Only In Canada, You Say

 

Only in Canada….can you get a pizza to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in Canada….are there handicap parking spaces in front of a skating rink.

Only in Canada….do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in Canada….do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries…. and a diet cola.

Only in Canada….do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Canada….do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put all our useless junk in the garage.

Only in Canada….do we use answering machines to screen calls, and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from somebody we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

Only in Canada….do we buy hot dogs in packages of twelve and buns in packages of eight.

Only in Canada….do we use the word ”politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.

Only in Canada….do they have drive-up ATMs with Braille lettering.

Only in Canada….do we buy the kids’ Halloween costumes big enough to fit over a snowsuit.  (American SpellCheck doesn’t recognize “snowsuit”, but offers swimsuit.)

 

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canucks:

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May you may live in Canada.
If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you may live in Canada.
If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Canada.
If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialled a wrong number, you may live in Canada.
If “Vacation” means going anywhere south of Detroit for the weekend you may live in Canada.
If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Canada.
If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Canada.
If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again, you may live in Canada.
If you can drive 90 kms/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Canada.
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Canada.
If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Canada.
If the speed limit on the highway is 80km — you’re going 90 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Canada.
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Canada.
If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Canada.
If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Canada.
If you find 2 degrees C “a little chilly”, you may live in Canada.
If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your Canadian friends & others, you definitely live in Canada!

Only in Canada would we have, not one, but two huge Maple Syrup thefts.  I’m not talking about some guy who got over a fence, sneaked in the back door, and got away with a couple of gallon jars of sweet stuff.  We’re talking about millions of liters, and perhaps as much as thirty million dollars worth of purloined stock.

The province of Quebec produces between 70 and 80 % of the world’s maple syrup, and two-thirds of that is exported to the US.  Inventory losses at a Quebec bulk storage warehouse were traced to a company in New Brunswick.  The stolen syrup was impounded and returned to its legal owners.  An idea of the size of the theft, is that the police-escorted return convoy consisted of fifteen full-sized tanker trucks.

The second theft does not appear to be quite as large.  Police estimate 800 barrels, which is 36,000 gallons, which is 163,500 liters.  That’s a sweet lot of pure profit.  I’m astounded at the size of the first theft.  One truckload is understandable….but fifteen?

Truckload-lot thefts are more common than you might think.  Trucking firms in the area have lost as many as three trailers at once.  A couple of guys cut the chain on the gates, roar in, hook up to already loaded and waiting trailers, and are gone by the time security or police arrive.  Stealing maple syrup involves bringing your own tanker, and waiting till it’s pumped full, in the first robbery, fifteen times.

Young women in Quebec eat a lot of, both maple syrup, and French pea soup.  This may explain why they are round and sweet, all except Celine Dion.

One co-worker’s brother was a truck driver for a local Seagram’s Distillery plant.  About once a week, he was sent to Toronto to bring back a tanker load of rye whiskey, for blending or bottling.  When he pulled into the yard, he would connect the dump valve on the bottom of the tanker to a large flexible hose, and open the valve.  When the tank was empty(?) he would drive to the parking area, where his truck was obscured by other trucks.

He would place a clean plastic pail under the valve and reopen it.  After finishing his paperwork, he would go back out and pick up half to three-quarters of a pail of rye, collected from those last drops on the inside of the tank.  He filled easily obtained empty bottles, and sold them for half price, making an extra hundred dollars a week, and a lot of friends.

A trucker from near the Quebec border, who delivered to my son’s plant, also owned a farm with a woodlot.  He made his own maple syrup, and my son bought some from him for several years.  It was the dark, strongly flavored type, at a good price.  A new job means we now buy it, a gallon at a time, from Mennonites at the farmers market.

Trees used to be tapped and drip into buckets.  There could be contamination.  Nowadays all taps, several to each tree, are connected to plastic tubing, which delivers the raw sap directly to the boiling shed.  If you drive past a sugar-bush in operation, it looks like the trees are caught in a giant spiderweb.

That’s not all I know about maple syrup, but I know that it’s time to call for a rest.  Anyone hungry?  How about some pancakes or waffles?

Heading North

This is a follow-up post to my Goin’ South blog, about the first time I drove to Florida with my brother.  Before I make the big U-turn and head back, there were a few later-remembered details about the trip down, and the stay, that I thought I’d present.

The first two occurred in/near Toledo, Ohio.  First, I had worked for over seven years making parts for Jeeps.  The Jeep plant is just off I-75, and can be seen clearly from the highway.  It’s an old plant, parts of which are five floors tall.  On the roof of the building, they display three or four different models, one of which is sitting on its ass at a 45 degree slant, looking like it’s climbing an elevator housing.

The I-75 bypass runs down the west side of Toledo, then across the southern edge.  Just as it makes the big turn to the south again, across the highway sits the largest Muslim mosque in the United States.  The huge white building, with its gold-colored dome is very impressive.

We shared the driving.  Rest areas on the highway are about forty miles apart.  One of us would drive, and stop at every third rest area.  Since we drove at 110/120 KmH, which is 65/70 MPH, the hundred and twenty miles took us about two hours.  Then we’d pull in, jump out, stretch and walk to the washrooms, get something to drink, trade drivers and be on the road again in about five minutes.

All the way down I-75, at every rest area we stopped at, the men’s washrooms were on the left, and the women’s were on the right.  I believe it was at the welcome center near the Georgia border.  We pulled in and, since I was passenger, I got to the washrooms first.  I plunged through the left door, and it took me several seconds to wonder why there were no urinals.  I backed out quickly.  Fortunately there were no female customers or a security guard to explain why I was in the women’s washroom, to, at four in the morning.

While in Florida, we went to Kissimmee, where there is a huge flea market under roofs.  I bought a copy of the floating bill trick, at a magic shop for my son.  The flea market was across the road and just down the street from a Medieval Times dinner/show.  Apparently it’s not there anymore, but there is one in Toronto, a little over an hour down the highway.

We also went to a place called Olde Towne, in Orlando.  It’s a tourist cash siphon with period restaurants and cars on display, as well as a plethora of little shops selling trinkets of all types.  This was the first place I had ever seen a shop selling semi-precious stones, so I bought some and some holders, for the wife.  These shops have since made their way into Canada.  There’s one up at the farmer’s market.  The son has thirteen different carved stone skulls, from thumb-tip sized, to golf-ball.

I had won a contest in a knife magazine, and received a hand-made knife from a maker in Orlando.  In my thank-you letter to him, I said that, if I were ever near him, I would stop in to visit.  Here was my first chance.  I borrowed the van and drove into the city.  I missed an exit on a toll-road and had to pay an unnecessary charge, both going, and coming back.  We spent a nice morning.  I saw his neighbor’s mint Corvair.  He had a map, with pins, of all the people he had sold knives to.  Not knowing anything about Ontario, he had my pin in the muskeg, somewhere just off Hudson’s Bay, so I correctly placed it for him.

We left to go home on the next Saturday morning.  Early!  I had provided a Koolatron, an insulated chest with an electrical heat exchange unit for keeping things cold.  It could plug into a cigarette lighter, and had an adapter for in-home use.  We prechilled it Friday and took it out and plugged it into the van Friday evening.  We were up at five AM, finished closing up the trailer, and were ready to hit the road by five-thirty.  And the Koolatron had killed the ten-year-old battery.

Now what do we do?  He complained that “the old folks” in the park slept in, sometimes till seven-thirty or eight o’clock.  While we were still thinking about who to wake up, and when, a young man in his late teens came around delivering newspapers.  At first I thought it was SightnBytes’ rusty Corolla, but it was a beat-up red Datsun.  We waved him down and he had jumper cables and agreed to help start the van.  At last we were on our way home.  An hour *late*, but moving north.

The trip back was just like the drive down, only without a visit to a women’s washroom, and still no mountain scenery.  Three years in a row I made this trip, and six times I missed the Appalachians because they were always in the night portion of our trips.  I had to wait a couple more years till I could afford to take the wife to South Carolina, to see the wonders of the mountains.  He and I had a late supper at a seafood restaurant near Mount Airie, where Andy Griffith lived, 3500 feet up and two hundred miles from the ocean.  I remembered it and took an appreciative, seafood-loving wife there five years later.

This was my first long driving trip, and I found I liked it.  I became a bit of a map-nut from studying the road-atlas, to see where we were.  I now have two road-atlases and two hardcover atlases at home and often look up exactly where a newspaper story occurred.

P.S.

www.granmaladybug.wordpress.com is now on the air.  First blogs about cats, to be followed by cooking, candlemaking, etc.  Visit at your own risk.