It’s Been Fun But…
After not spending a total of seven weeks in Canada over the last twenty-odd years, I have spent seven months in Canada this past year. During these past two months, the weather has been bearable and it has been great visiting with family, especially over Christmas.
However, Canada is Canada and winter is inevitable. Christmas is over and done, the family that you see only once a year will return to their lives for the next twelve months, and I will return to life in a Seniors’ complex.
Although I’m still in language limbo, listening as north of the border “sched-u-uls” a meeting while south of the Mason-Dixon Line, they ask “Whaa?”, I am getting better at being a Canadian.
Prices up here are very high. For everything… even Canadian products. My mother used to say that she found food prices in the US very high. I couldn’t see how she arrived at that opinion. The other day I was standing in the meat department at Food Thrills. The woman next to me had two packages of medium ground beef in her hand, trying to figure out why one was so much more expensive than the other. She asked me if I knew why?
Buying meat in Canada goes hand in hand with being able to program your VCR… only a youth can figure it out. Meat is sold in metric units, making it more difficult for us old codgers who have been unwilling to adapt. By reading the label, one of her ground meat packages was slightly larger than the other, by 7 or .7 or .07 milligrams, grams or maybe multi-grains, who knew? She went on to say that she had invited her grandsons over for hamburgers and a movie that night but was aghast at how much a humble hamburger was going to cost her to make.
This morning I was back down in Food Thrills, shopping for the advertised specials. This is how you MUST live in Canada to be able to eat at a more reasonable price. And you have to be there early, before the Chinese and the Iraquis buy them all. I’m getting much better at being Canadian.
The advertised special that I was after was Jane’s Pub-Style Chicken burgers – very tasty – and on special for half-price… $4.50. Food Thrills didn’t have any left by 9:30am, the first day of the sale. Disappointed and looking for variety in my menu, I spent some time in the frozen food section, eventually finding battered fish on for about half price as well. It still seemed like a very high price, but a deal is a deal.
I checked out, bagging my own groceries in my own plastic bag as a store bag is a nickel. I walked a few stores down through the mall, noticed Wal-Mart at the other end and had a brain storm. I walked back to Food Thrills, picked up and flyer then went to Wal-Mart, got a box of Jane’s Pub-Style chicken burgers and had Wal-Mart do a price match.
I found out that my mother is comparing advertised specials – like half off, etc – to the everyday prices in Kroger. No wonder she thinks American prices are higher. The difference is that you don’t need to wait for a sale on Pub-Style chicken burgers at Kroger, you can afford them everyday.
The season is over for the Alabama Crimson Tide and I’m getting itchy feet. Alabama football is the only sport left that I follow. Like every Canadian, I used to follow hockey but the money-making Institution of the Toronto Maple Leafs trumps quality hockey. Why bother putting a quality team on the ice when the suckers will line up for seats and merchandise no matter what the score?
Currently the big interest is in International Junior Hockey, this year being played in Canada, in Toronto and Montreal. Also televised, there is great interest in the game. Junior hockey is a patriotic thing, you root for your country whether it’s Russia, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada or the USA.
Canadians, like every country, want their team to win. But in Canada, it goes a step further. If you are a Swede, you shout, “Hurray, we beat (insert country here).” In Canada, it’s “Yah, yah, yah, we beat (insert country here)… when do we play the US?” Canada has a HUGE hockey rivalry with the United States. Last winter during the Olympics, the country near shut down for the Canada/US game.
Problem is, it’s a one-way rivalry. The Americans have no idea that they are engaged in a patriotic hockey battle with Canada. Americans, for the most part, barely know what hockey is. A hundred thousand fans will show up at a college football game in a state Canadians couldn’t find on a map, but Atlanta, population 8 million, couldn’t get 14,000 people to show up in a downtown arena to watch a professional hockey game.
It’s pert near time for me to find downtown Atlanta though. It’s been better in Canada this time around and I’ll stay as long as I have to to get my mother back on her feet.
Then, it will be time to go home.