countries are so very different, yet we both sprang from the womb of Brittania who once indisputably ruled the waves:

Two colonies who grew up and got all independent, as children are wont to do — one, a brash bold charming young Alpha male, charging out into the world with flags flying and supreme self-confidence; the other, more feminine and accomodating, half-envious and half-despairing of resisting the testosterone tornado from the south…

Why can’t we all just get along?

On the First of July, each year, I march in the Canada Day parade with our local field trial club, accompanied by my best-behaved dog. He’s the one who affects not to notice the big brass band that’s marching after us, or the Chinese dragon dancing ahead.

This dog is American-born, in fact— but what does he know? He’s just happy to be here, out for a lovely walk in the summertime, meeting new friends…

Walking in that parade, waving my little Maple Leaf at the laughing roadside crowds, I am aware only of music and the breeze and a sea of red-and-white flags, a blur of faces… just change the flags to Stars and Stripes, and this could be Independence Day in any New England town.


I was born on the Fourth of July.

But that’s not what it says on my birth certificate.

In the small border-town hospital where I was born, the windows of the maternity ward looked south. On the night of the Fourth of July, in the final hour of her labour, my mother distracted herself by watching the fireworks over the river. She told me so.


I was born on the Fourth of July.

But my father refused to permit it.

If he could have kept me in the womb for another hour, no doubt he would have done so. But even in the moment that I was delivered, a cacophany of boat and car horns was heralding the fireworks finale on the American side. (more…)

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