When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me stories of distant, far away, lands in fairy tale worlds. He’d tell them to me as I would lay down to fall asleep every night, to comfort me into a deep, warm slumber. I learned about Neverland, about Middle Earth, about Redwall & Mossflower…but my favorite was always an oddly named place called “Canada.”
Canada just sounded so interesting, I always wished it was real. It was land where hockey was genuinely appreciated, where horrible beer was celebrated in some sort of macho unison, where you could put special gravy on fries. Where it was cold, and desolate, and yet the people were happy, friendly, charming.
I used to stay up sometimes when I’d hear these tales – though my dad never knew. I was sneaky like that. A land of cold friendly people celebrating otherworldly things – it sounded like Narnia! Considering The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe was my favorite book, it was amazing to hear of another similar realm.
I imagined walking through my own wardrobe and entering their world. Would their lion be a king as well? No, I thought, it would be even cooler. Maybe one of those hockey players with their famous “mullet” haircuts and missing teeth that allowed you to search deep into their mystical mouths. Would there be an ice queen? No, Canada was a world where everyone was pleasant, warm, thoughtful. They’d have a “moose” – a magical animal they had that reminded me of an overweight and slow deer – who’d wear a magnificent but humble crown, and guard the people from outside terrors.
I think of Canada often. It brings me back to that childhood innocence where I wasn’t afraid to dream and imagine all the wonder created for young, hopeful minds like mine.