I admire my American neighbors’ patriotism. They express their love for their country by celebrating every chance they get. But don’t get me wrong—I love my country too! After all, today is National Flag of Canada Day. Personally, I think it should be called “Canada Flag Day.”
I had no idea it was “Canada Flag Day” until my dad brought it my attention. Heck, it isn’t even a statutory holiday.
Dad squared his shoulders. “Tracy, our country declared National Flag of Canada Day on February 15th, 1996, to commemorate the day our flag was raised over Parliament Hill back in 1965.” (Parliament Hill is located in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.)
“Dad, you’re so smart!”
Honestly, I wondered why my dad made such a fuss. Then I had an “Aha!” moment. You see, “Canada Flag Day” falls on the same day as my dad’s birthday. That’s why I’m posting today—February 15th—instead of tomorrow. I want to commemorate my dad’s life. He’s 81 years-young!
Here’s a photo of my dad racing in a go-kart.
I couldn’t pull him off the track.
I’m so thankful that my dad is alive and kicking. He still glides across fluffy white snow and cross-country skis with Mom. As soon as the snow melts, he hops into a golf cart, stopping at each of the 18 holes to swing a golf club. He peddles his bicycle to collect the mail. He steers the car to the grocery store to shop for my mom. (Both of my parents are also active in their church and volunteer at a local food bank. They put me to shame. Egad!)
My dad is also a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer. He placed his life on the line to serve and protect out great country.
Dad’s badge, stamped with the number 2211, is still clipped inside his wallet. (Did you know that’s the same number Clint Eastwood’s character, Inspector Harry Callahan, carried around in the movie Dirty Harry? How cool is that?!)
My dad locked me behind the wire cage in the back of the cruiser and drove me to high school. Of course, I begged him to do it. After arriving at the scene of the crime, the back door swung open and I stepped out like a hardened criminal. The “cool” teenagers, huddled out in front of the school, gasped. I hoisted my chin like the Canadian Flag and strutted past. I was a movie star of sorts. Hee hee.
Dad plays a mean game of chess and scrabble, too.
“Do you feel lucky?” Dad said, mimicking Clint Eastwood. “Well, do ya, punk?”
“Yeah, yeah…sure, Dad.” Gulp. “Whatever you say.”
“Go ahead, make my day.”
That’s why I’m so competitive. If you’re curious as to what I mean, check out this post.
Okay, I confess. Dad didn’t repeat those Clint Eastwood lines. He’s too much of a softy.
Since I was the eldest of his five children, my dad desperately wanted me follow in his footsteps—learn how to play the game of golf.
On my 12th birthday, he presented me with second-hand ladies’ golf clubs. I wheeled my bag of clubs and trotted into the backyard. I’ll be a pro in no time.
I gripped the metal stick and hunched forward. “Dad, this will be a piece of cake,” I said in my usual cocky tone.
I swung the club with every ounce of strength I could muster. I missed, hundreds of times. I threw the club over the fence and stomped into the house.
I resigned from the game of golf and became Dad’s caddy instead. He doled out $1 each time we went to the golf course—enough to buy a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, and a can of Pepsi. Hmm…wonder whatever became of those clubs?
One time, my cat vanished, disappearing in the middle of winter, when temperatures dipped to sixty below zero. Every night, after working three jobs to keep food on the table, Dad jammed his arms into his parka, grabbed his flashlight, and scoured the neighborhood until dawn.
Two weeks later, dad appeared with the cat. The poor thing was frozen from the waist down. He did thaw out and survived, and all because my dad loved me enough to brave temperatures that would make your nose fall off.
Dad, thank you for these wonderful memories and hundreds more. Happy Birthday! I love you!
If you’re fortunate enough to have parents that are still alive, tell them how much you love them. Send one of my greeting cards, use the telephone, email, Skype—whatever works for you. Just remember…life is too short for regrets.
Oh, and Happy Flag Day, Canada! :-)
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