October 31, 2001

The Day Before November 1


8:30 PM:

I just happened to watch about ten minutes of the World Series broadcast on TV.
(Fourth game, taking place in New York.)

These ten minutes did not consist of any part of the game, but of some of the pre-game ceremonies.

(Disclaimer: I did not watch it on purpose, but it happened to be on when I walked into the room. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

There may have been some speeches/opening statements/rallying cries but I wasn't paying attention.

Then they introduced a singer, Lee Greenwood, who came out dressed in the flag. Literally. I expected to hear the Star Spangled Banner but no, he sang another song about America. The song was more or less ok.. well I do have mixed feelings about all this patriotism stuff but that's another entry or another email conversation with Stephanie, who by the way has a really great entry up for Halloween, with many photos of her brothers and children in various costumes and some photos of herself, too.

She really has no idea how gorgeous she is.

And the costumes she claims to have "stapled" together - beautiful and creative! Although I can't help thinking the one of her daughter as Quasimodo should be captioned,
"Why can't my mother ever make me a NORMAL costume!"

Kids never appreciate their parents' talents.

But as usual I digress.

During the America song the camera cut to close ups of various baseball people, shots of the crowd and of course the flag.
Including a flag that was clearly torn.
I later learned that this was a flag that was rescued from the WTC debris.
The symbolism is touching - I just hope I never see that flag up for auction on ebay.

Then an opera singer came out to sing the National Anthem.

That really was quite lovely, except for the amount of makeup she was wearing. I kept wondering how she got her eyes to open.
But her voice was marvellous and she was accompanied by one lone acoustic guitar (and guitarist).

As she was finishing, the camera suddenly cut to a shot of a large bird swooping over the field.
My first thought was, a seagull interloper.
Then I realized it was an eagle.
Then I realized it was there on purpose.
It swooped down to (presumably) its handler, who fed it some sort of dead animal.
The handler then wiped its beak with a cloth (really!) and put some kind of strange bird muzzle on it.

Americans really do have an incredible sense of drama.

I can see the equivalent ceremony in Canada.

First of all, there IS no Canada song besides the National Anthem.
(This website disagrees with that statement; you may draw your own conclusions.)

The closest we came was a song written specially for Canada's centennial celebration in 1967.

The song went something like this:

CA-NA-DA ......
Weeeeeeeeee love thee
(Now we are TWENTY million..)

Considering we are thirty million now, that song is rather dated.

I tried unsuccessfully to find the lyrics online.
That in itself speaks volumes.

Update: Because of the volume of search engine hits for this song, I've kept on trying to find the lyrics and finally succeeded late in 2003. At least, the English portion. They are posted as part of the sheet music files on what appears to be a Gimby family site:

CA-NA-DA
(One little two little three Canadians)
We love thee
(Now we are twenty million)
CA-NA-DA
(Four little five little six little Provinces)
Proud and free
(Now we are ten and the Territories sea to sea)

North south east west
There'll be happy times, church bells will ring ring ring
It's the hundredth anniversary of Confederation
Ev'rybody sing together
CA-NA-DA...


(Repeats in French)

A brief biography of the song's composer, Bobby Gimby: (lifted from this canoe.ca page)

Born: 1919 in Cabri, Saskatchewan; d. June 19, 1998

Trumpeteer, orchestra leader, arranger and music teacher Gimby gained public attention in Vancouver as a troupe member of CBC Radio's 'Happy Gang' throughout the 1940's and 1950's and soon moved to television on the 'Juliette' show (1958-1961).

During a world tour he composed the song "Malaysia Forever" which would later be adopted by Malaysia as their National Anthem.

Malaysia?????

Gimby wore a cape and played a decorated heraldic trumpet as he paraded around being followed by children who sang along to his songs. He soon gained the nickname "The Pied Piper Of Canada".

It was Gimby's 1967 Centennial song "Canada" that gained him international recognition. The song would eventually be recorded by more than thirty other acts including The Sugar Shoppe who made it a hit all over again.

The song was adopted by Tourism Canada but Gimby donated all the song's royalties to The Boy Scouts Of Canada. Ironically, a 1980's songwriters' lobby group used the song as a call-to-arms for better royalty rates and pointed out to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney that a song like "Canada" was only receiving one cent each time it was played -- the lowest rate in the world.

Gimby won the Order Of Canada for his continual musical contribution to the Canadian identity. He would later lead a band at the Leisure World Retirement Home in North Bay, Ontario. Gimby died of natural causes in June 1998.

Anyway, getting back to the festivities:

We could instead get Gordon Lightfoot to sing the Canadian Railroad Trilogy, or The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, maybe...

If he's still alive, that is.

O Canada could be sung by Celine Dion.. if she still remembers it.
Or maybe Shania Twain.
NOT Alanis Morissette. That woman's voice is worse than fingernails scratching on the blackboard to me.

And for the coup de grace?

No swooping eagle for us, no.

We let loose the Canadian Beaver who will waddle across the playing field, leaving a trail of woodchips and perhaps other debris in his wake, and who, of course will be clutching a Maple Leaf in his teeth.

No wonder the Expos are on borrowed time....

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