CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - Oh Canada!

(02/19/2001)

I had just walked into the Blue Moon for what I had hoped would be some good literary discussions when I caught the last of Okey Hanshaw's "bomb 'em into the Stone Age" blast. I thought he was referring to Iraq or one of "them furrin countries acrost the waters." Many nights the boys of the Blue Moon are themselves bombed into the Stone Age led on by Old Al Hag let out of the bottle.

However, he gained my undivided attention when he said we should send troops to Toronto and Montreal. What had our good NAFTA buddy north of the border done to arouse his wrath?

"Every winter they pull this," he yelled. "Just because we send them acid rain's no reason to get smart about it!" Okey was on some sort of a roll and he looked as if he might roll off the bar stool at any moment.

Arley Cleeter and I are outsiders and we have learned to listen until called upon to speak, something a whole slew of outside do-gooders who come in to help the "ignorant hillbillies" never seem to understand.

Okey had a frothing crowd around him and they all looked ready for a good country lynching.

"Any country that calls cops Royal Mounted Police and has 'em riding around in cars is degenerate!" Okey was calling them as he saw them, but perhaps with a Mad Dog 20-20 vision. "Anyone ever see Sgt. Preston in a car?" he sneered. No one dared admit it openly.

"Annex 'em, give part of 'em to Montana and part to New York," he continued. Now, wait a minute, I thought, as I felt the Manifest Destiny genes within me rise to the surface. What about Michigan and Maine and other border states? Shouldn't they get their fair share?

Why not use the country for a renewed Land Grant system? Award each of the states a portion which could be sold, or in West Virginia's case, gambled away with our propensity for compulsive gambling proven each year when the state legislature meets in session.

Or better yet, let the legislature practice making laws to govern the natives of the frozen northland before applying them to us of good hill stock. Try out legalized gambling, seatbelts for snowmobiles, property taxes on frozen assets, school closings for two weeks during moose season. Or, on second thought, enable the highways department to use our part of Canada as collateral for selling bonds for road improvements, about the only method we haven't tried.

I was awakened from my reverie by Arley Cleeter nudging me and asking in a whisper why we wanted to whip Canada. I had to admit that I really didn't know, but it sure seemed like a good idea a few moments ago.

I hushed him to listen to Okey continue. "Every winter they pull this," he was practically screaming and his face was a livid red. "A cold air mass moving down from Canada, the weatherman says. And no one does a thing about it! The Artic Express. The Alberta Clipper, the Canadian chill. There ain't no doubt where it comes from!" There was the sound of pounding mugs on the counter as well as from my patriotic heart. The natives were restless tonight!

"We kicked the (expletive deleted) out of Granada, we bombed the (expletive deleted) out of Iraq, why not take on a tenth-rated country like Canada? Remember George X. Patton!" he frothed.

There were wild cheers as everyone remembered George X. Patton, and we just might have had a wild charge north at that moment but Homer Bob turned on the TV and there was The Cat's team and someone had just scored a three-pointer. "How 'bout them 'eers!" Okey yelled. Everyone applauded and Canada was saved.

Who says sports can't substitute for war?


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