Canada, as you know, is a bilingual country – English and French. Road signs in Ontario are in two languages as per book, and in Quebec in one only.
“Because we’re French.”
Of course there are people in Canada who speak English and French – they’re called flight attendants. Which means that to the safety instructions on the plane you have to listen twice. My favorite one is how to unbuckle your safety belt.
Everyone who’s been in a car since the 60’s knows it by heart, but they need to show you again. “What a surprise ma’am – I though that if I can get a good bite on the fabric, I could chew my way through”.
Quebec and Alberta also differ, and it is Alberta that mostly pays for Quebec lavish benefits, which is one reason they’re in the mood of separating. But for real effect try opposites like Quebec and Texas. A colleague of mine used to drive heavy trucks all over North America until he retired and is now mostly hunting moose and deer in the North, other game depending on the season.
He told me a story about a trucker from Texas, who got into a heated argument with a French officer at a weight control station on the border of Quebec. Finally the Texan had enough, reached under the seat, grabbed a gun and resolved the argument the quick way. The station was closed several months for investigation.
Speaking of hunters, moose-hunting season in Ontario starts late October, and to be allowed to shot, one needs to obtain a permit, or tag, as they call it.
It is pricey and regulated.
The moose is a huge animal, it could be over 3m in height and close to 1000kg in weight. And they’re black in color, I saw some myself.
I’ve never hit one on the motorcycle riding through the Algonquin National Park, which is the size of Belgium.
There are signs remaining you to get gasoline to make it to the other side.
I rode through it a few times, hoping my loud exhaust scared everything around. Lucky me.
I asked the man how do you shot a moose from a distance.
“You need to lead the target,” he said “ahead one full-moose length and about two feet over his back to adjust for bullet trajectory dropping. A strong grip on the rifle is essential, and then you softly touch off a shot.”
Hunting is a social event, once you have the tag, you make plans with your buddies to go up North for an adventure, organize the RV’s (campers) and wait for the big day to go.
So, my colleague, the ex-trucker, did just that. They set up camp in the wilderness, planning for a week stay, and when the morning came they were ready in camouflage clothes and with loaded rifles. The season started at 7:00am that day and some unlucky moose showed up about 20 minutes later. They shoot it, and then realized – “what do we do with the rest of the time?”
There is more to this story – this guy left the camp on a quad to get some supplies, but it was getting dark fast and he got lost in the forest. He spent the night sitting by a tree with the riffle on his lap, wolfs howling all around him.
He told me later – “I was never so scared in my life”.
Lumberjacks found him in the morning, exhausted from cold but alive, so his overnight prayers to Jesus were answered.
As an aside, I think Jesus taught every writer how to get attention of the audience early in the text. Cohen called him “the little Jew who wrote the bible”.
His first miracle was the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana (gospel of John) and it was a very right concept.
If he did it the other way around, they would chase him through the desert without mercy.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler