This is the first post in an ultra-long time.
I’m posting because I’m feeling badly in the wake of Trump’s behavior at the June 8-9 G7 conference in Quebec. The extent of the anger, fear, surprise, and, finally, depression I’m feeling is taking me aback somewhat. I guess it’s because it feels strangely personal.
In my late teens and 20s our family used to go tent-camping in the Canadian Provincial Park system every August. We’d take the NY State Thruway north from the NY metro area, , the warm late-summer air pouring in the open windows of the big station wagon, mom driving, dad navigating if need be, and us 3 offspring in the rear seats, and supplies for 2 weeks’ roughing-it scientifically packed in the homemade top carrier by my father, whose engineering smarts, old Eagle Scout experience, and general handiness came in more than handy.
We loved Canada. We loved its sort-of Britishness when we were in Ontario, its sort-of Frenchness when we were in Quebec. We loved Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, we loved the little towns in the country you encountered so quickly upon leaving a city, the non-US yet somehow not foreign quality of it (at least to people whose lives have been spent in the northeastern US)
We loved the progress to whichever Provincial Park we’d decided to make home base, the increasing presence of woods, the gradual cooling even in the hottest summer… that breath of the northern forest. We pitched tents in wonderful places with camping facilities delicately inserted into dense woodland surrounding pure lakes where the loons called back and forth, that whiffling signal of community echoing across water at dusk, and the family in the nearest tent spoke French gently to each other around their campfire, and swathes of tart little low-bush blueberries growing like jewels among the tree-trunks.
We felt at home with the straightforward pleasant, sensible people, the very slight Scottish tilt to the English of many of the Anglophones among them. The 2 elderly ladies in the bookstore who charminglyasked my dad’s permission to pat his beard, just grown that year – this was probably about 66 or 7, when beards on professional men were still novel – saying it reminded them of the men of their girlhoods. The woman behind us at a band concert the year that Canada had adopted the maple leaf flag, saying to her companion that in her opinion it looked like a bath mat. The Park rangers who led us with about 20 other campers on a nighttime Wolf Howling expedition. The convivial feeling of breakfast at a Park inn after 2 solid days and nights of chilly rain, all us hardy adventurers dring off and eating giant helpings of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup. The Canadian border guards when we drove up to the checkpoint, casting an experienced glance into the car and at my parents’ IDs, asking a couple of routine questions in a friendly way, wishing us a good vacation and waving us through.
I could go on, but you get the gist. I am deeply offended on their behalf. They invited the man representing us to their home, and he slapped them in the face for no reason.