O.K. Baumer

Orville Baumer was about my same age when I met him in grade school. We went to the 5th grade in Riondel and lived not too far apart. We also joined the Cub Scouts that same year, though Orville was a lot better at doing the badges than ever I was. I can only recall getting two in all my time – one for cooking and one for woodcraft. Orv got semaphore and shelter building and a lot more. He went on to Boy Scouts as well.

Orville was a home soul – he stayed in the town long after I had moved away. Went to high school there and eventually graduated a year ahead of me; I had dropped back a year through moving to Australia. He also stayed in the province for his university time, and got out faster with his degree than I did down here.

Orville had girlfriends in high school and university. A lot more than I did. He married a little earlier, though maybe that was a mistake – he ended up with a divorce from that first marriage. Thankfully, his second has worked out well, and he’ll be well into his thirty-some anniversaries.

Orville does like I do – keeps his cars until they are about 13 years old before trading them in. He never buys big ones – always just little sedans. He’s only taken two overseas holidays in his life. He lives in a regular house with the average amount of old furniture, cranky pets, and unsuccessful grass.

But Orv is different from me in one important respect. When tasked by some unknown  teenager with being responsible for all the ills of the world, Orville cringes and apologises. He says he is sorry for whatever the kid complains about and promises to do better. Orville bows his head in shame for owning his own little house and car, eating regularly, and minding his own business. Orville shys away from the internet groups and protest demonstrations and people who complain in malls.

Orville would never tell a work-shy, over-age, quasi-student who plays the welfare system like a xylophone for money, opiates, and sympathy that they are a public pest. He’d never call them pinko parish parasites. He’d never tell them to stuff their puerile secondhand manifesto where the sun don’t shine.

In many respects, Orville Kitchener Baumer is an admirably civilised person. I really should try to emulate him. One day. I’ll let you know which day I choose.

British Independence – Part Four – Cashing In

If Great Again Britain finally wrenches itself loose from the toils of the EU, and is politely asked to withdraw their Governors – General, Lieutenant, State, or Honorary as the case may be – from nations that have finally decided that they can also govern themselves, there will be formalities to be completed.

In the case of the United States these were conducted at Yorktown in Virginia some centuries ago. The representatives of the British Crown under Lord Cornwallis were invited to throw their muskets into a heap and get on board Royal Navy vessels and go away. The alternative was to be shot dead. It may not seem a very formal procedure, but it was effective.

We need not go the musket route here in Australia or New Zealand, though it would be a lot of fun. We can simply pack up the silver, paintings, Rolls Royce cars, and portraits of H.M., place the Governors on top of the pile, and send them back to Tilbury Docks via the next container ship. The various Government Houses can be occupied by the state or federal leaders and if it is done with efficiency no-one will really notice anything.

Canada may have a problem in that they will be replacing a Queen with a Trudeau and there may be a lot of popular sentiment against it. If they substitute a hockey goalie the thing might go well.

I think the UK would do well to look to a hitherto untapped source of funds – the Loyal Oath taken by new citizens of Commonwealth countries during their naturalisation ceremonies. I underwent one such affair in 1970 and it was a solemn and joyous occasion. A Bible was held and an oath of fealty to HM Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and assigns was taken. This was not given a run-out period and is in force today.

If the British BREXIT from Australia as well as from the EU, I am prepred to pay a fair fee for the cancellation of this oath and/or its transfer to an Australian President or King or High Ruler. If the transaction occurs during the reign of King Charles III, I would be prepared to pay more.

 

Thanksgiving Outrage In Britain, Europe, and Australasia

Facebook commenters all around the world are gearing up to be outraged at people in the United States this coming November 28th as the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Special scorn memes are being written for use whenever the poster’s attention score drops.

Of course there will be lots of them that target the American President for calumny, but that is pretty well a constant throughout the year. There will be any number of sneering and pious ones that mention pilgrims and the native tribes, but funnily enough the pilgrims will be the only ones held up to ridicule. The day will draw fire from the religiously-inclined as well as the opposite camp. One thing you can be sure of – if it is American, it’s going to be judged wrong…

Yet.

Yet Canada – that other North American plot of land – also celebrated a Thanksgiving day on October 14th. And no-one raised a peep about it – perhaps the crafty Canucks sneaked it in while people were looking the other way or were preparing to be culturally outraged about Halloween and Trick Or Treat… maybe people were just sympathetic to Canada for suffering another Trudeau Election and decided to give them a bye this time.

I’m thankful all the time – I go to sleep in warm bed and wake up each morning. I eat and drink my fill. I read whatever I like and build toy airplanes every day. The only part of this that makes me nervous is the thought that Facebook commentators will batten upon me and become outraged. I can’t decide whether I should pay more attention to them…or less.

Golden Time

Some people value gold. I don’t – my father’s life was focussed upon prospecting for it too many times – and under harsh conditions – for me to respect it. I recognise it for what it is – a solid medium of exchange that doesn’t vanish. Sometimes I wish it would.

But I also recognise that gold can also be good -particularly when it is as aetherial as light. I like golden light – particularly the golden light of late afternoon.

It’s always been that way. As a child in Calgary, Alberta, golden light was associated with the end of the school day, the release of responsibility, and the commencement of playtime and family time. I make no apologies for valuing these – they were good then and they are good now. And golden light triggers the happiness of these times.

We are in the process of rebuilding the back yard at our house. My wife has a personal vision of garden beds and rockeries and as she is the family gardener, I do not stand in her way. She had the brilliant idea of painting our eastern fence in a mustard yellow paint a few years ago and now when the sun sinks into the west it lights up the fence like a golden band. When you sit out under the pergola or look out as you eat your dinner you get this glorious blast of the essence of afternoon. I could not be happier.

There will be plants and trees and all sorts of garden eventually when the workmen stop laying limestone blocks but for now I am just basking.

Kinda Canada, Eh?

I once lived in Canada – for about 17-18 years. Then I moved to Australia and have racked up another 50+ years here – with time out for a working holiday in England. Thus I have the basic qualifications to be horribly wrong about three countries. I make the best use of whatever false insights I have made over the years.

Note: I also lived in the USA for a couple of years as a youth and a student. So I can be an instant expert about the place, too. If I am dreadfully wrong, it can be no worse than most of the overseas posts and news reports you read anyway.

All this leads me to a question; how long does one have to actually be in a country to be able to make a rational judgment on and useful report of it. How long does one need to form real memories – as opposed to the ones the glimpses airports and freeways give. How far down the biological and social chain does one need to go to reach the real experience? And is it worth going there?

Well, if your entire experience of, say, Canada was an arrival at Vancouver airport, transfer to a cruise ship and up the coast…then a quick trip to a ski resort and back to the airport…you might be forgiven for a really distorted view of the country. It might have been a pleasant holiday – in between two horrendous airplane flights – but you’d have no idea of summer in the fire season or winter on the prairies or the smell of hockey skates drying in an enclosed space. The same could be said for the tourist who comes to Australia  – though most of the North American visitors spend more time here than we do there. It’s the Asian tourists who do a quick round of casinos, beaches, and wildlife parks and then scatter back to their homes. Possibly with a glazed look in their eyes.

Does anyone ever take home a real view of a real place?

The Heatless Wave Gripping Australia

Here in Australia we are tortured and mocked every day by North Americans and Europeans with their news reports about heat waves. As we sit shivering over a meagre fire or try to stave off freezing by wrapping several dogs around us, they bask in the sunshine that is rightly ours and then have the temerity to complain about it.

Even the cartoonists and comics are on the game of complaining about heat. In some cases it is reasonably decent – over 38º C and a comfortable operating temperature. One could go around without a jumper and not feel the chill. In other instances it sounds like they are just bleating for the sake of hearing themselves. 35º for a week? In our summer we dream of this sort of comfort.

Well, it is almost August and the trough of winter is nearly gone. Soon it will be spring and we can all sit laughing at the hay fever sufferers as the Wattle Bomb detonates. And those of us who depend upon warm, dry weather to do airbrushing and painting can start our seasonal binge. I can hardly wait.

What Do You Do When You Look At The Map, Eh?

If you are looking at the map of North America and stray above the 49th Parallel you give a little start and say

” Oh. Canada…”

And in many cases you will be correct – save perhaps if you go too far north and are looking at Alaska or too far east and are looking at Quebec. Most of the rest is still Canada.

It’s not the Dominion of Canada, except to us old emigrants who cleared out of the place before 1982. The current flag is a red-and-white affair with a maple leaf on it* – symbolising a hockey team that rarely wins. This is considered quintessentially Canadian – both the hockey and the the not winning.

I suspect the current Prime Minister is also somewhat of a red-and-white affair as well, though it is naughty of me to say that. After all, he is someone else’s choice, saviour, and burden, and it’s not for me to mock the afflicted – or their afflictor, either. As Prime Ministers go, he will….eventually…and unless he takes out Australian citizenship I am safe. There is a whole planet full of molten lava between he and I.

I do miss Canada on some October days when the memories of the autumnal woods and the clear air return but then this is the start of Australian spring and the weather turns cheery here too. There is always solace in Canadian Club, maple syrup, and Red Green Show re-runs.

I am a little nonplussed by what our local hoteliers think makes for a Canadian celebration on Dominion Day – 1st of July. There is a great deal of foofle about Clamato and poutine  and no recognition at all of butter tarts. Remember these got a Prime Ministerial vote of approval in the days when Prime Ministers were real. I should be prepared to make a suitable Canadian menu up but some of my friends would be horrified at what was on it. Many of the dishes were developed before there were gluten or food allergies and quite a few of the ingredients were on the hoof, fin, or feather prior to being on the plate.

I shall celebrate the day with a highball and work on a model of a plane for my little RCAF airfield, wearing my plaid shirt, moccasins, and Red Green braces. It might not be the Inner Canadian that the novelists bang on about, but it can at least be the Inner Former Canadian, eh?

* A corporate logo. The old red duster for me. A proper flag with a flag and a crest on it.