Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I. Am. Canadian.

During these scandal-plagued Olympic games, it seems appropriate somehow that the main thing my children are learning about Canadian patriotism is the importance of drinking beer.

"Drop your gear for beer!" my pastor chanted periodically Friday night, after the CTV coverage of the opening ceremonies began with a clip of the MuchMusic VJs lounging in a hot tub with bikini-clad twelve-year-olds while audience members competed in what appeared to be an impromptu stripping contest. The pastor and her family were visiting during the opening ceremonies and, luckily for us, the children had left the room just in time to miss the VJs doing "body shots" (though not in time to avoid seeing horrific footage of the fatal luge accident).

Refusing to learn from experience, I called my kids into the living room last night to watch Maelle Ricker compete in the snowboard cross finals. "I always cheer for Canada," Pie confided, snuggling in beside me on the couch, and as the four of us hooted and hollered at Maelle's gold-medal performance, Bub noticed something on the TV.

"Hey, we should get that Canadian drink!" he exclaimed, pointing excitedly at the screen.

"Is it Canada Dry ginger ale?" hubby asked from the kitchen.

"No," I answered. "It's the other Canadian drink."


*****

I am a patriot, but even I balk at the idea of serving my six-year-old beer. I will, however, serve up pancakes with maple syrup, so we celebrated Shrove Tuesday last night with chocolate-chip pancakes and (uncharacteristically) a generous dollop of artificial table syrup. We are normally a real maple syrup family, purchasing our syrup from a local farm that offers hay rides and pumpkin tosses in the fall, along with sugar bush tours in the spring. But we laid in a supply of the artificial stuff this year because hubby was in charge of making French Toast for the Valentine's Day church breakfast.

It has been years since I've tasted fake maple syrup, and I was surprised at how good it was - and at how readily it took me back to the last time I'd tried it. "It tastes like camp," I told hubby on Sunday morning. With my first bite I was transported instantly to a dining hall full of kids chanting "Bea, Bea, if you're able, keep your elbows off the table! This is not a horses' stable, but a first-class dining table!"

So I shouldn't have been so surprised last night when Bub ran in excitedly, holding out his plate full of pancakes. "These pancakes are making my tummy ... are making my whole body remember what we used to do!" he spluttered. "We used to go to a Santa party!"

It was a few moments before I figured out what he meant. Two Christmases ago we went up to the local farm to have breakfast with Santa. It wasn't a great success - we were expected to huddle over our breakfasts in a tent heated inadequately by an electric space heater, so we bolted down pancakes with syrup and blueberry sauce while Santa did his best to whip up some enthusiasm with his jingle bells. It was a forgettable morning, at least until last night, when his first taste of table syrup called up the memory in Bub's tummy.

This was a first of sorts: Bub's first encounter with the phenomenon of sense memory, his first discovery of the way the present can suddenly be invaded by the past at the whiff of cloves or the taste of syrup on the tongue.

8 comments:

planetnomad said...

His whole body remembered it? I love this! The best thing I've heard all day.
And go Canada!

Carrien said...

We had gingerbread pancakes last night. And even girls who tend to leave their pancakes untouched finished them off. I win! :)

I have nothing to say really, But your post made me laugh. especially the part about the other Canadian beverage. :)

Yay Canada.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

We are patriotic about being Central Oregonians. The front page of our little local newspaper has been dedicated, this last little while, to "Our Athletes"! Our Athletes come with a special kind of beer, too.

Nicole said...

Love it. Also, thanks for the camp memories of the elbows off the table song.

Carol said...

I would mostly be concerned that your child is learning the WRONG "Canadian" beer, since Molson's is as American as they come. Explain to him that real Canadians drink Alexander Keiths, and all will be well!

Morrigan said...

I'm pleased to hear that I'm not the only one who is appalled by CTV's Olympic coverage. The Much Music coverage on opening night sickened me. I've never been a fan of CTV's news coverage, but when did they turn into tabloid TV?!

I love that Bub's whole body remembered the breakfast with Santa :)

lildb said...

i love your little Bub. what a great kid.

kittenpie said...

I love sense memories - but even more, the way Bub described it. What a wonderful way to remember.