Friday, February 4, 2011

Why These Thoughts?

There is no reason for these thoughts to cross my mind today. If I try to imagine why they are filling my head, I can only come up with this.

Dad's early morning routine for years now has been to rise at 6am and head to the gym. A few days ago, while there, he fell. The doctor sent him to emerg, for ex-rays. He's OK. No broken bones and was told to take Tylenol and grin. A diagnosis Dad loved.

My thoughts began when he told me that on his trip to emerg, he was wearing the 'Unity' sweater I knit for him several years ago and while at the hospital, received two compliments on the sweater. The 'Unity' sweater was knit during the 1995 'separation' crisis. The one when
Prime Minister Chretien said 50% plus one will be the number that decides if Quebec will separate. Dad went to Montreal to join the thousands that demonstrated against separation and I knit him a 'Unity' sweater. A large, blue Fleur de Lis on the front surrounded by several small, red, maple leaves. A large, red, maple leaf on the back, surrounded by several small blue Fleur de Lis. He loves it.

My thoughts strayed further. Thinking about that time of Canadian unity crisis, reminded me of Dad's friend, a lawyer. 'Bernie the attorney' he liked to call himself. While all of Canada waited for the tallying of the vote, Bernie told the story of having telephoned the one and only Quebec family he knew, to ask them to vote no to separation.

Bernie knew this family because many years prior their son had come to Ontario to find work. While here, he was involved in a hunting accident in which another hunter lost his life. Murder charges were laid and Bernie was asked to represent this young man. Pro Bono, I imagine, although I don't know that for sure. Bernie felt strongly that the fatality was the result of an accident and argued so. Bernie won the case and the young man returned to Quebec to his family.

Years and years later, during the separation crisis, Bernie dug out the telephone number for this family and called them. Bernie said he started the conversation by giving them his name and asking them if they remembered who he was. In their broken English, they said of course they remembered. How could they forget? This man had saved their son.

Bernie said " I'm calling to ask you to vote 'no' to separation."

"No need to ask, Mr. Bernie. That's what we intend to do."

Bernie passed away this past fall and it makes me wonder. Will Canada ever see another generation of men such as Bernie and Dad?

All this - these thoughts - because 16 years ago, I knit my father a sweater and he wears it still.


Sandra said...

As an Ontarioan (Ontarioite? Person form Ontario?) who was born in Quebec, I dearly hoped for a large "no" vote back in 95. Unfortunately, some of my own family was on the other side, and we have remained divided since. Maybe we need your sweater at the next reunion...

Vera said...

A great story! I remember that time well.Maybe it was that sweater that did the trick!!! ☺

Needles said...

I have always been grateful at the way that vote went. We are stronger together than our regions could ever be apart. I love the story.

FYI, I do intend to drink coffee, I just need to break this hold it has over me. I should like to be able to take it or leave it (though it may be I am seeing through rose coloured glasses!)

Zieknits said...

Well, that was wonderful! I nominate this for Best Post Ever...even though there were no pictures. ;-)

That's okay, I'm still buoyed by the lovely picture taken outside Gail's house on Friday, looking toward the harbour.

Laurie said...

Beautiful post, Brenda. I remember reading about the events in Canada back then and hoping she would remain united.

I'm very glad your father is okay...but I'd love to see that sweater. :-)